Friday, May 9, 2008

Food Warning!

I've been reading about the evils of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and corn syrup – ingredients used prolifically in prepackaged food (and please don't shoot the messenger!) – especially American food. Oprah's favourite physician, Mehmet C Oz, MD who co-authored the YOU books with Michael F Roizan, MD (YOU on a Diet,  YOU: The Owner's Manual) tells us in the first aforementioned book (page 47) that, 
... fructose in the HFCS, which sweetens our soft drinks and salad dressings, isn't seen by your brain as regular food. Because your brain doesn't see any of the fructose in the thousands of HFCS-containing foods as excess calories or as NPY [Neuropeptide Y] suppressants, your body wants to keep eating... That's a contributor to weight gain, since the fructose in HFCS doesn't turn off your hunger signals. 

Now why is this relevant or a topic for the Black Mermaid blog? Well, only because I want to give you a warning to look after those fit and lithe bodies of yours. Being a food label reader from way back I am aware of how to read the ingredients list to determine how healthy or unhealthy a particular food is or, in fact, how it could impact on our body chemistry. Well, the other day I was in a supermarket and I found a new food item in the dried fruit section. I had just been to the gym and was a little peckish, so I decided to buy a small packet for myself. I broke all my rules and didn't read the label. I then ate about 50gm of wild blueberries, which one would think would be completely natural or at its worse, contain a preservative or a drying agent. A good workout usually suppresses my appetite, but this time it had the opposite effect and I became ravenous. When I eventually checked the label, the reason was clear. Here is a list of ingredients – Dried Blueberry (80%), Corn Syrup, Golden Syrup, Sugar, Citric Acid, Glycerol, Natural Flavour, Preservative (202). So much for "natural" products!!!

So ... all you Black Mermaid readers out there, take care of your health. Sometimes it's only the small things we do like checking labels that will impact most profoundly on our bodies.  


Bloggin' Mama said...

OMG - this post truly hit home for me. As I too, try to live a "healthy as can be" lifestyle. I'm so skeptical about everything especially the foods I buy. And now that I have children I think I'm even worse! In any case, my latest shocker was when I was going to make a black bean salad. I wanted to add tomatoes to it and having no fresh ones on hand decided to run to my pantry and grab a can of stewed tomatoes. Imagine my surprise when I found that it contained HFCS! I was so mad! I feel your pain with your blueberry experience. Don't you just feel betrayed!

Love your blog. I'll be subscribing for sure.

If you aever get a second - you can check out mine - here is a link:

Julie said...

Welcome, bloggin' mama, and thanks for your comments. I don't know whether 'betrayal' is the right word – it's a reality that there are food manufacturers out there who will flout health research truths. I think it was more a case of me slipping up in terms of personal responsibility. I remember reading a UK health book a few years ago that talked about the dangers of sugar, and identified smoked salmon (Americans call it gravlax) as a potential source of the white poison. I thought that statement was ridiculous but nevertheless checked all the labels of different smoked salmon brands in my supermarket – all of them passed the no-sugar test. Last year, however, when I was in New York I started shopping for smoked salmon at a local deli and was shocked to discover that it was indeed cured with sugar amongst other things. This came as a complete shock to me, and was a lesson that I needed to keep checking food labels – a rule I failed to adhere to when it came to the wild blueberries.

Anyway, checked out your blog and I want to congratulate you for keeping yourself and your readers health-honest. I've still go a little way to go to achieving optimum health status but your checklist will be a good reminder on how to navigate through the somewhat treacherous waters of food supplies.