Most Americans are made of corn. Why? Well, it’s not because we eat a lot of corn on the cob or corn tortilla chips during football games and cookouts. Instead, remember that beef is generally fed a grain-based diet (see my post from last week). But, the real reason we’re becoming corn toxic is that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is in practically every food with a box or package.
HFCS is an inexpensive sweetener made from corn. You can do a little research of your own to find out exactly what it does, but the important facts are that it’s bad for you and your body doesn’t process it in the same way it processes real sugar. It “forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream” (SFGate) and it “tricks you into wanting to eat more food, and at the same time store more fat ” (ChefMD). Ask any respected nutritionist, and they all agree that HFCS is a major cause for America’s obesity problem.
But, let’s look deeper into how we’re actually made of corn. Todd Dawson, a University of California-Berkeley plant biologist, says you can tell how much corn is in your diet by testing a single strand of your hair for a carbon in corn. Dawson says “we are what we eat with respect to carbon, for sure. So if we eat a particular kind of food, and it has a particular kind of carbon in it, that’s recorded in us, in our tissues, in our hair, in our fingernails, in the muscles.” Typically, about 70% of the carbon in our hair comes from corn.
A ridiculously high number of popular foods and drinks contain HFCS, so it’s really hard for many of us to avoid it. Think ketchup, Gatorade, soda, cereals, cookies, jelly, chips, bread, juice, salad dressing, milk…the list goes on and on. Luckily, there are HFCS-free options out there, you just have to look for them. If you want syrup for your waffles, put the brand with HFCS back on the shelf, and pick up the 100% maple syrup bottle instead. If you want to splurge on some potato chips, grab a brand like Cape Cod that only has three ingredients on the label: potatoes, canola oil, and salt.
The bottom line: ALWAYS read the ingredients on your food labels and stay far away from anything that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup.