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Trust Issues Part 1

I know, I know. That’s a title with a lot of dirty looks implied in it, isn’t it? Well, sure, there may be a glance out of the side of my eye here or there but this blog is in two parts so that we will all have a week to think about the trust issues we’re talking about and then have a rational discussion. That way, hopefully we won’t be passing judgments unfairly.

And the trust issues in question? I’m wondering if we’re being lied to by our FDA and our government about the safety and healthiness of the foods we eat, especially those labeled as healthy. Read on for why I’m concerned.

In an effort to get away from sugar and artificial sweeteners I started using agave about a year ago. I liked the taste and I liked that it burned four times more slowly than sugar in your system so it wouldn’t give you a sugar rush and crash. Plus, agave was a natural plant extract so it was healthy and natural, not some crap made in a lab that might make me grow a suspicious third nipple at some point (I guess really any additional nipples are, by default, suspect).

Then, about a week ago, I was at work and my friend Tenille told me that she’d heard on NPR that agave wasn’t as natural as you think and it’s not really good for you. I immediately donned my Captain Skeptical hat (which I keep on hand at all times so that I can easily debunk BS) and gave her a big case of Doubt. She sent me a link to the NPR podcast and another link to this site, which I spent the rest of the day reading in great detail.

The basic story is that agave is manufactured, not freshly harvested from the agave plant. The problem with agave is the same thing that makes high fructose corn syrup bad for us: when we consume them they can’t be broken down by our digestive system and they can’t be used by our bodies for energy. Instead they have to be broken down by our livers, which is unhealthy because you end up storing all those calories as fat instead of burning them as fuel as you would do with sugar. So all those commercials currently playing where someone says they don’t want to eat or drink something because it contains high fructose corn syrup and their friend says, “Yeah? So? What’s wrong with it?” and the person can’t think of what the exact big deal about the stuff is, are really misleading because there is something very wrong with high fructose corn syrup and agave. It upsets me because people are being hornswaggled into thinking that it’s okay that nearly every product on supermarket shelves is front loaded with this stuff. Baby formula? High fructose corn syrup is usually the number one ingredient. And the FDA says it’s okay. We’re starting ourselves off on a life of obesity and health problems and we don’t get the connection between being the fattest nation in the world and having all of our food full of high fructose corn syrup.

Ingredients in Similac baby formula. Is there any real food in here?

So here’s the reason why this blog is going to be a 2-parter: As you can see in the last paragraph, I got a little passionate on the subject of being sold what looks like a bill of goods while the people who are supposed to look out for our well being look the other way. That’s where the trust issues come in.

I spent a couple days going from website to website and studying the details of what looks like a huge case of putting commerce before humanity and getting more and more upset. It seems the American way is not to make a better world for the people but to make a buck off the health and well being of the people. So I’m feeling like I can’t trust the food being sold to me as healthy and, more frightening, I can’t trust the people who tell me they have my best interest at heart.

It's a fun chart showing the correlation between High Fructose Corn Syrup and Type II Diabetes. It comes from this site: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/edelman/2009/05/chart-obesity-high-fructose-corn-syrup.php

Below are the links to some of the sites I visited last week. If you are interested and if you have time take a look at them and let me know what you think. Next week we will discuss whether or not we should be getting our undies in a bunch about the situation or if it’s much ado about not much.

I’ve cut certain foods out of my diet as a result of my reading. I got rid of all the soymilk and agave in my house. I had been drinking soymilk as a healthier alternative to milk. Now I’m disgusted that what seems to be the waste product of a fuel prototype is being marketed to me as a healthy beverage. Am I overreacting? Read below and let me know what you think.

I’d long since given up products containing high fructose corn syrup because while I didn’t know exactly why it was bad and what it’d do to you I knew that when you change the molecular structure of foods they become harmful. It’s been tough for me to find products without HFCS in them – it’s usually one of the top 5 ingredients. How are we not being made aware of these things? Did you know that the nutritional pyramid was designed by the meat and dairy people? They are the USDA. The more I look the more it frightens me that we’re killing each other for a buck. Or am I just paranoid?

Here’s where I get these notions:

Food Renegade

The Dangers of Soy

The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Natural News

The Doctor Within

The Double Danger of HFCS

Myths and Truths

Vaccines and Autism

There are more sites but this is enough for a start. Many of these sites have articles on several topics so click around and digest as much as you can. Some of these sites are selling products of their own so take that into account. I recommend taking everything with a healthy grain of salt because this is, after all, about trust issues. Send me your own sites on the subject as well. I’m always looking for more stuff to scare me and keep me up at night, because it’s far better to educate ourselves than to wallow in despair and wonder why we’re so unhealthy all the time.

Till next week, sweet dreams.

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One comment on “Trust Issues Part 1

  1. Zena, I understand your point but it’s incredibly irresponsible to post that autism-mmr vaccine link. That link, originally published by the Lancet (a respected medical journal) in 1998, has since been retracted (2 months ago). Massive amounts of research has shown no link. Further, Measles is one of the top 6 killers in the world; if there is a … See moretiny risk of autism, is that worth it? Jenny McCarthy goes on Oprah then hundreds (thousands) of kids suffer down the track as their parents decide not to vaccinate their kids. There is a loss of herd immunity in the community, and kids can (and do) die. If you’re not vaccinated against Rubella, get pregnant and then contract rubella (which is surprisingly common) there is a high probability your child will develop a major heart defect in utero and have to undergo multiple heart operations once born.
    The problem with the internet is that with regards to subjects like these, there is massive amounts of information that is obviously biased. You need to look at journal articles, which can be flawed, but at least undergo substantially more rigorous review before being released to the public. The best thing to look at is a meta-analysis, where they analyzed the results of multiple studies at the same time.

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