Category Archives: HFCS

Junk food is engineered to be addictive

This is why there is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the U.S.: food deliberately engineered to make people eat until they get fat. Georgia is not quite one of the fattest states, but Lowndes County is one of the fattest counties. There is something we can do, even while Big Food continues to act like Big Tobacco.

Michael Moss wrote for NYTimes 20 February 2013, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,

On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies. Nestlé was in attendance, as were Kraft and Nabisco, General Mills and Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Mars. Rivals any other day, the C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it. While the atmosphere was cordial, the men assembled were hardly friends. Their stature was defined by their skill in fighting one another for what they called “stomach share” — the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.

James Behnke, a 55-year-old executive at Pillsbury, greeted the men as they arrived. He was anxious but also hopeful about the plan that he and a few other food-company executives had devised to engage the C.E.O.’s on America’s growing weight problem. “We were very concerned, and rightfully so, that obesity was becoming a major issue,” Behnke recalled. “People were starting to talk about sugar taxes, and there was a lot of pressure on food companies.” Getting the company chiefs in the same room to Continue reading

11 year old is onto Monsanto and how to fix the food system

The “dark side of the industrialized food system.” as related (accurately) by Birke Baehr at TEDxNextGeneration Asheville.
Conventional farmers use chemical fertilizers made from fossil fuels. Then they mess with the dirt to make the plants grow. They do this because they’ve stripped the soil from all nutrients from growing the same crop over and over again. Next more harmful chemicals are sprayed on fruits and vegetables. Like pesticides and herbicides to kill weeds and bugs. When it rains, these chemicals seep into the ground, or rise into our waterways, poisoning our water, too.
His personal goal:
A while back, I wanted to be an NFL footall player.
I decided I’d rather be an organic farmer instead.
That way I can have a greater impact on the world.
He’s got a turn of phrase:
We can either pay the farmer, or we can pay the hospital.


What can you do now about food?

This item horrified a lot of people: Animal miscarriages from new fungus or virus in Roundup-read crops? A reader asked:
What would you say to someone like myself who wants to make a difference but has no clue where to start? I think that is a big question with my generation.
Well, there’s the pumpkin dance. But you don’t have to start with that.

HFCS may be the easiest thing to start with, because it’s labelled. Don’t buy any product that has High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it. You’ll be surprised how many do. At restaurants, check the condiments, don’t use them if they have HFCS, and inform the wait staff why you’re not. When people ask why you’re doing all this tell them. Here’s some background on High Fructose Corn Syrup and Obesity.

This kind of thing is working: Hunts removes HFCS from all its Ketchups.

About pesticides, buy local and organic food, like at Whisk. Ask for local food at other stores. Help with a community garden. Join a CSA. Write a letter to the editor.

You don’t have to do all of these things; these are some ideas. Start small and just do something. Every little bit helps, and you’ll get more ideas as you go along. Your example will help others start.

Also, don’t feel bad about it seeming intimidating. On the one hand we have the most sophisticated marketing methods the world has ever known, fueled by megabucks from transnational corporations. On the other hand we have, er, a few college professors like Michael Pollan, a few farmers who observe and analyze like Joel Sallatin, a few poets like south Georgia’s own Janisse Ray, and so on. Even so, local and organic food is one of the few industries that has kept booming right through the economic downturn. People actually want food that’s good for them and tastes good!

Fortunately, around here we also have Georgia Organics! More about that later.


Healthy Moe’s?

Moe’s to get new, fresher menu By Jeremiah McWilliams, AJC, 13 Jan 2011:
The Atlanta-based burrito chain will roll out a new nationwide menu on Jan. 24, top executives told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Coming soon to 420-plus restaurants will be grass-fed sirloin steak with no added hormones. The pork will be hormone-free, steroid-free and grain-fed. Moe’s says its chicken will be hormone-free and not raised in cages, and the tofu will be organic.
Sounds good to me. Why are they doing this?
“The Moe’s consumers have told us this is something they want,” said Paul Damico, president of the brand. “We take that information seriously. They tell us they want fresh, they want sustainable.”
Voting at the checkout counter works!

They have three locations in Valdosta:

1525 Baytree Rd.
Valdosta, GA 31602
(229) 293-0663

3145 North Ashley Street
Valdosta, GA 31602
(229) 333-0649

1500 Patterson Street
Valdosta, GA 31698


PS: And I learned that Moe’s is based in Atlanta.

The Biotech Bully of St. Louis is having a Bad Year

Ronnie Cummins writes in Counterpunch, Coexistence With Monsanto? Hell No!
Monsanto’s Roundup, the agro-toxic companion herbicide for millions of acres of GM soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets, is losing market share. Its overuse has spawned a new generation of superweeds that can only be killed with super-toxic herbicides such as 2,4, D and paraquat. Moreover, patented “Roundup Ready” crops require massive amounts of climate destabilizing nitrate fertilizer. Compounding Monsanto’s damage to the environment and climate, rampant Roundup use is literally killing the soil, destroying essential soil microorganisms, degrading the living soil’s ability to capture and sequester CO2, and spreading deadly plant diseases.

In just one year, Monsanto has moved from being Forbes’ “Company of the Year” to the Worst Stock of the Year. The Biotech Bully of St. Louis has become one of the most hated corporations on Earth.

All that and paraquat doesn’t work on mutant pigweed, either. The whole “no-till” fable is unravelling.

The article mentions scientific studies about bad health effects of genetically modified foods, and goes on to warn of Monsanto maneuverings through the EPA and the Gates Foundation. Then he points to the European Union as leading the way: Continue reading

HFCS and Cancer Tumors

It’s bad enough that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) makes you fat with resulting diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and cancer. Now Maggie Fox reports in Reuters that Cancer cells slurp up fructose, US study finds:
Aug 2 (Reuters) – Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

“They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth.”

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

How large amounts? Continue reading

Hunt’s removes HFCS from all its ketchups

A couple of weeks ago Melanie Warner predicted this, and now it’s happened: Less is More: Hunt’s Ketchup Removes High Fructose Corn Syrup From Entire Retail Line
OMAHA, Neb., May 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Hunt’s®, a ConAgra Foods brand, is pleased to announce that it has removed the high fructose corn syrup from every bottle of its ketchup products. Hunt’s 100% Natural Ketchup brings forth the naturally rich tomato flavor of Hunt’s tomatoes and contains only five simple ingredients: tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, salt and other seasonings, with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or preservatives.

“In direct response to consumer demand(1), Hunt’s is pleased to offer ketchup sweetened with sugar and containing only five simple ingredients,” said Ryan Toreson, Hunt’s Ketchup brand manager. “Parents are looking for wholesome meals and ingredients they recognize—and the taste of Hunt’s ketchup is something both kids and adults love. Even with the new recipe, we have maintained the same great tangy, sweet taste that Hunt’s has always had and that consumers tell us they prefer.”

This is the same ConAgra that said:
“Our focus is on consumer preference, not the science.”
That would be the science that said:
“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”
So a corporation that doesn’t care about science that says a key ingredient in their product makes rats fat, every one of them, in ways that produce the same risk factors that in humans contribute to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer, and diabetes, that same corporation does care when its customers say they don’t want that ingredient.

As ConAgra says in the press release:

(1) The 2009 HealthFocus® Trend Report indicated consumer concern over high fructose corn syrup has risen from 27% of shoppers being extremely or very concerned in 2004 to 45% of shoppers in 2008.
Voting at the supermarket checkout works.

Act the way I want to feel

Gretchen Rubin recommends “Act the way I want to feel:”
…often we feel because of the way we act. So by acting the way we wish we felt, we can change our emotions – a strategy that is uncannily effective.

Second, the world’s reaction to us is quite influenced by the way we act toward the world. For example, in situation evocation, we spark a response from people that reinforces a tendency we already have — for example, if I act irritable all the time, the people around me are going to treat me with less patience and helpfulness, which will, in turn, stoke my irritability. If I can manage to joke around, I’ll evoke a situation in which the people around me were more likely to joke around, too.

This is also the light side of the obesity network. If we are influenced by our friends to become obese or not, we also influence our friends.
Which leads, as always, to the same conclusion: that even though it’s tempting sometimes to think that I’d be much happier if other people would behave differently toward me, the only person whose behavior I can change is myself. If I want people to be friendlier to me, I must be friendlier. If I want my husband to be tender and romantic, I must be tender and romantic. If I want our household atmosphere to be light-hearted, I must be light-hearted.
And if we want our spouses, friends, neighbors, community to be health weight, we can help them become so by doing it ourselves first. And invite our friends to exercise, to pass up the donut for an orange, to go outside instead of watch TV.

Beyond the immediate personal effects, try to persuade the local supermarket to stock High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)-free cereals or grass-fed beef or local fresh vegetables. And if they won’t, start a farmer’s market or a CSA or a you-pick-em. If enough of us do it, eventually we get successes like Gatorade, Hunt’s ketchup, Wheat Thins, and many other products having HFCS removed by their vendors.

Gretchen Rubin was writing about happiness, but it’s the same principle. If you want people to be happy or healthy, start with yourself, find like-minded people, and eventually maybe it becomes the way things are.

HFCS downfall?

Let’s hope Melanie Warner, writing in bnet, is right about The Death of High Fructose Corn Syrup:
The back-to-back, double whammy announcements that PepsiCo (PEP) is ditching high fructose corn syrup in Gatorade along with the results of a scathing new study from researchers at Princeton make it official — allies of the controversial sweetener have lost the war.

What the Princeton researchers found was A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain, as we noted here a while back. And, as we noted last year, there’s also an eerie correlation of the spread of HFCS into the food supply with the rise of obesity in the U.S.

Here’s Melanie Warner again, this time in the New York Times:

Hunt’s ketchup is among the latest in a string of major-brand products that have replaced the vilified sweetener. Gatorade, several Kraft salad dressings, Wheat Thins, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Pepsi Throwback, Mountain Dew Throwback and the baked goods at Starbucks, to name a few, are all now made with regular sugar.

Why is Big Food buckling about bogus sugar?

What started as a narrow movement by proponents of natural and organic foods has morphed into a swell of mainstream opposition, thanks in large part to tools of modern activism like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and movies like “Food, Inc.” and “King Corn.”
Well, well. Voting at supermarket checkout seems to be working after all!

Fat Rats on HFCS

Hilary Parker writes about research at Princeton:
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”
Every single rat got fat on HFCS.

And the researchers are not talking about a little extra weight: Continue reading