27 October 2008

HFCS 30 day challenge

I am using this blog post to instigate a HFCS 30 day challenge. If you can, read the whole post before deciding I am a nutter. Please feel free to use the comments section to comment on the challenge and how you are doing on it should you choose to accept. But first, a bit of background.

High fructose corn syrup is the go to sweetener in the US because of ridiculously high tariffs on imported cane sugar (which makes our sugar cost more than sugar globally) and subsidized corn production (which makes corn much cheaper). HFCS is also not processed in your body the same way as cane or beet sugar. The jury is still out on whether HFCS is the root of all evil, so I am not indicting the entire industry here. HFCS has only been around since the 70s, so it is not like you grew up eating it (well my generation maybe has, but then again my mom cooked for us a lot so I may be exempt). HFCS has become so pervasive as a cheap sweetener that it has found its way into food that has no business having sugar in it. Check a can of regular old non-organic sweet corn and look for the sugar. Why does sweet corn need sugar added? Well because HFCS is also and excellent preservative.

There is no doubt that this stuff is not good for us. The corn lobby has started a ridiculous ad campaign which may indicate that sales are suffering due to consumer awareness. They may be correct that it is fine in moderation, but since it is in everything it takes some effort to only get it in moderation. I know that many of you reading this blog think that the organic hippie in me is a bit over the top. But, I think if you take this challenge with me, you may learn a thing or two.

The Challenge (if you choose to accept it).

Starting November 1st you will not eat or drink anything containing HFCS until November 30. Restaurant meals are excepted because you can never be too sure and I don't want to spoil a birthday or something. This should give you a week to alter your menus and get your pantry prepared. Then just start reading labels. Don't buy or eat anything with HFCS in it. You have to check every label- even bread can be hiding some. You don't have to go all organic, but you may have to change brands on some things.

There are plenty of soda companies still making cane sugar sodas (Jones, Blue Sky, Dublin Dr. Pepper). I am not a big fan of splenda or sweet and low (for other health reasons), but for the purposes of this challenge, you can drink diet soda if you like.

I will be taking this challenge as well. I have been trying to rid myself of HFCS for some time, but sometimes the snack attack gets to me. I just have to be smarter about my choices. More Pirate Booty cheese puffs for me!

I hope this challenge goes well. My goal is to get people reading labels and trying to get people to eat additives in moderation. You don't have to give up coke for your entire life, but you may just find that a splash of OJ in seltzer water tastes much better.


Melissa said...

I am impressed by your commitment to this. Despite my ability to eliminate meat from my diet (piece of cake!) and greatly reduce my intake of all animal products, the concept of giving up HFCS leaves me a bit terrified. Good luck--I look forward to your updates.

lusciousluka said...

Oh man, this is going to be hard. Thanks for exempting bdays.

Froggie said...

I'm tempted to join you as long as birthday are exempt. I couldn't imaging not having at least one piece of cake for my bday.

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