Teen Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup

When I took on switching brands to less chemical foods to the foods produced in the alternative food market it took me a good 2 years.

I was reducing sodium, sugars of any kind, food preservatives and food dyes. I was switching from white rice to a more nutrient and fiber rich brown. I was diluting juices, making my own popsicles, freezing our steamed veggies in ice cube trays for baby food. I made my own italian sausage using turkey. I made my own soup stocks. It was an industrious and meaningful endeavor.

Along my learning path the word altered came into my vocabulary, altered fats first – typically known as anything hydrogenated and then altered sugars known as High Fructose Corn Syrup. I added both of those things to my *these are really BAD* list and went on about my continued path of staying away from these ingredients.

If you haven’t noticed High Fructose Corn Syrup is in a lot of stuff, it is the cornerstone of mass produced and processed food. It makes things ultra sweet and makes the shelf life of stuff very stable – try perpetual. Some might say it’s derived from cornstarch so that makes it natural. However it is an altered substance and when you do that to something it changes its chemistry. Same thing as margarine – when you take something from it’s natural liquid form and hydrogenate it to make it into a solid, it’s basically like eating plastic. Your body doesn’t have a clue how to digest it or by design we were not meant to process it

My recent horror about the ingredient crystaline fructose ( note the arsenic, lead, chloride  and heavy metals in the break down! ) found in my formerly beloved bread has had me hyper aware of how the misconception continues.
Tidbits from a brief article in my daughter’s TEEN Vogue, are worth sharing.

( by the by what an interesting magazine teen vogue is, in my day I read Vogue for the photography – I was designer clothing/anything oblivious – these days it’s fascinating to see the industry market themselves to youth – it’s a real culture.)

High Fructose Corn Syrup is 20% cheaper than sugar. It’s a 4.5 BILLION dollar industry. It came to the market in the late 70’s, obesity levels at that time were stable. Now 50% of our sweeteners are HFCS derived. Per person consumption is at a 73.5 lbs PER YEAR.  Do you even fathom the volume of sweetener that is ?

Obesity rates in teens have TRIPLED.  


The article sites a researcher George Bray, MD, professor of Clinical Obesity and Metabolism at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University who states based on the commentary above;  the rise in obesity in the US can be linked to the increased use of HFCS 

Not only is HFCS sweeter than regular sugar, it could lead to overeating, while glucose stimulates regulation of body weight, fructose doesn’t stimulate that hormone,  making it easier to over consume and eventually gain weight. HFCS has been directly linked to the increase of diabetes, and to heart disease and stroke risk. 

I have been a label detective for years and years, back then I was thought to be pretty darn weird. Yet really the only way to wean from this horrific and addictive substance is to become hyper aware. When you begin to see how it’s infiltrated so much of what you eat – you will be shocked. 

On a personal note – the additional thing that horrifies me is that additional corn derived and equally if not more harmful sweeteners are being utilized.  I wrote about crystaline fructose in a previous post.  This sweetener was new to me – I just don’t eat or shop mainstream foods, yet it’s actually been around for some time

Last year my daughter made an emphatic choice to make and bring her own lunch.  She’s been awesome about it. The bread I provided had that sweetener in it, I noticed the bread had changed, but I never read the label. This fact alone just makes me scream… how is it that I let this detail go unnoticed?  The definition says that CF is three times more concentrated. My daughter this last year has put on some weight.  What if it’s a direct corrulation ? 

I’d like to think not, she is after all a teenager and while we really eat well, nothing stops her from finding sweet and or greasy things that teenagers love. I feel at some point as a parent we have to let go, and she really does know better. Lots of things are different this year, she drives instead of walking to school, she’s very busy and even stressed, she’s hormonal, as so many young teens are, she’s compulsive. Then again she eats lots of vegetables, fruit, brown rice, takes a dance class. Her school is 3 stories with lots and lots of stairs.

Yet …what if it was that bread? What if the chemistry was altered just enough?  I feel horrible just thinking about it.  

US has the fattest teens

Karen Hanrahan ~ Wellness Educator/Nutritional Consultant/Blog Author
708.482.0678 ~ Websites:
Nutrition Weight Loss, and Green Clean as seen on Oprah

How do you celebrate Earth Day?
If you’re not cleaning green – what’s stopping you? 


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12 Responses to Teen Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup

  1. Anna says:

    I wonder if that corn is also genetically modified as well. See if she will eat Ezekel bread. It is a sprouted wheat and is in the freezer section of some grocery stores. If you toast it, it is really good. Anna http://www.green-talk.com

  2. Karen, since I have had a blood sugar imbalance, I have started reading food labels. You really can’t trust the manufacturers to be honest. Sugar in many different forms is in a lot of our foods. High fructose corn syrup and corn starch are both made from corn. I am allergic to corn. I have been unpleasantly surprised at how many products have one or both of these in them.Patricia

  3. Karen Hanrahan says:

    I bet it is genetically modified! We have actually been exploring the entire ezekial line Anna and just love it – their tortillas are suberb!! Years ago it was a tad too hefty for their youthful tastes. breads.

  4. Karen Hanrahan says:

    Hi Patricia, I know exactly what you mean.  Corn is pervasive in many many foods. Welcome back!

  5. Please don’t beat yourself up about the bread! We Moms are so good at beating ourselves up, aren’t we? The other issue is that once you find a good organic bread, it’s typically expensive…$4.50 per loaf is typical here. DH and I were just talking about finding the bread machine (down in the basement) to start baking bread. I know some Moms who say they can bake organic bread for about $1 per loaf. I know, I know…one more thing to add to the to-do list! 🙂

  6. miragana says:

    Good day! It is very informative and has a very good quality in it. I like it… Thank you very much for your time.

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