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Eating Green
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by Beth Little | 2008

Your own health and the health of the planet are intricately linked. This should NOT be a big surprise!

Okay, sorry to lay this on you, but you probably already know, whether you have been avoiding it or not, that besides your health, the health of the planet depends on what you eat.

Since Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” we have been warned about the downside of pesticides. Recent books and media coverage have focused attention on the environmental impact of how food is grown, packaged and shipped. The energy (mostly from coal and oil) for farm machinery, the materials for packaging, and the energy for shipping long distances, are all using up our resources, causing pollution and contributing to global warming. Now they are even a threat to our national security. And it gets deeper. As more corn is produced for biofuel to offset our demand for oil, food prices are soaring. Here’s one quick, simple way to limit your personal contribution to the problem: stop eating anything that contains high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Actually, it’s not so simple, because HFCS is in virtually all processed foods, even organic bread; but that just shows the magnitude of the problem; and, therefore, the impact you can have by boycotting HFCS.

So what’s wrong with it?

“Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with highfructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels.” 

In the liver, it creates a larger amount of triglycerides, which increases the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that large amounts of high fructose corn syrup induce insulin resistance, impair glucose tolerance, produce high levels of insulin, boost a dangerous type of fat in the blood and cause high blood pressure in animals.

Here are links with more info:

The Double Danger of HFCS

The Murky World of HFCS

High-Fructose Corn Syrup – Not So Sweet for the Planet  

Excerpt: “The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide,” writes Pollan, a prominent critic of industrial agriculture. “Look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf [of Mexico], an area the size of New Jersey where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt. Then there is the atrazine in the water in farm country — a nasty herbicide that, at concentrations as little as 0.1 part per billion, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites.”

Author Michael Pollan, quoted above, has reported in-depth on the problems with our industrial agriculture. See: click on “writing” and scroll down below books to articles.

For help in getting it out of your diet see
How to Avoid HFCS It also contains a bibliography of more sources on the health threats (to both people and planet).

The FDA and the food industry say that HFCS is perfectly safe, that it’s just like sugar. But they said that about partially hydrogenated fats, also known as trans-fats, which have now been proven to be linked to heart disease and other systemic ailments. The message about partially hydrogenated fats is getting through. They are being banned in some places, and you see labels with the prominant message: "No trans-fats."  Hopefully, it won't be long before the same thing happens to HFSC. You can help by purging it from your diet.

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