The ABCs of HFCs

I try hard to limit the amount of HFCs that my family consumes. Not because I believe it’s some horrible chemical, out to cause allergies and hyperactivity in children, and cancer in rats and blah, blah, blah….but because in a day and age where infants are getting cancer and 23-year-old men are just dropping dead for “no reason”, I must conclude that the unnatural way in which we eat has to play SOME part in the state of health we currently live in.

I’ve seen the HFC Public Service Announcements – the people who “make” HFCs, had that commercial made for them *cough, ahem* so of course it’s not bad, right?! Do you know why there’s HFC in everything? Really? Bottom line….it’s cheap. It is so much cheaper to use an artificial product manufactured en mass, than to grow, harvest and process pure cane sugar. This is why companies use it. Corn is produced all throughout the US. It grows fast, it’s easily refined, and it doesn’t cost much to transport it because it’s local. Sugarcane, however, is not native the the US. And you know us Americans, we’d rather pay someone else to do it for us. Locally, sugar is grown in Hawaii, Louisiana, Florida and Texas, however, based on demand, it’s estimated that the US also imports 43% of our annual sugar consumption form our good friend, Mexico.

Sugar Cane

Here’s my thing….What’s wrong with REAL sugar? If you pick a piece of pure sugar cane (which, by the way, looks a whole lot like bamboo), cut off the husk, and chew on it, know what it you’ll get? A naturally sweet juice. Sugar in it’s purest form. What did corn taste like the last time you chewed on it in it’s raw form? Tasted like corn, huh? Not super sweet. Sugar is made from thousands of gallons of sugar cane juice, and added to that is powdered lime, alcohol (which is also naturally found in sugar cane), and sucrose (which is needed to turn it into it’s crystal form). That’s all. High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from corn (or the “cornstarch” that is left after they process corn), xylose isomerase (an enzyme), glucoamylase (another enzyme, the same stuff your saliva is made of), alpha-amylase (yet another enzyme). Put those on your kids’ next spelling list.

Next time you go grocery shopping, check your labels. A lot of health food shoppers will say that if it has more than 5 ingredients, put it back on the shelf. But generally, my personal rule is: “if you can’t pronounce it, it probably doesn’t belong in your mouth”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought plenty-a-convenience-processed-food, but I try not to. My newest convert is Pepsi Throwback…As a Coke-lover, I’ve had to get over my guilt, mainly because this stuff is made with real sugar, and it’s good.

Here’s a website that actually has a LIST of HFC-free foods. It’s a little old and outdated, but check out the forum, people add stuff all the time. But really, just read your labels. If there’s HFCs in there, it’ll be in the top five…and check everything, that stuff is everywhere, I was dumbfounded that it is in most bread.

Real food, people! We lived on it for hundreds of years and it kept us alive and relatively disease free. Oh, and for those curious…I also have an issue with artificial sweeteners, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

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