My Plantcentric Journey

Posts tagged ‘HFCS’

What’s REALLY in the Chocolate You’re Eating?

Food Babe has looked into what’s in our chocolate.  From HFCS to GMOs to growth hormone to artificial colors and Trans Fat.

She names names and gives alternatives.

Check out her report here:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/10/31/food-babe-investigates-death-by-chocolate/

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Replacing High Fructose Corn Syrup in Your Diet

 

by VSINGH

So you have decided it is time to make a change. The media storm of anti-High Fructose Corn Syrup publicity (lots being scientifically-based, but admittedly, some propaganda-based as well) has inspired you to eliminate foods withHFCS from your diet. Now you are searching for advice on how to execute on your inspiration. Congratulations, you’ve found the right blog.

Before we start digging deep, we MUST all acknowledge an inconvenient truth – simply replacing High Fructose Corn Syrup with table sugar is not the answer. While it is true that HFCS has some uniquely unenviable biological consequences (which I chronicle in detail here), consumption of ‘added sugar’ in general presents NO health benefits (understand what is considered an ‘added sugar’).

The average American consumes 22 tablespoons (355 calories) of added sugar daily, whereas the American Heart Association’s recommended consumption is no more than 6 and 9 tablespoons for women and men, respectively. Clearly the issue is general over-consumption of sugar, with High Fructose Corn Syrup being the secondary concern. With that said, in addition to limiting our daily injection of these not so innocuous drugs we call sugars, specifically eliminatingHFCS from our diet is a great idea. Lets discuss how!

1. Raid your kitchen & identify foods with HFCS.

HFCS can be found in most processed foods, so this may be a time-consuming ordeal. Start with the freezer. Any dessert (ice-cream, cookie dough, pie etc.) is likely to have it added. Then move to the fridge. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest dietary source HFCS, so most processed beverages (soda, fruit juice from concentrate) will contain the stuff. These are the easy targets. Unfortunately, many grain-based products in the pantry also contain HFCS, and so do some beloved condiments like ketchup.

 2. Make the tough choices: which foods with HFCS can you live without, and which can’t you?

So you’ve identified your kitchen’s culprits. At this point, it is time to step back and remember why you are going through this process. Are you relatively healthy, but trying to improve for your long-term health and for the sake of your kids? Or are you overweight, and trying to slim down?

If the answer is closer to the latter, then you need to decide which foods you should be cutting out all together. Desserts and sodas, even if they contain cane sugar or an artificial sweetener, are not going to help your fight. Do your best to make the right choice!

3. Make the necessary replacements.

Once you’ve made the tough decisions, it’s time to hit the grocery store and find HFCS-free substitutes. For the record, this goal can be achieved without hitting up an over-priced Whole Foods. Most large-scale grocery stores now contain HFCS-free alternatives for almost all foods. To make this easier, I encourage you to check out this awesome list of HFCS-free foods: List of Products with no High Fructose Corn Syrup.

4. Beware of eating out!

For most of us, reality mandates that we eat out on occasion. Furthermore, not all of us live in organic-crazed cities like San Francisco & Portland, so finding HFCS-free foods can be a challenge.  In facing this challenge, the best advice I can give is to use logic and ask questions. If this fails, just remember that the occasional encounter with HFCS isn’t going to kill you!

For more information:

FoundHealth: HFCS and Its Impact on HypertensionDiabetesHeart Disease, and Autism

WikiHow: How to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

http://www.foundhealth.com/blog/2012/06/replacing-high-fructose-corn-syrup-in-your-diet/

Why I No Longer Recommend Agave Nectar Dr. Weil

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Q
What’s Wrong with Agave Nectar?
I’ve been using agave as a sweetener for a couple of years. Lately, I’ve been reading some very negative reports on it, and am considering switching to another sweetener. Do you still recommend agave?

A
Answer (Published 9/4/2012)
Agave (pronounced ‘uh-GAH-vay’) nectar is a natural sweetener with a pleasant neutral taste. It ranks relatively low on both the glycemic index and glycemic load scales. For a while, I used agave as my main sweetener, although I don’t use sweeteners very often. When I do, I use very small amounts.

I’ve stopped using agave myself and no longer recommend it as a healthy sweetener. The reason agave ranks relatively low on the glycemic index is because it has a high content of fructose. Fructose does not readily raise blood sugar (glucose) levels because the body doesn’t metabolize it well. New research suggests that excessive fructose consumption deranges liver function and promotes obesity. The less fructose you consume, the better.

As it turns out, agave has a higher fructose content than any other common sweetener, more even than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Because of its reputation as a “natural” sweetener, it is now widely used in products claiming to be good for health – from teas to nutrition bars and energy drinks.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Americans consume much too much fructose, an average of 55 grams per day (compared to about 15 grams 100 years ago, mostly from fruits and vegetables). The biggest problem is cheap HFCS, ubiquitous in processed food.

Fructose is a major culprit in the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.  It may also increase risks of heart disease and cancer.

I now use maple syrup instead of agave. It has a much lower fructose content, and I have always liked its flavor. I’ve asked the chefs at True Food Kitchen, the restaurants I helped found in Phoenix and Scottsdale in Arizona and Newport Beach, San Diego and Santa Monica in California to cut back on agave and experiment with pure glucose syrup for sweetening.  It is less sweet than either agave or maple syrup and contains no fructose at all.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401166/Whats-Wrong-with-Agave-Nectar.html

Mercury Contamination in Corn Syrup?

You’ve got to see this, especially the classic ads for sugar and lard!

Fifty different brands of high fructose corn syrup containing foods were tested for mercury.

9 Surprising Foods That May Raise Your Cholesterol Web MD

Did you know that ground turkey could boost your cholesterol? Learn about these nine surprising artery-clogging foods. Which one shocked you the most?

9 Surprising Foods That Do Increase Cholesterol

  1. Ground turkey. Even when ground turkey is labeled as 85% lean, it has 12.5 grams of fat in a 3-ounce portion, says Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, Georgia State University nutrition professor emerita. Her advice: Ground turkey breast can be a heart-healthy substitute for ground beef, but watch the portion size because it’s not without fat.”
  2. Added sugars (such as table sugar or high fructose corn syrup). One of the biggest surprises is that added sugars in processed and prepared foods are associated with decreased HDL levels. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in April 2010 found an association between added sugars and blood lipid levels and discovered adults averaged 21 teaspoons of added sugars daily. “Increased added sugars are associated with blood cholesterol levels and heart disease risk,” says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, author of Guide to Better Digestion.  Everyone would benefit by reducing the amount of added sugars in the diet because they can also lead to obesityand type 2 diabetes, Bonci says. The AHA recommends getting no more than 100 calories from added sugars on a 2,000 calories-per-day diet.
  3. Mashed potatoes. “Most mashed potatoes, especially at restaurants, include hefty portions of butter, cream, whole milk, sour cream, and/or cream cheese, turning a perfectly healthy potato into a saturated fat bomb,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Marissa Moore, MBA, RD. Order a plain baked potato and top it with vegetables, salsa, or low-fat sour cream. Another option: Enjoy the natural sweetness of a vitamin A-rich plain baked sweet potato.
  4. Pizza. Just one slice of plain pizza has 10 grams of fat and 4.4 grams of saturated fat — and we all know that one slice without any pepperoni is not the usual order. Stick to one slice and top it with lots of high-fiber, filling vegetables.
  5. Whole-fat dairy products. “Dairy foods are nutrient-rich, loaded withcalciumprotein, vitamins, and minerals, but if your choice is full-fat, you could be getting a hefty dose of saturated fat,” says nutrition consultant and author Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD. For example, one cup of Fage Total Plain Classic Greek yogurt has 18g saturated fat, but if you choose their 0% variety, it has no fat. When you choose nonfat or low-fat, you get all the nutritional benefits without the extra calories or fat. If you love full-fat cheese, “portion control is the answer,” Ward says.
  6. Plant foods from the tropics. Coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter all sound healthy but they are the only plant foods that contain saturated fat, says Connie Diekman, Med, RD, Washington University nutrition director. “Read labels for these terms and enjoy them in small doses so they won’t sabotage your cholesterol level,” she says. Karmally calls pina coladas “heart attack in a glass — there are 602 calories and 20 grams saturated fat in a 12-ounce glass.” And Moore says, “Don’t forget about chocolate, when eaten in excess can lead to increased cholesterol levels.”
  7. Ghee (clarified butter). In India, ghee is associated with healthful eating and honoring your guests but it is very high in saturated fat, just like butter, says Karmally. “It is also high in palmitic acid which is artery clogging.” Use heart healthy olive oil or a trans fat-free margarine instead of ghee.
  8. Pie and pastries. “Flaky crusts, streusel topping, custard filling, cheese filled pastries — these all promise a hefty dose of saturated fat because they often include butter, shortening, cream, cream cheese, and/or whole milk,” Moore says. It is the butter or shortening that makes the crust so nice and flaky. Choose fruit pies and eat mostly filling and only a few bites of the crust for a lower-fat and calorie treat.
  9. Movie theater tub popcorn. Regal Cinema’s medium-sized popcorn has a whopping 60 grams of saturated fat and 1,200 calories. Why? Because it is popped in fats, then topped off with more fat, earning it a spot on foods that can wreck your cholesterol level. Shave the fat and calories by skipping the buttery topping and opt for a smaller portion.

Read the Label

Reading food labels can help you avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats. To limit trans fat, avoid fried foods, foods with vegetable shortening, margarine, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

When reading labels, keep these numbers in mind: Saturated fat should not exceed 7% of calories and trans fats less than 1%, according to the AHA. That’s less than 16 grams saturated fat and 2 grams trans fat on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Read more at:  http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/9-surprising-foods-that-may-raise-your-cholesterol

Mercury Testing Recommended Before Pregnancy

Recent testing of mercury concentrations in three national brands of canned tuna found that “55% of all tuna examined was above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safety level for human consumption.” And the problem appears to be getting worse. Previous studies on canned tuna, in 1993 and 2004, showed concerning levels of mercury contamination, but not as bad as it is now. See my profile of the paper in my 2-min. videoWhich brand of tuna has the most mercury?

Given the average level of mercury pollution found in canned tuna, researchers suggest that your average 9 year old would exceed the EPA limit even if they only ate a can of tuna every 6 weeks! They conclude: “These results indicate that stricter regulation of the canned tuna industry is necessary to ensure the safety of sensitive populations such as pregnant women, infants, and children.”

Some question whether the federal safety limits are even sufficiently protective. A recent review from researchers at Harvard and elsewhere on the adverse effects of mercury in fish proposed that the exposure limits set in the United States should be cut in half. Already, current regulations in the United States allow up to 10 times as much mercury in fish as the EPA limit allows, and so our fish is allowed to have 20 times more mercury than may be considered safe.

Because the EPA safety limit on mercury in fish may not sufficiently protect pregnant women in the United States, a recommendation has been put forth that fish-eating women may want to get tested for mercury before considering getting pregnant. It’s a simple test. Since mercury basically contaminates our whole body, all they need is a hair sample. See more details in my 2-min. video Hair Testing for Mercury Before Consider Pregnancy.

Studies on children of the neurobehavioral toxicity of mercury suggest that no level of mercury exposure can truly be considered safe, but pressure from the fish industry may be preventing safety limits from dropping further. In my video Nerves of Mercury I profile a famous study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showing brain damage in adolescents at below the mercury limits placed on fish in this country. As one former EPA toxicologist told theWall Street Journal, “They really consider the fish industry to be their clients, rather than the U.S. public.”

Mercury is not just a problem for children. Mercury and other toxic pollutants in fish is thought to be why the consumption of dark fish (such as salmon, swordfish, bluefish, mackerel, and sardines) may increase one’s risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregularity of heart beat rhythm associated with stroke, dementia, heart failure, and a shortened lifespan. See my 2-min. video Red Fish, White Fish; Dark Fish, Atrial Fibrillation. Also check out Fish Fog, which discusses the link between fish consumption and neurobehavioral abnormalities in adults. For more information on industrial pollutants in fish, see Xenoestrogens & Sperm Counts and Fish Intake Biomarker.

There are also natural toxins that can bioaccumulate up the aquatic food chain. See my 2-min. video Amnesic Seafood Poisoning about a rare toxin called domoic acid. It can turn up in tuna and other seafood and can cause anterograde amnesia, the loss of short-term memory popularized in the movie Memento. Even drugs can build up in fish. In my 1-min. video A Fine Kettle of Fluoxetine, I follow up on my earlier video Prozac Residues in Fish about the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in fish fillets.

For more on canned tuna specifically, see Carcinogenic PutrescineThe Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages,Amalgam Fillings vs. Canned Tuna, and Mercury in Vaccinations vs. Tuna.

Fish aren’t the only source of toxic heavy metals, though. Mercury has been found in both high fructose corn syrup-containing products (see Mercury in Corn Syrup?) and Ayurvedic dietary supplements (Get the Lead Out).

-Michael Greger, M.D.

http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/07/27/mercury-testing-recommended-before-pregnancy/?utm_source=NutritionFacts.org&utm_campaign=01e5f60041-RSS_BLOG_DAILY&utm_medium=email

Image credit: veer66 / Flickr

14 Ingredients to Avoid for Your Heart Health Dr. Weil

14 Ingredients to Avoid for Your Heart Health

An important first step in creating a heart-healthy kitchen is to read and understand food labels. They are your best reference for assessing what to add to your grocery cart and what to leave on the store shelf. Use the list below to determine what items to avoid buying – many of these ingredients are considered pro-inflammatory and therefore unfavorable to a heart-healthy diet.

If the product contains one or more of these undesirables, don’t buy it!

  1. Artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners
  2. Corn oil
  3. Cottonseed oil
  4. Fractionated oil
  5. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  6. Hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening
  7. Margarine
  8. Palm or palm kernel oil
  9. Partially hydrogenated oil (source of trans-fat)
  10. Blended vegetable oils
  11. Safflower oil
  12. Soybean oil
  13. Sunflower oil
  14. Fat “substitutes” (such as olestra)

From:  Dr. Weil’s Heart Health Newsletter

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