Friday, February 20, 2009

A Possible Connection Between High Frustose Corn Syrup and Mercury

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has already been deemed a possible suspect in the obesity epidemic. Now, two studies published last month report that mercury has been found in many tested samples of commercial HFCS and in brand name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second-highest labeled ingredient.

HFCS has replaced sugar as a sweetener in many common food items like BBQ sauce, jam, cereals, yogurt, ketchup, and other condiments. Many popular sodas also contain HFCS. HFCS has been widely used because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and has replaced table sugar because it is cheaper.

Given that mercury is toxic at all levels and the fact that so many of the products we consume contain HFCS, I have included a few commonly consumed culprits and their HFCS-free alternatives below:

Contains HFCS
Weight Watchers 100% whole wheat bread Ezekiel 4:9
Yoplait Fage
Kellog's Corn Flakes Barbara's puffins
Nutrition Bars
Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars Lara or Cliff Nectar bars


Annie's Natural Organic Ketchup
Salad Dressing
Wishbone Salad Spritzer Classic Caesar Most Newman's Own
Wheat Thins FiberRich
Campbells tomato soup Amy's light in Sodium
Quaker Oatmeal to Go McCann's Irish Oatmeal

Although this is an interesting study, there still needs to be more research conducted to truly understand its health consequences. Truth is, HFCS, like other sugars, when consumed in excess have many negative health consequences. Just like other forms of sugar/sweeteners, it provides no nutrients. If you are concerned about the amount of HFCS in your diet: Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and limit your intake of junk food!:

SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Peanut Butter Outbreak

Myth or Fact? All peanut butter products are contaminated by Salmonella

MYTH. If the recent Salmonella scare has made you think twice about eating anything containing peanuts, you're not alone. Over 500 Americans have been affected in over 43 states by various peanut butter and peanut paste-containing products (including 9 deaths). Officials have isolated the source of the outbreak to contaminated peanut butter and peanut paste produced by The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia processing plant. PCA’s products are used in hundreds of different food items including cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream.

As unfortunate as this situation is, not all peanut products are affected. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “major national brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores are not affected by the PCA recall” and the makers of my favorite peanut butter product, Justin’s 100 Calorie Nut Butter Pack (available at Whole Foods) claim that their products are still safe to eat as well.

For information about the Salmonella outbreak, including a searchable list of products recalled by the FDA, visit

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How Our Food Choices Impact The Environment

Myth or Fact? Weight gain leads to global warming?

FACT! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds during the 1990’s. This increase in weight required airlines to consume an additional 350 million gallons of jet fuel in 2000 leading to the release of 3.8 million more tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. So what can you do about this? Either start holding your breath, stop flying, or better yet considering shedding those extra pounds.

Here are some easy (food-related) ways that we can all support the environment:

  • Support local farmers by buying whole, locally produced foods such as fruits and vegetables to avoid the extra energy costs associated with the production and transportation of processed foods.

  • Buy organic dairy products to ensure that you are not promoting the use of growth hormones or antibiotics in cows.

  • Choose certified organic meats to avoid contributing to the widespread use of antibiotics.

  • Eat species of fish that aren’t overfished and are also lowest in mercury and other toxins (avoid Chilean sea bass, Atlantic cod, King crab, Grouper, Sea scallops, Albacore, blue fin, big eye, yellow fin tuna). Go to: for the complete guide.

  • Instead of bottled water, buy a reusable water container that is BPA-free certified. Also use a water filter at home and at work.

  • Use sustainable, reusable storage containers.