sugar, Sugar, SUGAR!

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veggie sandwich
Tonight’s dinner is a Toasted Veggie Sandwich, with hummus, avocado, red pepper, tomato and cucumber. Served with a side of sweet potato fries. Not complicated, and may seem lazy, but the husband requested this, so I’m off the hook.

I’d like to highlight an ingredient that is NOT found in tonight’s recipe… High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It actually takes a lot of awareness and effort to make a meal without this product. If there is not a label as you see in the picture of the buns and the ketchup, then you can bet that you are, indeed, consuming HFCS, free of charge. Soft drinks, juice, salad dressings, salsa, condiments…almost every processed food. Start reading your labels! Brownberry Breads, Yoplait Yogurt, Kellog’s Cereals, Powerbars, PowerAde, NutriGrain Cereal Bars, Campbell’s Vegetable Soup. All those 100 calorie snack packs. Processed cheeses, cookies, crackers, chips, dips and dairy, syrups and jellies! And don’t even get me started on fast food. It’s EVERYWHERE.

I don’t have a doctorate in scientific research, and I’m not a New York Times investigative reporter. I’m a mom with four kids. I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel. They can do the research and I’ll read the notes. This information is ‘common knowledge’ (I have seen it over and over) but I have included some links at the bottom so you can see for yourself. Here are the facts as I’ve discovered…

HFCS was introduced into the American food supply in the 1970′s. It’s a corn product. It’s cheaper and sweeter than regular sugar, and when the government began subsidizing our corn, it became a win/win for farmers and food manufactures. It’s now a multi-billion dollar commodity. 

So what’s the big deal? First, HFCS is more than half fructose. Fructose is a derivative of glucose, which is the sugar that our body needs to make energy. And fructose is found in fruits and vegetables….in moderation, and mixed with fat, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, your body can metabolize it safely.

The problem is the high amount of fructose in our foods. It’s the ratio of this sugar when combined with the lack of fat, fiber and protein found in processed foods (including and especially those “low-fat” diet foods!) that create the hazard. Yes, fructose is “natural”…even necessary. But it’s being dumped into our foods in exponentially NONNATURAL quantities and chemical combinations. 

Fructose must be metabolized completely in the liver. As a consequence: insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and out-of-whack triglyceride counts and LDL’s are being seen in younger and younger patients, seriously affecting the life-expectancy of the next generation.

Finally, consider this visual on sugar in general. When blood sugar is too high, it combines with protein in your blood to make “glycated end products”…the molecular equivalent to little shards of glass. These little shards of glass travel through your blood stream to your organs, tissues and limbs. Over time, this causes significant damage to the inner lining of the vessels.

Start small.  Read your labels and become aware. Vote with your dollars. Demand better for your kids. When you know better, you do better!

Robert H. Lustig, MD: UCSF Faculty Bio Page, and YouTube presentation “Sugar: The bitter truth” and “The fructose epidemic” The Bariatrician, 2009, Volume 24, No. 1, page 10)

For a list of products containing HFCS, google the same. It changes constantly as consumers buy or don’t buy products.

 

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