Corn Sugar and Moms

My kids know that we don’t eat foods that have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. My kids know that they are only allowed to eat food with ingredients they can pronounce. Hydro-Metho-Dextro-Ethate foods are not something I’d give my children, or even my dog.

If the corn refiners have their way we’ll have to tell the kids that Corn Sugar is an invented item by the corn refiners. I will have to explain to my children that Corn Sugar means that Corn has been processed in ways that only scientists understand and that those scientists are trying to make that chemical look like food by calling it Corn Sugar.

That is what I’ll do.

We are fat. We are a nation of fatties who subsidize cheap food so that we can stay fat. We, as a species, have survived becuase we store fat so efficiently. We eat when we’re not hungry so that we can survive famine. It doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us adaptable.

Now we need to use our brains so that we can override our basic need to store fat for the famine that isn’t coming. Real food has roots or a mother. A tomato on your plate looks just like it did on the vine, the same goes for grapes, corn, apples, lettuce, beans and legumes. Meat should be fresh, it should be organic, and if you’re really lucky it will come from a trusted rancher.

The Corn Refiners are launching a huge campaign to rename High Fructose Corn Syrup. Moms are smack dab in the middle. Ladies, we do the bulk of the grocery shopping. Take your children with you to the market so that they understand what food should be. Better yet, take them to a farmer’s market where corn comes on an ear, and strawberries are only sold in the summer time.

They will woo you. Mom Central will promote the hell out of them, but I’m asking the Moms to collectively say “no thank you” to processed foods. Your children will thank you, your health insurance will thank you, your waistline will thank you.

Corn Sugar
Click to enlarge

The folks over at MomStart.com are who prompted this post. I understand that they had a really flattering phone call with the Corn Refiners, but I want y’all to see who is paying for mom blogs. The content is full of misinformation about sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (they’re trying to sell you fruit swimming in it), and on the sidebar you’ll see Healthy Choice (I’d beg to differ), as well as Sugar to prevent Childhood Hunger. You cannot fight Childhood hunger with dessert, it simply doesn’t work that way.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a lovely blogger. There is no part of me that believes she is anything but a woman who wants to do right by her kids. I also think she represents the middle of the road with blogging. This appears to be a successful blog, with a large audience, and the monetization that we all see (I’m sure there’s stuff I’m missing) on the front page is processed food and dessert.

I love mom bloggers. I love my kids, and I love real food.

How many of you will be able to say no to food processors, both online and at the grocery store?

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  • Hi. I appreciate your food choices for your family. SOunds like you are doing an awesome job.

    Me personally, I don’t believe corn sugar is making us fat. I belive that people who don’t believe in limiting how much they eat is what’s making us fat. No one is making me eat corn sugar – that’s my decision.

    I let my kids eat HFCS. I limit it, since I’m the boss. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve taught them about making smart food choices. Most importantly, I’ve taught them about moderation. A little HFCS is okay, but too much is bad.

    So far, they’re doing pretty good. I’m proud of them.

    Great article. Great things to think about!

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you. I don’t believe a little HFCS is okay.

      According to researchers at Princeton it’s really not okay

      http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/

      That’s only in the last few months. There are reams of data suggesting that HFCS leads to obesity, hunger, and a rise in triglycerides (fat in your blood).

  • Truth be told, I don’t know the first thing about HFCS. Do my kids eat it? Probably. Are they fat? No.

    It’s called balance .. a little junk food, a lot of home cooked healthy meals … all in moderation.

  • Agreed, all food in moderation, but HFCS is a science experiment, it’s simply not food.

  • We don’t eat HFCS, anymore, as part our household real-food initiative. Really it had less to do with improving our diet than it did with improving our negative impact on the environment. The amount of garbage our six-child (mine plus four extras) two-adult household produced was just ridiculous. Eliminating single-serve packaged food, and limiting our “junk food” to home-made goodies or multi-serving bags with recognizable (non-synthetic, non-manufactured, non-processed) ingredients has worked out really well for us.

  • If you are so ANTI processed foods then why would you admittedly take you whole family to McDonald’s? I know I have read about it before in your tweets or on your blog one, I don’t remember which it was. That’s about as PROCESSED as you can get.
    I agree with the first comment that HFCS doesn’t make us fat. Over-eating and high fat consumption makes us fat.
    I limit what sugar and HFCS my kids eat but we don’t ban either one of them.

    • You’re mistaken. My kids and I don’t eat McDonalds.

      I did tweet about driving through recently for a glass of water on a 115 degree day. I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re thinking of.

  • I have to agree with your position on HFCS. I also think it’s important to spread the word about the unhealthy, and frankly dangerous, foods that are being marketed to our kids. Some parents simply do NOT know.  My greatest wish with this issue is that there were more information available to the “everyday” mom, and that healthy, whole, organic foods were more accessable and most importantly affordable for everyone!! Some families believe they simply can’t afford to feed their kids that way!

    As a mom and a blogger, I would never put an ad for a product (if I sold ad space) on my blog that I did not 100% support. I have to believe the same goes for these moms. They are advertising it because they are okay with it. Whether or not it is due to misinformation or concious choice, I do not know.

    And I am LOLing at the thought of YOU taking the kids for a nice lunch at Mickey D’s!! 

  • I should add, so as not to be hypocritical, that until a short time ago, I was guilty of these same infarctions. Knowledge is a good thing. It’s okay to admit you were misinformed!

  • Good grief I’m going to be here all night. I was guilty of those infractions- not infarctions. LOL I have had no infarctions that I am aware of. Ugh. Must be all the HFCS I was fed growing up!

  • Pam

    We’ve said no to it for almost a year now thanks to a viewing of Food, Inc and a helluva lot of research. My 9yr old has been educated on “real” food and is actively making good choices of her own accord.

    It saddens me to see so many mom-food bloggers line up with these brands that produce nothing but dangerous substitutes for food. I’m sure they are lovely people, and well meaning as you said, but I can’t support their sites. A few are just now realizing the dangers in recipes they promote and are slowly making some different decisions, but not nearly enough of them.

    BlogHer 2010 discouraged me completely in this area, truth be told. I’d hope next year there will be a MUCH larger contingent of organic brands represented.

    Isn’t it odd how everyone jumps on a breast cancer bandwagon and turns their site pink for a month, but hardly anyone is focused on a larger, more pervasive issue – one that is linked to deadly outcomes? Oh, right — there’s no money on that side of the fence. I forgot.

    • smiles

      I coulnd’t agree more on the breast cancer bandwagon. The fact the Komen Foundation partnered with KFC made me lose MUCH respect for them. If people want to know what they can do to avoid cancer, they should read The China Study or any of Dr. Fuhrman’s eye opening books.

  • Would this be part of what inspired your AdLessness?

    We don’t buy grocery products with HFCS or similar junk in it because we don’t buy processed foods (okay, scratch that, *I* don’t buy processed foods, my husband is in total agreement but lacks my zealotry)

    Unfortunately “corn sugar” is just the tip of the iceberg and even that bit won’t be chipped away because we, as a society, would rather say “it hasn’t harmed me; I didn’t make a bad choice” than admit that we may have been mistaken in our support, whether explicit or implicit of a harmful substance.

    Cancer doesn’t kill everyone who gets it. But we all agree it’s bad. HFCS may not make everyone who has ever eaten it obese, but it’s time we agreed it’s bad.

  • I have read some of the studies on HFCS and I do believe that it is harmful not only to our bodies, but also to our food system. That said, I also know that it is hard to avoid sometimes and I wouldn’t get up in arms over someone not feeling like they could completely remove it from their diet. I would be happy if people were making steps towards decreasing and maybe eventually eliminating it from their diets. So while I think it is harmful, I am not going to get into a debate about whether its use, in moderation, will irreparably damage your health or not.

    That said, I do think it is out of line for mom bloggers to be lining up to help an industry spread its lies about how HFCS is no worse than any sugar in return for a few gift cards. Anyone who did a little bit of research beyond what was spoon fed to them by the experts hand-picked by the industry would realize at best that the industry is lying to them and at worst that this is a contentious issue and they should perhaps not be signing up to be a cheerleader for the industry.

  • I just found this on the wikipedia page on high-fructose corn syrup and thought it was interesting on the “in moderation” topic:

    “Since HFCS is present in a staggering amount of food in the US, and in most foods marketed to children, there are doubts as to whether it can be consumed in moderation.

    …unless you’re making a concerted effort to avoid it, it’s pretty difficult to consume high-fructose corn syrup in moderation[66]
    —Time Magazine”

    • smiles

      Exactly!!!! It is in so many products, there is no way to consume in moderation. The health food store stop carrying ANY food that contains HFCS, so I love the fact that I can shop there knowing that not ONE product contains HFCS. Amazing how there is less in stock, but what is there is better quality.

  • I was recently offered a chance to sit in on a conference call about kids’ nutrition with some semi-famous nutritionist. I was told that I would also learn about high fructose corn syrup. I couldn’t make the call- it seems I never can these days- but I was wondering what Big Corn was trying to sell. My guess is that this “nutritionist” was going to tell me all about corn sugar and how natural it is.

    It’s not even just the health aspect that gets me. It’s the monocrops, the pesticides, the lack of support for local, heirloom, organic farmers. How much cheaper would more nutritious fruits and veggies be if we dedicated and subsidized a third of the acreage we now use to grow corn? It’s big ag. HFCS, or corn sugar, however you want to frame it, is bad news all around.

  • Interesting and important topic and good comments too. I have no doubt that HFCS is bad, but I’ll also point out that sugar in general isn’t too good for us, either. I don’t have the statistic on hand right now, but as a society we are eating LOADS AND LOADS more sugar than in the past. Our bodies are wired to want sugar, salt and fat — which in nature do not occur very often. Yet, our culture (largely through subsidized agriculture) has created foods that are abundant in those three ingredients. This has made “bad” calories incredibly cheap, which is why NOW it’s more likely that a poor person is fat than a wealthy one, when historically, it was EXACTLY the opposite. (Food Inc is a good documentary to watch…)

    100 years ago, it was the person who was struggling for money that was skinny; today it’s the person who can pay for Whole Foods, for gym memberships, for high end exercise clothes and nutritional consultations that is thin. If you want data on obesity and income, I can give that — the point is that all of us should be as aware of how much sugar in general we’re eating (and how that is messing with our metabolisms, our cravings, our pancreas….) and we should try very hard to cut way back. (I’m the first to admit I LOVE sugary crap!)

    • Pamela Hare

      AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!

  • I immigrated to the USA in first grade (from a communist country that had limited foods) and went through one entire year eating Doritos in the US, because OMG they were awesome and unlike anything I’ve ever had.

    I do not fancy processed foods for my family, try to only shop fresh; but I also believe in moderation – a chicken nugget will not make your kid fat neither will the occasional processed foods. I really dislike the whole online movement “EAT ORGANIC OR YOUR KID WILL BE FAT” because it’s not true and it makes the average mother feel horrible.

    I am a stressed out mother of three, driving to and from activity to activity throughout the week and I sure as heck will pull up to a Chick A Filet to get some nuggets, to buy me some time before the next meal. My kids, I hope, have heard me talk about moderation and healthy eating and I think it’s totally 100% okay. Because I still fancy Doritos while maintaining my size 4 trousers.

    • There’s some validity in that. My kids have treats periodically, but inviting things into your home is problematic.

      I recognize that in real life people need to take shortcuts. Food matters to me, probably more than most. I see that. What I don’t want to see is mothers being duped by Corn Refiners into being their marketeers without really understanding that they’re doing harm.

      Everyone should be concerned about the rebranding.

  • smiles

    Thank you so much for this blog entry!!!!! HFCS is the culprit to the number of obese children/adults we have in America today. It can be addicting and the sooner kids are hooked, the quicker they may become obese. We need to be eating REAL food. As you said, food that has roots. You can not go out in the garden and find a prepackaged box of rice growing. If you can not pronounce the contents that are in your food, DON’T EAT IT. Woud you eat your science experiment. Eating should be very simple, today, there are too many choices and too many things that come in packages for our convenience, but really, in the end, whose convenience is it for? It all comes for a cost, eventually. It may be cheap now, but in the end, you will most likely end of paying for it. I applaud your efforts in the attention given to this crucial topic.

  • This is the reason we joined a CSA and get a box of fresh organic produce delivered to our door every Monday morning. I want my son to see (and eat!) real, whole food and understand that food comes from the earth, not from the supermarket.

  • When I got pregnant with my daughter, a pregnancy that was never supposed to happen, I decided that I was going to eat healthy. And we were going to feed her healthy foods. I am still doing that, however, it is very hard to eat organic on a limited budget. If the organic foods were less expensive, I guarantee you that many more people would choose them over the cheaper and mass produced foods.

    Renaming HFCS to something as innocuous as Corn Sugar is appalling. Do they think we are stupid? I rinse everything. I even pour the syrup out of the fruit cups and rinse with water before I will let my daughter have one. And I try my best not to buy anything that has that ingredient. I do not allow my daughter to have soda, I severely limit all candies and sweets and push fresh fruits and vegetables instead. She’s good with that.

    A couple of months ago, we went to a baby shower for a friend. Someone asked Ro if she wanted a soda. Her response? “I’m not allowed to have soda. Mommy says it’s bad for you. You shouldn’t drink it either.” She’s five. I did my job.

    I will never promote this Corn Sugar crap. EVER.

  • I don’t like the idea of this kind of business being in the mom blogging community period. Moms bloggers being paid to talk about corn syrup. I addressed that in my blog post the other day. Jessica you’re right. It’s a scientific experiment. Period.

    I want my kids to know where their food comes from and I reflect that within my blog. I’m not saying boxed quick meals are the devil but our kids shouldn’t think that food comes from boxes and packages either.

  • Sometimes money brings the privilege of being able to have a social conscience in action and in words. I respect those who work hard to take care of their families and feed them the very best.

    But it really is financially challenging for many families to do this on the level that some want. It is not solely a matter of education.

    • Jack, that’s ridiculous. Money doesn’t entitle me to not promote the corn refiners agenda. Money doesn’t make me capable of blogging for things other than frankenfood.

      I recognize that it’s easier for me to shop at Whole Foods than it would be for someone living check to check, but I absolutely will NOT concede that you have to eat crap just because you’re struggling.

      When my daughter was born we lived in Van Nuys, my husband made $11 an hour, and I didn’t own a microwave, because I didn’t want to distort my food. It was possible, it still is. We were happy and I never felt poor or deprived.

      Food is very basic, and if your food bill too too high, I’d ask you to take a look at a serving of meat. It’s supposed to be 5 ounces. When’s the last time someone served a 5 ounce steak?

      And since when do we not do things just because they’re challenging?

      • Jessica,

        Jack does have a valid point. I live in the not so nice area of the Inland Empire. Grocery stores (all stores, actually) close to my house have higher prices than the same store in a more affluent area. Why? Because of shrinkage. In order to combat the loss the store gets from theft, they raise the prices. So in essence, they keep the people who are already living paycheck to paycheck or on food stamps in that vicious cycle because of the higher prices and higher food bills. Not everyone has a car and can go to the store with the better prices.

        Organic foods are even more expensive in those stores. You asked us to look at our servings of meat…We do eat meat and we buy the largest piece we can afford. We then cut it into smaller serving sizes and cook it that way. Left-overs are a wonderful thing.

        On my limited budget (we have one income & one car), I do try to to buy the healthiest food I can afford. However, I cannot buy everything fresh & organic because of the expense. Organic eating really is more accessible for the affluent.

      • I serving of meat is actually 3 oz not 5 oz. Which is said to be the size of a deck of cards.

        When you look at the health costs associated with eating processed foods, the cost of eating nutritionally void food isn’t worth it. The other thing to note – is we have the cheapest cost of food in the world. Partly because we so heavily subsidize corn.

        You can eat organic and veggies cheaper than processed and non organic foods. Here’s how I do.

        1. I buy directly from local organic farmers. I do weekly pickups at a farm near my house (and I live in Naples, FL not in the middle of nowhere – and did the same thing in Ft lauderdale). My organic farmer charges $2 for everything. $2 gets you a huge amount of lettuce, basil, Swiss chard, green beans. I also shop at the farmer’s market

        2. I grow my own food. You can grow food even without a yard. Check out the urban gardener. He grew organic food on a tiny NYC fire escape http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/

        3. I try to buy only IN SEASON. Strawberries in season are cheap. Out of season they are ridiculously expensive. When in season I freeze.

        4. I make my own granola for cereal – it is cheaper and I control the ingredients. If we are going to have cookies (which is very rare) I make them the really old fashioned way 100% from scratch. NO fillers, corn syrup, hidden stuff,

        5. We don’t go through the drive-through. OK, I admit Starbucks drive-through every once in a while. Where we get smoothies for the little one (no corn syrup there), a cup of water, protein plate (fruit, cheese, boiled egg). I have gone through McDonald’s in the middle of the night while traveling. I get apple slices and coffee.

        If you are poor it is cheaper to eat non-processed food you just have to be willing to cook. I can make you mac and cheese with broccoli for cheaper than the boxed stuff. I can make you a nice veggie stir fry full of healthy food. If you want to see that healthy is possible on a budget find a way to see Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution that will open your eyes to what we are doing to our children with processed crap and lack of food education.

      • I didn’t say that it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done. I said that money helps make it easier to do some of these things. Education and belief that you are doing the right thing make it easier too.

        And since when do we not do things just because they’re challenging? That is easy to say. You don’t shirk from challenges. I don’t shy away from them, but not everyone is like that.

        One of the hardest things for people to do in life is be happy with what they have and who they are. Sometimes people choose not to take the path of least resistance because it makes them happy, but that is a separate post that is sort of tangentially related to this.

    • Jack, I must tell you, I grew up pretty near to poor and we never ate processed foods growing up. My mom still, to this day, makes her menu of NOT ORGANIC, but ALL NATURAL foods on a budget of $30. Beans, they take you a looooong way.

      • Traci,

        I think that is great. Again, I am not saying that people shouldn’t try to do things that improve their lives. Health is significant. In the last 18 months four people I know died, all between 40-41. Two mothers, a father and a single man. Cervical cancer, an aneurysm and I am blanking on the other illness.

        They weren’t killed by drunks or plane crashes. Don’t know why they got hit by these diseases. The point is that I am very aware of how tenuous our grip on life can be.

        And I applaud those who take action to help their families and themselves. But it doesn’t hurt to have money, education and time to make these changes.

  • I actually think Jack has a good point. It *is* more expensive to feed kids better food than to hand them the processed, subsidized crap. (I believe it was Huffington Post that last year had a pyramid-style chart showing how bad calories were less expensive than more nutritional ones; of course, now that I want to post that chart, I cannot find it.) I know that ever since I went “almost vegan” I’m spending more on food than ever before. Unless you exist solely on pasta, rice and veggies (many nights I do, but how boring is that….), people will find that non-dairy milks and cheeses and yogurts, gluten-free items, fake meat-like products, veggie burgers, preservative-free snacks, naturally sweetened stuff, etc. cost MORE than their traditional cousins. An orange costs more than some pre-packaged treats that you get at Costco!

    However, that doesn’t mean that nearly everybody could be doing a *whole lot* better with their choices. Income plays a role; within each family’s limitations, so does choice.

    I think another thing to remember is that, as a culture, we are at least two generations away from the time when somebody was at home all day preparing meals. My grandma did that; my Mom did it part-time (which was more than a lot of other Moms did). I’m struggling with committing myself to cook every day after work rather than resort to things that are already prepared (what a chore that is…)

    We have to re-learn how to cook; we have to learn *which* pre-packaged stuff is OK to use and which is not (fe.g., plain frozen veggies are OK; frozen veggies with “sauces” usually not).

    Many families are feeding their kids horrible foods because of how they define “food” and many families are feeding their kids what they can afford or what they have time to prepare.

    Those of us who have time to type such long answers on the internet? Probably have a little more disposable income. And time. :)

  • I’ve heard all of this and I’d say that adding the vegan angle is probably where it gets most expensive.

    I don’t buy cheerios because fresh and easy has a store brand cereal that tastes identical but has less sugar. My kids eat eggs in the mornings. Organic eggs are pennies more than the others. Pennies

    At many grocery stores the cost of fresh organic produce is the same as the peroxide stuff.

    Did you know that you don’t really need to spend money on organic broccoli? There aren’t many pests who go for broccoli so you won’t find pesticide on it anyhow.

    I’m not saying that every home should look like mine (though I wish it would), but I’m asking that moms use their considerable influence to do something good.

    Helping the corn refiners is not good.

    They’re kicking the shit out of our kids.

  • Del

    I don’t think people realize that bad food doesn’t give you full energy. And easting bad foods do not provide the energy to want to make a healthy homemade meals. It becomes a cycle and affects only the consumer. If you tired and burnt out, it’s easier to grab a frozen or packaged meal. I used to eat like this, but after a year of investing maybe $150+ more into our family food budget, we now have the extra energy to get so much more done and make food for ourselves, which don’t contain HFCS and fillers.

    People just make excuses about budget, and don’t think that food is energy. Have bad energy, gives bad results….like running leaded gas in a high performance car, doesn’t work good or if at all. Organic produce is not more than regular. And we allow packaged food to get cheaper because we create a higher demand, more produced cheaper costs get.

    If these companies didn’t have their materials (base foods) subsidized and grown on large scales, it would be easier to have smaller farms with better priced foods. But its centralized food production, not small local based business. And walmart gets to sell it all you many of you.

    When we decide to have better foods, market forces should work to drive the food down because demand has increased. You know like when LCD TVs came out, not many used them cause too much. Now they are much more affordable.

    Corn syrup is used in all the worst packaged foods you can buy. It’s a sweetener and a preservative. Its gooeyness maybe is good to provide a filler to resist breakdown, who knows. But don’t expect them to ever tell you otherwise. For now they mission is that HFCS is just as good as something that has been around in a natural form for centuries.

  • Great post Jess.

    Helping the corn refiners is not good. period.

    Yes, shopping at wholefoods and buying organic is expensive, but you can find just as many healthy options at Stop n Shop for way less and can buy non-organic (be sure to wash well.) We are on a tight budget and have to make every penny count too, we still find ways to eat healthy, non processed foods. We joined a local CSA and get a HUGE delivery of fresh organic fruits & veggies for $39/wk which is waaay less than what we were spending at the supermarket. (and there are cheaper options starting at $20/wk for some). The point is there ARE options for families on a budget.

  • Love this conversation.

    As a college student and organic enthusiast I can attest that it is possibly to eat both healthy and cheap.

    A few staples: Peanut Butter, Eggs, Bread, Noodles, Frozen Veggies, Oatmeal, Yogurt, Beans.

    There are so many options. It just takes some planning.

  • I truly don’t understand the logic of, “my kid eats HFCS and is not fat, therefore HFCS is safe”.

    If you tell your, over the age of 5, child, “don’t jump off the roof, you’ll get hurt”, then your kid jumps off the roof and is unscathed and comes to the conclusion, “I jumped off the roof and didn’t get hurt, therefore jumping off the roof is safe”, I think you would seriously work on critical thinking skills with your kid!

  • I decided to do a little experiment while grocery shopping on the weekend. I was at one of the biggest Loblaws stores in Ottawa. Loblaws is a large national grocery chain that carries a wide variety of both mainstream and organic products, including its own store-brand organics line.

    I chose granola bars as a product and looked at every single box in the organic section and in the regular section of the store. I was disappointed to find that every single organic brand contained nuts (which are banned at my kids’ school) and every single non-organic brand contained HFCS. The one exception was the gluten-free cereal bars that I did buy once and they tasted like cardboard.

    My solution is that I make my own. However, I also love convenience and it annoys me to no end that there is no company willing to make a nut free granola/cereal bar that doesn’t contain HFCS? This is just another example of how ridiculously sad our food industry is.

    • Annie, I know this doesn’t help a lot, but there is a granola bar carried by the Costco/Price Club here in Newfoundland that comes in a box of 3 or 4 varieties. One variety has nuts, the others do not. They have brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name and I live about 10 hours drive from Costco – that’s why I say it won’t help.
      Last time we were in St. John’s, I bought a box for the coming school year but between my kids and the random kids they invited for a “picnic” at the playground, the entire box of 40 bars dissapeared inside of a week (pretty sure my husband helped out there too). So obviously, they do not taste like cardboard.
      I can’t remember the name, like I said, and they are not organic (the organic ones had HFCS) but they do have berries in them. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

      • Dara:

        I also found one brand at Costco that was okay. It is Bon Matin Healthy Way. There are two flavours of it.

        With regards to your last sentence, you said that the organic ones had HFCS. That isn’t possible. Organic foods cannot contain HFCS.

        • To clarify, it contained “organic” HFCS. Which doesn’t make it any better, but…

          WRT the cost of eating healthier, it depends on where you live and what your priorities are. I know parents who tell me they can’t afford to eat natural/organic but they can afford satellite TV, nice furniture, new clothes and two cell phones. We can’t afford any of those things, but we can afford organic foods. For us it’s a priority over all else but our mortgage and home insurance. For others it may not be. (and yes, I say that coming from a place where we often can’t afford any groceries, let alone organic)

  • Whenever you tackle something like this, I just feel plain grateful that you exist. I read something very interesting recently: apparently parents whose babies may have a lactose intolerance are too often (and sometimes unnecessarily) switching to soy formula, which is 42% HFCS . . . cow’s milk-based formulas contain milk sugars. Soy formula is the type of formula I used for my son, and I didn’t even read the label. Shame on me.

  • Here’s the thing. I Googled per Mom101’s advice. I saw the top five posts. I saw how they looked just like MomStarts. I have sat in on Webinars about health and nutrition. I have tried to always listen with an open mind but I admit I am like anyone else: a slave to my beliefs and preconceptions and too open to what experts say. At least I am aware of this propensity of mine. I am also aware that the point of any and all of this is to persuade me. After all, that’s my business, too.

    I came to the conclusion that it is easier to directly report as in retell. This explains a lot about current news media, too.

    I came to the conclusion that inclusion is very persuasive and influential on perception and opinion. I’m pretty sure this is what was on the FCC’s mind, too.

    So I read the reports critically.

    I actually lost my suspension of belief/disbelief when it said there is no safer sugar and all sugar metabolizes the same way. This is not my experience or knowledge as a hypoglycemic who parents a hypoglycemic. This is not what my doctor tells me.

    I don’t think any mom means badly by any of this, or the choices she lovingly makes for her child.

    Perhaps they do not have my experience. Each person is different, our chemistry is different.

    I do know, though, that when my daughter or I get “off the wagon” how bad that sugar mess feels.

    I don’t want to harangue moms. But I also don’t want to have this go the way of other science that it is more convenient to keep doing what we’re doing even if it is harmful just because someone has a vested interest in making it all a-okay. And we want to be soothed by that.

    I admit I use a cell phone despite the brain cancer deal. I also drive a car despite Global Warming. But knowing there’s a risk does modify my behavior and cause me to limit and take care.

    We need to do that here, too, with HFCS and diet.

  • Well, I’m part of the choir — whenever my 6 year old sees a McDonald’s, she says, “I’m never going there! The food is full of chemicals!” Hmmm… wonder where that came from.

    I’ve been on the green wagon for over a decade, before it became all cool and stuff. My husband and I are avid label readers and our daughter already gets it with the real v. processed food thing.

    I was horrified to learn about this campaign today. Then again, I’m horrified by advertorial content in general. I really appreciate that your words were balanced — because I do know the blogger behind Mom Start and though I don’t know her well she seems like a very nice person. However, I do think ALL bloggers need to do their homework and not simply sign on to campaigns because there’s a $20 Amazon gift card (or whatever it was…I have no idea) attached to it. Although really, the issue also goes up several levels — Mom Central should not be pushing these kinds of campaigns and the corn refiners assoc…. well, I don’t have enough words to express how I feel about them.

    -Christine

  • Fully agreed. I try not to buy any processed foods if I can avoid them, meaning if my week isn’t too busy and I have time to bake a few snacks. Otherwise my kids eat fruit and veggies for snacks. Once in awhile they get granola bars but even the “healthy” ones they will complain are too sweet. I’m grateful that with the knowledge I have I know how to avoid HFCS and other biochemical additives and preservatives, but like Annie says above, some parents appreciate convenience and it would be nice if we could trust/depend on our food companies to make healthy foods for us. I wrote a post recently on discovering what “nutritionism” is. It’s the way we’ve been looking at food for a long time without really knowing it. I explain the word and apply its use to infant formula. Here it is if you would like to take a look: http://www.breastfeedingmomsunite.com/2010/09/understanding-nutritionism-and-the-problem-with-infant-formula/

  • Del

    Thanks to Jessica for bring this to peoples attention. My wife called them out on this, and the Corn Refiners Association responded. Here is her post on it: http://www.ourordinarylife.com/2010/10/mom-bloggers-promote-corn-syrup/

  • It is a huge indicator of how effective we’ve been at informing people about the dangers of HFCS! That is a victory, but sadly this attempt at “rebranding” is scary – and I think they have enough money behind them that they will succeed.
    Soon it is likely the FDA will approve engineered unlabeled salmon, and we’re washing about 80% of our beef with ammonia to kill e-coli. Now I’m no fan of e-coli, but certainly there is a better solution!
    We have many battles to face on the food horizon glad to have you in fight!

  • You know I think the system is kind of twisted. It’s more expensive to feed a family healthy whole foods. Why is that?

    If the government is so keen on lowering childhood obesity, diabetes and diseases associated with obesity, why don’t we start with making whole food for cost efficient so families wouldn’t have to resort to purchasing items like HFCS?

    Am I wrong here?

    We as moms are doing the best we can with the information we receive. Not everyone is getting the message. So I want to thank all the bloggers who have been talking about for those of us who aren’t as informed on the issue.

    As for me? We’ve been changing our food way around the house for the past couple of months. It’s been hard and the fights were insane but we are doing the best we can. Can I make my own snacks? No. But the next time I go grocery shopping I’ll look more closely to what the ingredients are before I purchase them.

    I would love to go organic but in the area I live in the best I can do is whole foods.
    Thanks for the information and discussion Jessica!

  • I love this article! Aoiding HFCS is hard, it is in everything-check your labels. So, it makes the shopping last a little longer, but I think its worth it to keep it out of my body. For an interesting documentary on this check out King Corn.

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  • One more comment and then it is back to the salt mines. One of the fundamental problems with these discussions is that some parents end up feeling like they are being told that they are bad parents.

    It doesn’t foster a dialogue, it just makes people defensive.

    But we can create an environment where people can feel safe about having a conversation. My kids have eaten McDonalds more than once and probably will again.

    It is not a staple of their diet and I am not bothered by what people think so I am happy to put it out there. But not everyone is, so if you want to affect change you have to work within certain constraints.

    The companies that makes these products are always going to come up with marketing spin. Phillip Morris is always going to tell you about all the good things they do and ignore how tobacco hurts people.

    So we are not going to stop them from pushing out their messaging. Instead we can respond with providing resources for parents that provide them with alternatives.

    Anyway, I used up enough of your bandwidth with this.

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  • Thank you. Thank for for being educated about HFCS. And thank you for standing up for what you believe in.

    I see so many people who are uneducated and believe it just might be okay to eat. But frankly, this is something that has done so much damage to the American public that it borders on negligence. And I truly appreciate you standing up for the truth.

  • Thank you for bringing this to light, it’s crazy what sometimes we’ll do as Mom Bloggers just for promotion, for content, for an, er, gift certificate. And I’m not saying I’m clear and free in the mom blog world at all and that sometimes I don’t stand against companies I think are doing the wrong thing. But I’m so glad that once and for all companies are finding out that not every mom blogger can be bought into touting their product.

    Here’s to real reviews, no more cut and paste press releases. Let’s let blogging be real and true and honest.

    Thanks again!

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  • “Real food has roots or a mother.” I love this.

    And AMEN to everything you said above. Thank you for posting such a sensible and well articulated post on this issue.

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  • Doodle741

    Thank you!  I wish I had more knowledge – I try hard not to buy processed stuff – or things with ingredients we can’t pronounce – but sometimes …. it’s just easier. :(  Now I need to look into this “corn sugar” business a little more.  Thanks for the post!

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