Earlier this year after reading Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food,” the husband and I decided to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from our diets. It’s all part of our commitment both to eating healthier and living sustainably. And we’re not alone. There’s even an entire messageboard dedicated to sharing ways on how to reduce HFCS consumption.
I quickly found that eliminating HFCS completely is near-impossible, however. The artificially-processed sweet stuff is found even in bland oyster crackers. So, we’ve not gone entirely HFCS cold turkey, but we have been successful in avoiding it as much as we can. Sometimes its just a matter of switching brands of foods we already eat. The husband’s one dish he can fix well is vegetarian chili, for example. The chili beans we used to buy contained HFCS, but the Bush Brothers’ beans brand does not and the cost difference is negligible. And while we’ve tried to reduce our HFCS consumption, we’re not so rigid as to give up our favorite movie-night snack of Chocolate Quakes.
HFCS is often used as a popular whipping boy for obesity, but an American Medical Association study released this summer found that it contributes to obesity no more than other caloric sweeteners. The corn people jumped on the AMA’s report, incorporating the finding in its promotional literature, while conveniently omitting the part where the AMA suggests limiting caloric sweetener consumption to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily. And while HFCS is a cheap replacement for cane sugar, it’s not an exact ratio. LiveScience reports:
Cheap high-fructose corn syrup became the way to make lousy, processed food that is largely devoid of nutrients taste better. The stuff began to appear everywhere starting in the 1980s, from products that indeed contained cane sugar, such as soda, to foods that never had it, like soup. You’ll find high-fructose corn syrup in hundreds of commercial food products that once had the potential of being healthy, such as bread, breakfast cereal, crackers, yogurt, canned fruits and vegetables, and countless sauces and condiments, along with most sweetened drinks and snack foods.
How about you? Do you try to limit your consumption of HFCS or is it a non-factor in your dietary choices? Why or why not?