September 23, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup -- better than sugar?

Many of you have probably seen recent ads or commercials about high fructose corn syrup and how it is natural and OK in moderation. Don’t be mislead by these claims, as it is worse for you than table sugar.

Dr. Mercola recently posted an article about high fructose corn syrup (a modified sugar) on his health Web site Here is an excerpt:
The Corn Refiners Association launched a $20 – 30 million marketing and public relations campaign trying to convince people that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a healthy alternative to sugar. And why has HFCS replaced cane or beet sugar? Because it is significantly cheaper than sugar.

Scientists have linked HFCS to the rampant epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various other health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS compared to regular sugar.

And to make matters worse, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is filled with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that HFCS accounts for roughly 41 percent of all caloric sweeteners consumed in the U.S.

Although HFCS is often found in pop, it is not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones). This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.

The best and safest sweetener would be the herb Stevia, which you can find at your local health food store. (For more information about Stevia, e-mail Dan).

While these ads say that HFCS "contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients." Literally, that's true, but HFCS is itself an "artificial or synthetic" ingredient made in a lab. You could not manufacture it in your kitchen. Honey is "natural," the bees make it and all we do is bottle it. Maple syrup is "natural," the trees make it and all we do is boil it down and bottle it. Even beet and cane sugar are "natural" in much the same way. The farther we move away from these basic sweeteners, the closer we get to laboratory conditions.

All in all, the less sugar or sweeteners in your diet the better. But be extra careful to stay away from high fructose corn syrup. And don't fall for these misleading ads.

September 19, 2008

Fats, Protein and Sugar: the basics

Research has found that 70-98% of your health depends on your lifestyle! (Nutrition, exercise, stress)

What inspires you?  Stick it on your mirror, make it your computer background, remind yourself everyday of your inspiration

Fats: There are healthy fats, and they are a very important part of your diet.
• We now eat more than 60 lbs. of oils a year compared to 11 lbs. in the mid to early 1900’s
• Olive oil = for salads

• Coconut oil = for cooking
• Vegetable oil = bad

Protein: Eat lean meat, not grain fed sources of protein.
• Grass fed meat (wild game)
• USDA Organic Eggs
• Fresh Fish

Sugar: White Bread, white flour, white rice, cereal

• We consume 160 lbs. of sugar a year now, compared to 15 lbs. of sugar before the industrial revolution.
• Excess sugar is known to cause many diseases (i.e. obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, etc.)
• If you have too much sugar in your diet you will not be able to burn fat.
• Too much sugar wears out your cells and brings your energy level down. Want to know the best anti-aging tip? Cut back on sugar.
• Step by step, phase sugar out. Don’t do it too fast or you will crash.

Different kinds of sugar: high fructose corn syrup, anything that ends in –ose (i.e. glucose, sucrose, fructose, dextrose). Also, aspartame, maldextrin, Splenda. No matter what form of sugar (or sweeteners) you take in, it all does the same thing.

Look at cereal, fruit yogurt, bread, crackers, ketchup, etc. . . . everything for grams of sugar per serving and look at the ingredient list.

Processed grains also break down into sugar. For example, white bread, white flour, white rice, pasta – any grains that are not whole, sprouted, steel cut or stone ground are unhealthy for you. Foods can have the label “whole grain” but still be made of enriched, bleached flour (which is white flour).

Rules to remember:
Find something that inspires you
The farther it is from nature (the more processed), the worse it is for you
Avoid foods that have high fructose corn syrup or other sugars in the top five ingredients
Avoid foods that have ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce
Eat lots of vegetables!