High Fructose Corn Syrup: Dig Deeper Before Believing the New Corn Lobby Ads & Consuming the Stuff

Have you seen any of the TV spots, print and online banner ads that seek to convince us that high fructose corn syrup is fun to consume?

Before you believe the many new ads from the Corn Refiners Association – which is spending a reported $20 million to $30 million to convince us of its safety — I urge you to get facts from my recent Gab With The Gurus Radio Show, where I had the following guests:

Before, during or after you listen to the Gab With the Gurus Radio Show about high fructose corn syrup, I recommend that you:

Remember, you can listen at any time to the Gab  With the Gurus Radio Show about high fructose corn syrup.

Why Did Company Put Sucrose In Its Organic Baby Forumla?

Note from Connie: It’s bad enough to always be on the alert for sugar in adult foods, but now baby foods have sugar added. Talk about disappointing news! Kudos to Julia Moskin of The New York Times for dishing the sour scoop about this. Jennifer Moore gives you more details.

Buyer beware: Just because something is labeled organic doesn’t automatically make it the best thing for a person’s health.

Case in point: Similac, a leading baby formula company, sweetens its line of organic formula with sugar derived from evaporated cane juice, according to an eye-opening article by Julia Moskin of The New York Times. (Full disclosure: In the 1990s, I was a co-worker of Moskin’s at a publishing company.)

Why is sugar in baby formula a concern? Because, Moskin informs us, the cane sugar Similac uses is "significantly sweeter" than sugars in other brands of formula. What’s more, Moskin found an expert who said research shows animals prefer sucrose to other forms of sugar. (The story didn’t cite any specific studies, though).

Similac describes the sugar they use in their organic products as "safe and well established," having been approved by the F.D.A.

But the European Union is sufficiently concerned that sucrose-sweetend formuals will be banned in Europe by the 2009, except for severely allergic tots whose doctors orders these brands, Moskin reports.

So just how sweet in this Similac Organic stuff? The Times convened a panel of testers to taste it along with seven other formula brands, and they concluded that Similac’s product was the sweetest of the bunch, "with the sweetness of grape juice or Country Time lemonade." Yikes!

Given our nation’s obesity problem, it’s really a shame that a company is plying infants with the sweetest sugar they can find. I’d advise parents who are trying to minimize their children’s sugar intake to carefully read food labels, even those of organic foods.

Jennifer Moore for SUGAR SHOCK! Blog

(more…)

FDA: Foods Containing High Fructose Corn Syrup Shouldn’t Be Called “Natural”

Citing synthetic "fixing agents" used to manufacture it, an FDA official in charge of product evaluation and labeling said that "we would object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS," according to Lorraine Heller of FoodNavigator-USA.com.

This could be good news for people trying to eat well if it means that more food corporations will back off from labeling HFCS-sweetened foods as "natural," as Cadbury Schweppes and Kraft have already done.

Health blogger Rebecca Scritchfield provided the tip about this development.

CalorieKing/Joslin Internet Tool Makes Healthy Eating Easy

Note from Connie: Let’s face it, not only can kicking sugar be tough, but when you’re on the run — which many of us are these days — eating a healthy diet can be a major challenge. That’s why you’ll want to know about this easy-to-use nutrition tool created by CalorieKing and the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School. Karen James brings you info about it.

The Internet-based food search toolbar (available for PC and MAC users) not only gives you the nutritional information of more than 50,000 basic and brand name foods, but it also tells you about how many minutes it will take to walk off that double-decker burger covered in sloppy sauce. (Of course, we’re not recommending that you have one.)

This CalorieKing-Joslin tool also provides information on the calorie density of various foods using a one- to four-star rating system that signals which foods, calorie-wise, are the best choices.

But this may be the best part yet—the toolbar is also available in a simplified mobile format for those with Internet-enabled mobile or smartphone.

What this means is that no matter where you are (as long as you have cell coverage), you can get the skinny on what you’re about to eat.

Karen James for SUGAR SHOCK! Blog

High Fructose Corn Syrup-Sweetened Sodas Contain Compounds that May Raise Risk of Diabetes

Note from Connie: It seems like every couple of months (at least) we keep learning about more alarming news and new research studies relating to the potential dangers of the ubiquitous sweetener high fructose corn syrup. Now Jennifer Moore updates us about a study from Rutgers University.

Rutgers University food scientist Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D. took eleven popular sodas sweetened with HFCS to a lab, and found that they all contain "astonishingly high" levels of compounds called reactive carbonyls. He presented his findings at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society.

What’s so bad about these reactive carbonyls? They are often found in the blood of diabetics and may cause cell and tissue damage linked to the disease, according to Health Day.

Interestingly, Ho says that table sugar doesn’t contain reactive carbonyls (though there are plenty of other reasons to avoid it, too, as Connie amply demonstrates in her book SUGAR SHOCK!). Big Soda uses HFCS instead of sugar because it’s sweeter and cheaper.

Soda isn’t the only drink that concerns Ho.

"I worry about kids in high school," Ho told Health Day.

"They rely on energy drinks to do their homework and stay awake. The level of [HFCS] is so high."

(more…)

Soda Companies Settle Benzene Lawsuit

Note from Connie: It’s bad enough that soft drinks contain so much sugar, but for over a year, we’ve been hearing that that some soft drinks contain high levels of the carcinogen benzene. In fact, last year I posted here about this sad development and then again here.

To refresh your memory, the EPA says that acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to benzene could cause "drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at high levels, unconsciousness" while chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure" has caused "blood disorders, including reduced numbers of red blood cells and aplastic anemia, in occupational settings." What’s more, experts reported reproductive problems "for women exposed by inhalation to high levels" and an "increased incidence of leukemia (cancer of the tissues that form white blood cells) have been observed in humans occupationally exposed to benzene." Today, blog researcher/writer Jennifer Moore brings you the latest development about benzene and soda companies.

PepsiCo and several other beverage companies just settled a lawsuit, which alleged that their drinks contain the carcinogen benzene, Ahmed ElAmin of FoodNavigator.com reports.

The suit claimed that Pepsi’s Diet Wild Pepsi soda contained four times the amount of benzene the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe to ingest (which begs the question of why any amount of a possibly cancer-causing substance would be considered safe, but I digress.) The settlement means that the soda makers will reformulate the potentially dangerous drinks, if they haven’t done so already.

It’s really too bad that it took a class-action lawsuit to get the soda companies to do the right thing. But in my opinion, the bigger problem is that we can’t even rely on our so-called public health watchdogs to look out for us, either.

(more…)