Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why is There High Fructose in my Corn Syrup?

I have been making big changes in the food my family eats over the past six months. I'm trying to take us all organic eventually for our health. But I'm also trying to change what we eat so that it helps not just our bodies but the earth, too. After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I realized just how much our food choices effect the environment.

One of the things I learned in the book was how and why high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has slyly made its way into so much of our food. One of the reasons is that the corn conglomerates that are subsidized by the government can make a ton of money by creating the genetically modified sugar substitute. The corn used to make high fructose corn syrup comes from fields that are pesticide laden, which of course is really bad for the environment.

So the growing of the corn for HFCS is bad for the environment. The consumption of the HFCS is bad for our bodies (the subject of which is another blog post waiting to happen). Armed with those two facts, I have been eliminating as many foods as possible that contain it.

Today, as I was making my homemade granola bars, I happened to look on the corn syrup bottle. Here is what had I assumed. Corn syrup has been around for way longer than HFCS (which reared its genetically altered head in the 1970's) so of course there wouldn't be any high fructose corn syrup in it. Why would there? But, I found out that one of the ingredients is HFCS. It obviously isn't needed for corn syrup. So why is it in there? It's in there because it makes the corn syrup cheaper to manufacture.

So now I've got another thing to research. I need to find a corn syrup that is just that - corn syrup. The more I learn the more work I make for myself. But it's all good and all leads up to being a little greener every day.
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