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Tag: GMO corn

Why You Should Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Yesterday I wrote about the surprising prepared/processed/packaged foods that may contain corn syrup or its derivatives. Today I want to touch on why high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) might be harmful for your health.

The last time I wrote about high fructose corn syrup and sugar, I unexpectedly received a large package by snail mail from the corn growers association containing a lot of printed propaganda about the goodness of corn derivatives and how the human body cannot tell the difference between corn syrup and cane sugar. Sweet is sweet, they say.

Don’t fall for it. We have had the wool pulled over our eyes for too long and our population is paying the consequences.

I was not convinced that high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar because I know that:

* High fructose corn syrup is many times more concentrated than natural sweeteners like sugar. The dose you receive from a soda or candy made with HFCS is intensified and sweeter than it would be from cane sugar..

* It would be hard to eat anywhere near as much corn or sugar as you take in with a small amount of high fructose corn syrup.

* HFCS spikes blood glycemic levels, forcing the pancreas to work overtime producing insulin to process it all. When the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for insulin, you get Type II Diabetes.

* According to Michigan researchers, brain cells develop insulin resistance, just as body cells do

* Since at least 88% of all corn grown in the United States is now Genetically Modified (GMO), the odds are unavoidably high that the high fructose corn syrup in that packaged food is concentrated GMO corn extraction.

* In a fascinating article in the September/October issue of Psychology Today, Nikhil Swaminathan examines the plight of the bees and how it reflects on human health. He discusses how Round-Up Ready (TM)  GMO corn leaches the Round-Up (TM) organophosphate-based chemical pesticides into the kernel, contaminating all of the corn derivative products added to our processed foods. The toxins accumulate with every ingestion of products containing high fructose corn syrup. The stark truth: bees fed high fructose corn syrup laced with organophosphates died. Researchers in Montreal looking for organophosphates in the urine of preschoolers found detectable levels of organophosphates in 96% of kids tested. Basically, everyone is being fed these poisons through our food supply.

* Exposure to the organophosphates used as pesticides with Round-Up Ready (GMO) corn  can lead to measurable cognitive deficits in children, hormone disruption, and heightened hypersensitivities, likely due to the additive effects of multiple exposures. The EPA only looks for single exposure limits, but since the toxin can be found in so many additives, typical eaters in our modern society likely receive many exposures over the course of a single day.

At some point, each one of us could inadvertently cross that invisible, personal, toxin threshold that sends our bodies into constant reaction. Until you get there, you really don’t know how lucky you are to have your health and not feel miserable within your own skin almost every day. Once you arrive at this dreadful place, it is a long, arduous climb to cross that constantly lowering threshold again and regain a state of health.

I’ve been there and it resulted in three years of constant hives. A good day would be thirty hives, and a bad day three hundred. So many days were miserable because I was so uncomfortable inside my own skin. I feel lucky that I was able to heal and survive beyond the hives; I remember researching online and finding posts from people who had been suffering with hives for 17 years or longer. It took a lot of effort for me to clear out enough toxins from my life and my body to surmount my threshold and return to health, and I learned a lot about clean and healthy living in the process.

My advice: avoid high fructose corn syrup whenever possible and find out your own particular hypersensitivities.

Which Produce Should I Always Buy Organic

It feels like a good time to review the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of fruit and vegetables with the heaviest loads of pesticides.

Although I try to only buy organic produce whenever I can, sometimes it’s just not possible and I must settle for a conventionally-produced fruit or vegetable. It’s times like these that I want to look back at the list of the best and worst for your health when it comes to conventionally-farmed produce.

Just this morning I was in Whole Foods trying to remember how terrible it would be were I to get those conventionally-farmed-but-vibrant orange and yellow bell peppers, since there were not any organic peppers in the store. Not good, it turns out.

Go Organic
I think it will be easiest to remember the ones I want to ban from my cart first, so here are the twelve fruits and vegetables that we should buy organic whenever possible because they carry the highest toxic loads:

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears

If you’re like me and KitchenStewardship, you might also include a few others on this list, like bananas, blueberries, and spinach.

Ok to Go Conventional
On the other side of the coin, it’s nice to know the safest conventional produce, too, for those times when organic items are not available or astronomically expensive. Here are the fifteen fruits and vegetables that have the least toxic load from conventional farming:

1. Onion
2. Avocado
3. Sweet corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mango
6. Asparagus
7. Sweet peas
8. Kiwi
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Papaya
12. Watermelon
13. Broccoli
14. Tomato
15. Sweet potato

It’s interesting to see sweet corn on this list, as it is something we insist must be organic before we bring it into our house. This list is only looking at the pesticide load, I believe, whereas we are more concerned with genetic modifications when it comes to corn. Thanks to Monsanto, most of the conventional corn available in this country is genetically modified to produce its own insect repellent when grown with their Round-Up pesticide.

But I digress. That is a topic for another post.

The Environmental Working Group’s pocket-sized printout of this list of safe produce is great to carry with you in your wallet. You can also get the iPhone app.

Have any others to add that you insist should always be organic at your house? Add them in the comments below!