With the rise of obesity, cancer, heart disease, liver failure, tooth decay and more, consumers are beginning to question food product ingredients and how these ingredients affect their health. (Yes!)
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is one particular product that has been in the spot light — which is a good thing. Consumers are starting to harass companies to take ingredients like those out and it is working. The power of the consumer is really amazing! Kudos to everyone who complains because you know their main goal is to keep making money… and in order to keep making money, they need to keep their customers happy.
Companies are starting to remove HFCS from their products and displaying their heroic efforts on television ads and product labels (wait, I thought adding words to a label brought up the cost??.. hmmm). I think it is a positive step in the right direction but my question to you all is, what are they replacing high fructose corn syrup with?
In many cases my friends, you will see the word sugar.
What a sweet, little innocent word. In a perfect world, this sugar would simply mean sugar — the kind that comes from you know, sugar cane.
However, in reality, this simple, innocent looking word is an imposter for something probably equally as terrible as high fructose corn syrup: genetically modified sugar beets.
Before genetically modified sugar beets, sugar cane dominated the food supply.
In 2008 the United States began cultivating GM sugar beets, half of the total crops were the GE seeds. By 2009 the industry projected 90% of sugar beets to be the RoundUp Ready kind. Since commercial production was in full swing, GM sugar beets now provide almost 45% of the world’s sugar supply! That is a lot of FrankenSugar.
Like their cousin GMO’s, genetically engineered sugar beets have been designed to be tolerant to drought, resistant to bugs, and to be resistant to Monsanto’s top selling herbicide, RoundUp (calling the seeds “RoundUp Ready”). RoundUp’s main ingredient is glyphosate; an controversial ingredient because of the numerous studies linking it to various health problems, like breast cancer.
Fields of genetically engineered sugar beets significantly decrease the amount of bees and butterflies in the fields. If Monsanto gets their way by controlling the seed supply, GE sugar beets may be the only seeds farmers can get. Mass hectares of these fields could be detrimental to the health of our already declining population of bees and butterflies.
So Do Not Be Fooled!
Next time you pick up a product that may claim it is free of any high fructose corn syrup, you should make it a habit to read the list of ingredients. What you want to see is evaporated cane sugar not simply the word sugar.
If you want a higher quality sugar with more intact minerals, go with something like rapadura, sucanat, or coconut sugar. OR you can choose to replace granulated sugar with a high quality local, raw honey and a real, maple syrup.