High Fructose Corn Syrup- What’s the big deal?

High Fructose Corn syrup this. High Fructose Corn Syrup that. You can’t turn on the television without seeing a commercial, showing some food company bragging that their product does not contain high fructose corn syrup. But why all the fuss?

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), is a chemically concocted derivative of corn starch, that was created in a laboratory, as a cheap alternative to sucrose or natural sugar. Companies that never used sweeteners, were now able to utilize an inexpensive, chemically stable, sugar alternative, to improve the taste of their products, which led to the High Fructose Corn Syrup explosion that saturated the food market.

Why should I avoid this ingredient?

HFCS has been linked to a litany of negative health effects on different parts of the body, including the brain, heart, liver, abdominal region, pancreas and the kidneys.  Additionally, HFCS has also been linked to variety of health problems including obesity, fatty liver disease, hypertension, and diabetes, just to name a few.

How can you avoid this ingredient in the food or beverage products you purchase?

As a rule of thumb, when you are buying food or beverage products, always begin by reading the labels.  Look for simple natural ingredients that you can pronounce, and that you recognize. This may seem tedious but as the old saying goes” Prevention is better than cure” and it is worth the extra effort to safeguard your health, as opposed to having to take expensive drugs, or undergoing costly medical procedures in the future.

Always Remember- Foods are like friends. Choose them wisely!

Sources of information for article are below:

1www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

2 2014Cynthia L. Ogden, Margaret D. Carroll, Cheryl D. Fryar,and Katherine M. Flegal,Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States. 2011–NCHS Data Brief No. 219  November 2015

3  Sobel Linda L., Dalby Elizabeth” Sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup—What Should Nurses Teach Patients and Families.” WVN 2014;11:126–132

4    Bell, Laura “Sweet Confusion: Does High Fructose Corn Syrup Deserve Such a Bad Rap?” Science News. May 16, 2013

 

 

5 Things you did not know about fats.

1 Fats are needed by the body

Fats aka lipids are large nutrient molecules that serve several functions in the body including: providing the body insulation to keep warm, adding cushioning for the bones and joints for protection against injury, acting as a source of energy for daily activities, and proper functioning of vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K (which are needed to maintain good eyesight, bone density and structure, blood clotting and much,much more.)

2 Trans-fats are man-made with a few exceptions

Trans-fats are a Frankenstein creation designed by the food industry to add flavor to food, and to keep foods from spoiling. This is accomplished by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats in a process call hydrogenation. Trans-fats are commonly found in processed foods like margarine (and other artificial butter-like products) and in fast foods like French fries, burgers, chips, and certain types of cookies etc. Trans-fats can also be found naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy.

3 Trans-fats are bad                            

As a consumer, you should be wary of the food products you buy, and the types of fats they contain, especially when it comes to processed foods. The trans-fats found in most processed food products are detrimental to human health, and are linked to numerous health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. If you encounter food products, that mention hydrogenation, or partial hydrogenation, (which is the code word for trans-fats), you should try to avoid buying these types of food products, whenever possible, to safeguard your health.

4 Saturated fats can be used in moderation

Saturated fats, are lipids that are normally solid at room temperature. Examples include butter, chicken (in particular chicken skin, which I usually remove when cooking),other meats, eggs, and coconut oil. Historically, we have been told to stay away from these fats, but some studies have shown that these fats (as long as they are not the type found in fried, processed, or fast foods) may not be as bad as previously thought. They are considered acceptable for use in moderation, as they are needed for proper body function, including hormone production.

5 Unsaturated fats are good

Unsaturated fats are lipids, that are normally liquid at room temperature, and fall into 2 major categories:

Monounsaturated fats which include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and many types of nuts. The other type, are polyunsaturated fats, which include:

1 Omega 6 fatty acids which is found in foods including, corn oil, soybean oil, and nuts such as walnuts.

2 Omega 3 fatty acids  which is found in foods such as flax seeds, and in fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

Similar to omega 6 fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, promote proper brain function, growth and development. Additionally, omega 3’s have been found to lower the risk of heart disease (as they decrease the likelihood of clots forming in the blood vessels,) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, etc. Omega 3’s also reduce inflammation in the body, which is a leading cause of chronic diseases in the body, including cancer and arthritis. Hence, unsaturated fats (in particular foods containing omega 3 fatty acids) should make up the majority of your daily fat consumption, and become a staple in your diet, due to their many health benefits.

Always Remember- Foods are like friends. Choose them wisely!

 Sources of information for article are below:

1 “Getting over the fat phobia.” Harvard Health Letter. Dec2015, Vol. 41 Issue 2, p5-5. 1p.

2 Rodriguez, Melissa. “Dietary Fat and the Martial Arts Athlete.”, Black Belt Oct/Nov2015, Vol. 53 Issue 6, p28

3 Fikes, Bradley J. “Lowering saturated fats doesn’t cut heart disease risk, study finds” By: San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA). 04/12/2016.

4   “You Are What You Eat, Hence Curtail Saturated and Trans Fats, Free Sugars and Salt.” Manolis HOSPITAL CHRONICLES 2016, 11(2): 65–76

Why Health Quickies?

This is the post excerpt.

Many people are concerned about their health, and want to make healthier choices, but don’t know how, or where to begin. There is a ton of information out there, and so little time during the course of a busy day to sit down, and read through the pages and pages of articles and books, available on the internet, or in book stores. As a licensed and certified health educator, and consultant, I have been asked on many occasions- Is this good for you? Is that bad for you? What should I eat? What products should I buy? Etc. These questions led to the creation of my blog Health Quickies- Health info on the Go.  Instead of having to read through a bunch of articles just to get the answers to your health questions, www.Health Quickies.com answers your health questions, and provides you  access to health information and tips, in a concise easy to read format(written in a page or less.) Now Jane and Joe Busy, can access health information, in a fraction of the time, which allows them to make healthier decisions about the foods they eat, and the products they use. My hope is that Health Quickies- Health info on the go will help you pursue a healthier lifestyle, and to make better choices for you and yours.

Huh?Why?

Huh?,  is my reaction, every time I learn about something that is being put into our foods, beverages, or other products, that we use for our bodies, that have no place being there. Why?, ( which is a rhetorical question) represents the shock and dismay I feel, knowing that food, beverage, and cosmetic/toiletry companies (among others), put our lives at risk, by using preservatives, chemicals, and other substances, that are toxic, just for the sake of profits.

My personal health journey began, when I experienced severe headaches after eating hot dogs. After conducting research, I discovered that not only were hot dogs composed of meat scraps, fillers (fake meat substitutes) etc., but they contained preservatives, and chemicals, similar to those used in rubber cement. Huh? That’s right. The stuff you use to glue your art projects in school with, is similar to the stuff used to hold our beloved hot dogs together. On top of that, hot dogs contain dyes (which I talk about in my blog “Are pretty colored foods pretty good for you?”) and nitrates/nitrites (which I discuss in my blog post entitled “Preservatives that don’t preserve your health-Sodium nitrates/nitrites) that have been linked to cancer, and other health problems. Why use them you may ask?  Well, the nitrates and nitrites help hot dogs to last much longer (up to a year in the freezer as opposed to just weeks) and along with dyes, give hot dogs their pinkish-reddish color people find appealing (which equates to increased sales and profits for hot dog companies.) Apparently, I was allergic to these ingredients, which triggered my severe headaches.  If it were not for my body’s painful reaction to eating hot dogs, who knows if I would be still eating them today.

Another experience that led to my becoming more aware of the products I use, was my body’s reaction to solid deodorant.  After repeated use of solid deodorants, containing the active ingredient Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex, my arm pits would swell, and would hurt if touched. I could not understand why this was happening to me, but after conducting research once again, I discovered that I was allergic to this ingredient. Additionally, my investigation uncovered that this ingredient has also been linked with- you guessed it cancer. Due to my body’s extreme sensitivity to various chemicals, I became a chemical detective, which has drastically changed my life for the better.

As a health professional, I find it troubling, that many people still don’t really know, that the products they are putting inside, or on their bodies, can negatively impact their health. If people were only aware, of how much poisons they unintentionally exposed themselves to on a daily basis, I think their reaction would be Huh?(They really put that in my juice?) followed by Why?(Why would they put this in my juice knowing the potentially negative  consequences to my health?) In this blog, I will share what I have learned (and continue to learn), which in turn, I hope you will share with others, as we seek to become healthier versions of ourselves.