Friday, February 27, 2009
It's amazing how dependent our culture is on soda. The stuff is everywhere. And besides restaurants and supermarket shelves, it's sold at movie theaters, sporting events, and in vending machines hidden in every nook and cranny of our existence. You just can't get away from it. More significantly, a recent study has shown that soda is the most common source of calories in the typical American's diet. Ouch.
I'll be doing a series of posts on the ingredients of soda, and why you don't want any! (Repeat after me...I will not drink any more soda....I will not drink any more soda....) Today I'll start by talking about High Fructose Corn Syrup.
We've all heard about sugar rotting our teeth. Would you be surprised to hear there's no sugar in soda? These days it's all HFCS, and despite the current multi-million dollar ad campaign from the Corn Refiners Association to convince you otherwise, HFCS is bad news.
This sweetener isn't even made from sugar; it's made from corn, the vast majority of which has been genetically modified. The long term effects of a diet containing GMO foods are unknown because they've only been around since the 1990s. However, studies in animals conclusively show ill effects.
Animals fed a GMO diet have significantly decreased fertility rates, and the problem appears to worsen in successive generations. I'm not just talking about lab studies on mice or rats, but farmers have reported decreased fertility in farm animals given feed containing GMO corn and soy. With the human life span being so much longer, the lifelong effects on people can't yet be measured.
Intuitively, one wonders how the effects on people could be so different that the FDA has approved the use of GMO foods for human consumption. While certainly not the only consequence, decreased fertility is one of the biggest immediate concerns from the use of GMO foods. There's some great information about genetically modified foods here if you'd like to learn more.
In addition, the process by which HFCS is produced involves the use of mercury, and small amounts of mercury can remain in the finished product. Mercury is a heavy metal and is toxic even in miniscule amounts. There is NO safe level of Mercury consumption. Ingestion of mercury leads to nervous system damage. (This is the same stuff to be wary of when eating certain types of fish, and the same substance accused of contributing to autism in children who receive it in their vaccines. Beware!)
But soda isn't the only thing that contains HFCS. This awful stuff is present in approximately 7 out of 10 products on your grocery store's shelves. Time to start reading labels, especially if you have kids. Here's a recent quote from David Wallinga, MD, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a co-author of two of the most significant studies on this subject.
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”
Hmm....Have I opened your eyes yet? The most important thing here is that you need to be aware of what you're eating. Don't trust the government or the mega-corporations peddling their version of food to do this work for you. They won't.