More evidence on the dangers of high fructose corn syrup

As the Corn Refiners Association continues their pr campaign, more media sources are beginning to pay attention, though probably not with the intended results. First up, NaturalNews.com reinforces high fructose corn syrup's main ingredient is corn. While the ads ask, "What's wrong with corn?" the answer might just be, "Plenty."

Well here is another question that no one really thinks about. What is SO beneficial about corn? Corn is not a vegetable but a grain. Grains are metabolized into sugars very rapidly in the body and cause a huge spike in blood sugar, thus requiring an outpouring of insulin from the pancreas further straining this already so overworked organ. This is one of the major contributors to the massive increase in type II diabetes were seeing in modern times.

And Rebekah Denn, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer cites an excellent point from Michael Pollan:

"Pollan says not to eat HFCS, but neatly breaks the standard impasse about whether HFCS is any more of a nutritional criminal than other sweeteners. Instead, here's Pollan's logic: HFCS is not necessarily harmful in and of itself, but it is one of the "reliable markers for foods that have been highly processed to the point where they may no longer be what they purport to be. They have crossed over from foods to food products."

By the way, Michael Pollan is rapidly becoming my new hero.


Feds shutter pesticide testing program

Photo credit: Shawn Econo

The Bush administration closed a government program that has tested pesticide levels "in fruits, vegetables and field crops" for the past eighteen years. The White House states the $8 million price tag is too steep, according to The Seattle Times:

Data from the 18-year-old Agricultural Chemical Usage Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) were collected until this year, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used the data to set safe levels of pesticides in food.

The information was also widely used by university and food-industry researchers, including a University of Illinois program to help farmers reduce the amount of pesticides they use.

One of the central philosophies that got us into the current financial mess is deregulation. As government turns a blind eye to corporate conduct, more in the corporate sector begin to cut corners, shave costs and increase profits. When it comes to hosing pesticides on crops, those costs may come in the form of Americans' well-being.

Would it have been more prudent to increase taxes on those industrial farmers who continue to use certain levels of pesticides? I'm not sure, but it seems like a sensible interim solution. Rewarding those farmers and companies who seek to lessen chemical influence on our food, environment, and our bodies, and have those who continue using chemicals help offset the cost of testing for those chemicals.


Wednesday Newsbites for 10/01/2008

photo credit: Left Hand Rotation


Why you should eat fat
Salon.com interviews Jennifer McLagan about her new book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes. In it she describes some of the benefits of eating animal fat over manufactured, polyunsaturated fats, and lingers on the succulent, savory taste fat brings to food. Just in time for World Vegetarian Day!

Many Foods Will Soon Be Labeled by Country of Origin
Finally we'll be able to tell whether or not the tilapia we're eating comes from California, Chile, or China.

Economy Bad, People Eat More at Home, Food Magazines Prosper
According to Serious Eats, via the Wall Street Journal, more people are eating at home and buying up magazines for recipe and food ideas. Makes sense, though why buy a magazine when you can just come here?

Instead of Eating to Diet, They’re Eating to Enjoy
The New York Times on people who eat for nutrition, enjoyment, and are "shunning deprivation diets and instead focusing on adding seasonal vegetables, nuts, berries and other healthful foods to their plates." Makes perfect sense. There's no need to go crazy trying to lose weight if you maintain balance in your diet.

Eat your water
Culinate.com cites a study in the journal Nutrition that indicates eating foods with a high water content will help you lose more weight than just drinking a lot of water.