Posts tagged ‘hfcs’

Kosher Coke Contains Real Sugar

By Chad Upton | Editor

In many countries, Coca-Cola and most other soft drinks, are sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). This is not real sugar from cane or beets, it is a processed sweetener made from corn that is almost identical to natural sugar.

There have been some debates and studies about whether or not HFCS is bad for us. Without getting into it, I will say that some people don’t have a problem eating HFCS and other people do.

The reasons for avoiding HFCS vary widely and one of them has led to Kosher Coke. Because high fructose corn syrup is made from corn (a grain) it cannot be consumed by (Orthodox) Ashkenazi Jews who refrain from eating grains during passover.

You can spot Kosher Coke by the yellow cap on the bottle (white in Chicago). It typically has a Kosher certification symbol and sometimes Hebrew characters. If you live near Cleveland  the local bottler never switched to HFCS, so check the ingredients — your Coke might be perma-Kosher. (more…)

March 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm 14 comments

Organic Food May Contain Non-Organic Ingredients

Back in 5th grade, my school had cupcake sales. There were thousands of cupcakes. I don’t remember what we were raising money for, but I ate a lot of cupcakes and that was memorable.

Baking all of these cupcakes was a lot of painstaking work, but my mom was a really hard worker. She always made chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, which the parents and teachers ate up, literally.

They weren’t covered in icing sugar, they didn’t have multicolored sprinkles or glitter and that’s exactly what the kids looked for: sugar. If you’re punny, you might say the kids had more refined palettes.

Some of my favorite cupcakes were the ones decorated with those tiny silver balls. It turns out the FDA now considers them inedible, due to the small amount of metal in them. Now, they’re sold “for decoration only,” except in California where they’ve been banned since 2003.

They were considered edible back then, but that still doesn’t mean they were food. I ate LEGO a couple times back then too. Again, not food.

Real food isn’t made in a laboratory, although laboratories do produce some really tasty stuff. In an earlier post, I talked about the differences between natural sugar and synthetic sugar made from corn (high fructose corn syrup).

Experts believe that your body can’t control its absorption into your bloodstream, in an attempt to control your blood sugar, your body quickly converts it into fat, which happens much slower with natural sugar. This could be extremely dangerous, and its addition to thousands of foods over the past 35 years could be partially responsible for the obesity epidemic.

Last month, a research paper was published, focusing on one genetically modified type of corn. This study shows that pesticide residue was still evident on this type of corn and it causes organ failure in rats. Genetically modified food has a bad reputation and it isn’t always bad, there are many success stories and it occurs in nature too (not just laboratories). But, this study shows a clear example of genetically modified food at its worst.

Because of these dangers, there are a lot of people who try to eat natural foods whenever possible. Food labeled “organic”  is one way to identify real food. Many food products contain a lot of synthetic ingredients, growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics. On the other hand, Organic foods generally do not contain any of these.

At least, that’s what I thought. I don’t buy a lot of organic food, but when I do buy a product stamped with the “USDA Organic” logo, I assume that it’s entirely organic. The truth is, the USDA actually has a list (PDF) of non-organic ingredients that are allowed in products that carry the “organic” label.

Here is a very small sample of some non-organic ingredients and some uses for them:

  1. Fish Oils (dairy, egg, sauces, jam, jelly, snack foods)
  2. Gelatin (yogurt, production of tea and wine, thickening agent)
  3. Orange Shellac (glazing or polishing organic fruits and vegetables)
  4. Enriched Inulin (baking, nutritional bars, yogurt, cereal)
  5. Whey Protein Concentrate (yogurt, protein supplements, baby food)
  6. Carnauba Wax and Wood resin (chewing gum, candy coatings, juice, cosmetics)

The USDA has approved these ingredients (and many others) because the organic food producers that rely on them have filed petitions asking for approval. The petitions usually cite a non-existent or inadequate supply of that ingredient in organic form. In other words, organic food contains 100% organic ingredients when those ingredients are available as organic products.

Written By: Chad Upton

Broken Secrets

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Images: USDA,

Sources: The Daily Green, Dragee, International Journal of Biological Sciences, USDA Food List, HFCS

January 21, 2010 at 1:12 am 1 comment

The Sugar in Most Foods is Not Natural Sugar

Real sugar, from cane or beets, is expensive to import.  That’s why countries without real sugar, make it from other stuff.

The United States, Canada and the UK consume a lot of sugar and don’t have enough real sugar to meet their needs. A complicated series of transformations involving enzymes and fungi can process corn into a sugar substitute called high fructose corn syrup (known as “glucose/fructose” in Canada and “glucose fructose syrup” in the UK).

It is almost exactly like real sugar. Almost.

The safety of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a hot debate in health circles. Food manufacturers say that it is almost exactly like real sugar and there is no proof that it is any worse for you than real sugar. Other experts point to a key difference between natural sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup. It’s very technical, but I’ll try to simplify it.

Sucrose and HFCS are both made up of glucose and fructose, which is why the food manufacturers say they’re almost the same. The key difference is that sucrose contains a bond between glucose and fructose, while HFCS does not. Because of this bond, your body must break it down before it can be utilized. In high fructose corn syrup, there is no bond — allowing it to be utilized more easily.

When you have more energy than you can burn, it gets stored as fat. A high absorption of sugar can also lead to insulin resistance and then diabetes.

Pay attention to the type of sugar in your food, it’s important. You might be surprised by how many things contain high fructose corn syrup. Some examples include: yogurt, breakfast cereals, granola bars, crackers and of course things like soda/pop and cookies. But, for all of these products, there are brands with natural sugar. Even manufacturers are starting to pay attention, Pepsi is currently offering Pepsi and Mountain “Throwback.” They’re just like their normal drinks, but made with real sugar — a throwback to the good ol’ days.

Remember that if you’re not in the USA, high fructose corn syrup is called glucose/fructose or glucose-fructose syrup.

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Sources: WP HFCS, WP Insulin, Princeton University

Photo: *MarS (cc)

January 14, 2010 at 12:04 am 3 comments


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