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Volume III
June 17, 2011

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

7 Surprising Foods Using HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

By Alice Osborne

According to a University of Colorado study, avoiding the risk of high blood pressure takes more than eating a healthy, low-sodium diet. Their research showed that the now notorious food additive, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-an ingredient in almost all processed, prepared, or packaged foods-increases blood pressure by up to 32%.

The study says HFCS causes inflammation in the bloodstream, which causes the blood vessel walls to tighten, resulting in blood pressure increases. What was so alarming was that even the most consistent and rigorous healthy eaters experienced this blood pressure increase with just a periodic and slight ingestion of HFCS. Scary.

And buyer beware: HFCS shows up on labels with a variety of names: corn syrup, fructose, high fructose sweetener, natural sweetener, or any other type of sweetener title; it is all still the same health-damaging sweetener. Even foods that claim to be "natural" frequently include HFCS. This nasty stuff is most common in soda and processed foods labeled "low-fat" or "non-fat."

Do you wonder why food manufacturers add high-fructose corn syrup to their products? It's all about money - HFCS adds flavor to fat-reduced foods (which taste like crap without it - can I say "crap?"). Sales obviously go up if a product tastes good. And finally, HFCS happens to be extremely cheap - flavor is enhanced at next to no cost.

Now my main point - here are 7 surprising foods that use this junk:

Yogurt: we eat it for its so-called health benefits, yet we're actually shooting ourselves in the foot!

Baby Food: sure, let's get our children hooked on sweets and junk food from the get-go!

Granola and Granola Bars: if you have to add HFCS to enhance their flavor, then you have one crummy recipe!

Cereal (even so-called healthy cereals or cereals intended for children) - what's wrong with this picture - is anyone seeing the numbers of overweight children in society today? WHY are we OK with giving them this garbage?

Salad dressing: same issue as for yogurt-eat a salad for health but slog it up with HFCS!

Condiments: some ketchup labels are now sporting a bright circular message stating there's no HFCS included - it's about time!

Crackers: same issue as for granola and granola bars - if you have to add HFCS to enhance their flavor, you oughtta look at changing your recipe!

And another thing! There's one more problem with HFCS: Most corn and corn-derived foods on the market are made with genetically-modified (GM) corn. Pay attention to this one - even though there isn't yet much testing on the effects of consuming GM-foods, the testing that has been done is clearly showing many negative health consequences.

One last word: Don't confuse HFCS with the fructose found in fresh fruit. Research shows that consuming fruit has no negative impact on blood pressure. In fact, studies are showing fruit can even improve it.

So what can you trust in this HFCS-laden world? Only fresh whole foods, or foods labeled "100% organic," and foods you create in your own kitchen are devoid of HFCS. No surprises there!

NOW, how about a happy note - here's a terrific home-made granola bar recipe - and it doesn't need HFCS to enhance its flavor!

Chewy Granola Bars Supreme

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, ground flaxseeds, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

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