Between 1970 and 2005 the obesity rate in the United States roughly doubled, according to data from the National Health a and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the USDA.
On the BMI scale over 30 is defined as obese; over 25 is overweight.
We’re eating over 200 calories more each day, most of which come from carbs. We are also eating more meat, although most of that is actually leaner than it used to be, so the calorie contribution to the average diet has gone down.
We’re taking in about 100 calories more in sweeteners each day on average, and High Fructose Corn Syrup has about half of that.
We drink less regular whole milk, and more reduced fat, and fat-free milk.
We consume a lot more oil, particularly vegetable oil, than we were back in the 1970’s. Mostly corn, and soybean and canola oils.
The increase in obesity has come about because we eat a lot more wheat; increased sweeteners, and processed oils instead of fat from meat.
Don’t get obsessed by low calories and low fat.
For example, what’s best to eat? Almonds or fat-free chips?
Some folks might go for the fat-free chips on account of them having no fat. Wrong. It’s much better to eat the almonds.
They are much better for you in terms of nutrition, fiber content, and they’re not processed with who know what added in the flavorings that chips (fat-free or not) often contain.
Also watch out for things like calorie-free drinks. They might seem better for you than the calorie-laden, HFCS containing regular varieties, but more and more studies are pointing toward some artificial sweetener being possible carcinogens.
Better to drink water, or whole fruit juice anyway.
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) seemingly takes exception to any suggestion that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in any way to blame for the increase in Child diabetes in the United States.
The CRA loves to quote the American Medical Association (AMA) as saying that HFCS doesn’t appear to contribute more to obesity to other caloric sweeteners (such as regular sugar, for example).
However, The AMA also recommends a daily limit of 32 grams of such sweeteners. The average can of soda contains 40 grams of HFCS.
So even if HFCS in itself does no more harm than other sweeteners, we can’t get away from the fact that the average American consumes far more sweeteners of all kinds than is recommended by the AMA – over 500% more. As practically all processed food products contain HFCS, it is a major contributor to obesity, and diabetes in the USA.
The best way forward is to cut out processed foods altogether. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, diary, beans and whole grains. Check anything in a carton, box, or packet though to be sure of what you are actually eating.
Cutting out processed foods, and sweeteners, including HFCS, cannot do any harm.
High fructose corn syrup, sugar and several fruit juices are all nutritionally the same, according to Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association. She says that High fructose corn syrup has the same number of calories as sugar and is handled similarly by the body.
The American Medical Association in June 2008 helped put to rest misunderstandings about this sweetener and obesity, stating that “high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners.”
That last statement though, is the rub. If you really want to eat food with less calories, and better nutritional values, then it’s recommended to cut out the empty calories that come with ALL calorific sweeteners, including both regular sugar, and HFCS.
So TGFC still thinks it’s a good idea to avoid HFCS as part of a sensible diet regimen.
Ever heard of it? TGFC suspects that many people haven’t. It’s been used as a zero-calorie sweetener for many years in other countries, but the US FDA has taken its time on approving it, on the grounds of safety.
Perhaps, it was more a case of the food processing giants not wanting to make a switch from products such as Equal and Splenda?
Coca Cola and Pepsi are ready to include it in some of their drinks, and it’s now been given approval for use.
What is Stevia?
It comes from the Stevia plant. The leaves are naturally sweet, and the products derived from these leaves are highly concentrated.
The jury is still out on what effects existing artificial sweeteners have on the body, and of course there is, of yet, no long-term data available for Stevia.
TFGC’s take on it is still the same, use natural cane sugar, and use as little as possible. Work towards cutting sugars and/or sweeteners from your diet.
Quit drinking soda of all kinds, and drink more water instead. Watch out for restaurant items, and eat fresh and not processed food.
It’s all over the place. It’s ubiquitous in the American diet. It makes huge profits for the companies that produce it, and it’s around 6 times sweeter than natural sugar.
However, if eating something sweet leaves you feeling bloated and yucky, check the label on what you’ve eaten.
It could be that darn HFCS.
Like we said it’s found all over the place. It’s in soda, salad dressings, cereals, and other sweet desserts. What happens is this. Apart from it being empty calories that do you no use at all, except help to make you fat, it doesn’t always get digested properly by the body, and then it gets attacked by the bacteria that occur naturally in your gut. This can lead to excessive gas, and even diarhea.
A recent survey found it to be quite common. The best way to check if it’s what’s making you feel full, and your family and friends think you’re anti-social, is to quit eating and drinking anything with HFCS in for a week. If those symptoms stop, you’ve possibly cracked it.
Of course, if your symptoms continue, they whisk yourself off to a doctor. We’d always advocate you do this if you’re ever worried about your health. TGFC doesn’t pretend to be any kind of substitute for professional medical advice – ever.