Monday, April 14, 2008


So, today was my first completely corn-syrup-free day! I had a few slip-ups over the weekend. Cutting high-fructose corn syrup from my diet was actually harder than I thought. I began by thinking, well I don't drink a lot of soda this should be easy. But it wasn't! It is in everything! After my last post, I had a hamburger slathered with bbq sauce. It was delicious, but then I realized that I had not even thought to check the label to see the ingredients. Whoops. Then after class the next day, I grabbed one of those 100 calorie cookie snack things. Note to self: just because it says 100 calories, doesn't make it a health food. Oh well. Over the weekend, all was well. Before work on Saturday I was so proud to have had a breakfast that was free of corn syrup. Then I go to work and find a box of free It's-It ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, and I gobbled one down without thinking. An hour later I thought, oh shit...that totally had corn syrup. They are just so irresistible!

But today was my day! I finally did it, but it was really hard. It might just be my imagination, but I felt hungrier today. I almost broke down so many times. I craved a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, but I made a peanut-butter-and-honey sandwich instead (no hfcs in the Skippy Chunky peanut butter OR in the Oroweat bread). I really need to go shopping for some corn-syrup-free condiments and snacks, and I'm so glad I found this site to help me at the grocery store. This particular blog has a growing list of products that contain no high-fructose corn syrup. This blog post also has some tips and warnings about snacks that contain corn syrup. It would have been helpful before I scarfed down those 100 calorie cookies, but whatever. I was still getting used to things. But now, I'm feeling good about my new corn-syrup-free diet. Just over this past weekend, I have talked about this to a lot of my friends and I was shocked to hear that many others are doing the same thing. It seems like everyone I know, knows someone else who has cut corn syrup from their diet. I also read this article from SF Gate about the whole high-fructose corn syrup dilemma.

I just wanted to update everyone on my progress with this new healthier diet choice. And just to be clear, I'm not cutting sugar from my diet. I just can't do that, I have way too little self-control. Just corn syrup! And I also wanted to share this picture I took today at the Pepsi Bottling Co. in Hayward. I had to pick up a bunch of soda for my work, and saw these huge towers labeled "CORN SYRUP." Gross, right?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


The other day I was watching Current TV, and there was a segment about a new documentary called King Corn. Two filmmakers chronicled their decision to move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn. They realized that their acre of corn would be consumed by Americans in many forms of our favorite foods. This short segment, which can be seen here, really opened my eyes to how important corn is to our society. I just never thought about this very much before watching this…corn=high-fructose corn syrup=candy, soda, juice, HALF OF MY FRIDGE!! Yeah! I got curious, ran to my kitchen and started looking at the ingredients of some of my favorite foods. The base ingredient of so many tasty treats in my kitchen was high-fructose corn syrup. It made me sick to think that I ate that much…sweetness!

I looked up more info on this film, and didn’t feel any better. You can watch another piece from the film here, which shows the two filmmakers actually making corn syrup from scratch. This piece also gives some really disgusting facts about our corn-syrup-lovin’-American-asses. According to the research done by the King Corn guys, over the past three decades our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has increased 1,000%! Also during this time, our consumption of table sugar has fallen, but consumption of sweeteners has gone up 30%. That increase is due to the widespread usage of high-fructose corn syrup as a replacement sweetener for sugar. Sugar is more expensive for us to get here in the U.S., so high-fructose corn syrup is a cheaper and easier alternative. We grow all the corn ourselves in the U.S., therefore we never need to rely on anyone else to give us the sweetener we need. It all comes from the corn.

So in the end, I came to an understanding about how much sweetener I put in my body. I’m not going to stop eating anything with corn syrup as an ingredient, but I sure am going to think about it more. And I want to encourage others to do the same. Stop and think about how much sweetener is going into your body. Diabetes is everywhere in my family, and it just scares me to think about how much glucose is running through my body and the unhealthy foods that put it there. We are all aware of the high rates of obesity in this country too. So, for this guerilla media spectacular, I wanted to make others aware of how much high-fructose corn syrup is in the food we eat.

In an attempt to shed some light on corn syrup, I thought I should try to intervene the purchasing of products with high levels of high-fructose corn syrup. So I decided to go where people buy food. With a package of bright colored labels, I set out to the grocery store down the street from my house with facts from King Corn about our consumption of corn syrup.

Labels= $7. I wrote on the labels the facts from King Corn about the increasing percentages of corn syrup in our diets, and just the basic fact that it is the base ingredient for many foods consumed every day. At the end of each fact, I wrote, “How much high-fructose corn syrup is in your shopping cart?”

Bright labels, stuck to shopping cart handles. You can’t miss it! While keeping a look out for "the man," it took me less than 5 minutes to stick a bunch of labels to shopping carts sitting around in the parking lot.
I hope this adventure of mine sparks an interest in the rest of you readers to go check out your own fridges and cabinets. I'm also thinking of going corn-syrup-free sometime this weekend. I will update everyone on how that goes. For more info on King Corn, go here. The documentary will be airing on PBS April 15th at 10 p.m. Check it out, and let me know if you want to go corn-syrup-free also! We can share our results!