Thursday, August 5, 2010

HFCS - The Sweet Facts Are: We Aren't Confused - YOU ARE.

I’m confused about lots of things in life. I don’t get why people watch the Kardashians or the Jersey Shore and am “confused” as to what the attraction is to shows like that?

The concept of North, South, East, & West confuses me - and if truth be told it confuses various family members as well. In my diabetesalicious my mind, Canada is UP and Florida is down.

I understand the whole “clean up after yourself,” concept, and have understood it since nursery school. Simply put; if you make a mess, clean it up. I’m “confused” as to why BP Oil has such a tough time grasping said concept.

One thing that does not “confuse” me is High Fructose Corn Syrups negative effect on my blood sugar. I’ve done the “Diabetes Math” folks. I’ve counted the carbs, tested my blood sugar, and did the correct bolus for a snack size bag of corn chips/cookies, and was incredibly confused as my blood sugar skyrocketed to the moon.

I’ve called my CDE damn in tears, frustrated with the results of carbo counting for HFCS laden foods and was told quite bluntly: If HFCS is in the first five ingredients of a product, don’t eat it- it will wreck havoc with your blood sugars!

That was 10 years ago, and since then I’ve steered clear of the dietary demon that is HFCS.

I’ve read books, talked with numerous health care professionals, and watched documentaries on the HFCS, - it's not a pretty picture. I’ve written numerous blog posts about HFCS and tweeted facts. Seriously folks, there’s nothing “sweet” about what HFCS does to your body.

I w as mega confused when I start receiving out of the blue tweets from @Sweetfacts (a PR firm for the Corn Refiners Association) telling me that “I’m confused about HFCS” and that’s “it’s perfectly fine if consumed in moderation.” @sweetfacts also sent me lots of links to posts saying HFCS has nothing to does with the rise of type 2 diabetes in this country. YES – I laughed so hard I could barely catch my breath.

I tweeted back the correlation between HFCS being added to soft drinks in 1980, which happened to be the year children started being diagnosed with type 2. No answer on that one.

@sweetfacts @sstrumello FYI - US rates of type 2 diabetes at a crazy rate since 1980, when soda co's started substituting sugar with HFCS

I decided to tweet @Sweetfacts a rather simple question that would ease my mind regarding HFCS. I even used @Sweetfacts very own words. I asked: How does one consume HFCS in moderation when it’s in almost every processed food under the sun?

I asked this question multiple times and in multiple ways and tweeted a few other HFCS facts as we:

@sweetfacts I am confused though, because I have absolutely no idea how one consumes #HFCS in moderation - do tell!

@sweetfacts So tell please tell me because I'd love 2know how you do it. How does 1 consume #HFCS in "moderation,"since it's in everything

@sweetfacts SERIOUSLY? There's no confusion here-HFCS is NOT "a health food" in anyway,shape, or form. it's a genetically modified sweetener

@Sweetfacts FYI,I absolutely support farmers&buy fresh corn@ a wkly farmers mkt. The edible kind,not the yellow dent #7-spawner of HFCS kind

@sweetfacts Here's a question for you. Since #HFCS is in virtually EVERYTHING, how can it be consumed in moderation?

Of course I didn’t receive an answer – and there’s a good chance I won’t.

I also became royally confused when @KSGrains – another tweeter paid to tweet poetic about HFCS tweeted me this:

: @ksgrains @diabetesalic Saying #hfcs is in everything is totally misguided. Best way to eat healthy:

Yes, girlfriend sent me a link to the food pyramid - PLEASE!

So I tweeted:

@ksgrains Don’t tell me the "best way 2eat healthy,” I’ve been a type1diabetic since I ws 8& have been working w/nutritionists &CDES for years

@ksgrains Both personally&professionally. The nutritionists & Certified Diabetes Educators I work w/tell their patients to stay clear of #HFCS

@diabetesalic Exaggerate much? lol I think you need a good laugh -- What would Julia say about sweeteners?

My response:

@ksgrains NO,I tell it like it is. Julia Child ws a proponent of real food& ingredients& I’m sure she thought #HFCS ws BS.

Ironically, the producers of with the Julia Child wanna-be video and the site it airs on are rumored to be funded by those who make money from #HFCS.

I could cut and paste more tweets, but I’d rather just tell you how I feel.

I found the whole exchange and condescending attitude of both @ksgrains & @Sweetfacts to be really offensive.

I find it offensive that people who are paid by the corn conglomerate tell me and others like myself that we are confused about #HFCS.

As a person with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years, I don’t have the luxury of being “confused” when it comes to what I put in my body. My world revolves around all types of numbers.

Blood sugar numbers; carbs,fiber, fat grams and caloric intake. Not to mention A1C, blood pressure rates, kidney function rates, and cholesterol. I could go on, but you all know the diabetes drill.

I (like millions of others) MUST calculate the numbers for every piece of food I put in my body. I, like my diabetes cohorts, MUST test my blood sugar, and figure out (with the help of my bolus wizard the precise amount of insulin needed to cover every piece of food that goes into my body.

I have no choice but to test my blood sugar at least ten times a day if I want to live a great life with diabetes.

I’ve experienced first hand what a processed food product loaded with HFCS does to my body, verses it’s raw sugar counterpart. I have the numbers to back it up – DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME I’M CONFUSED.

Don’t send me to sites with “quirky” videos produced by the people who pay you to talk nice about them,

I’m offended & disgusted that @sweetfacts and @ksgrains have so little faith in my intelligence as both a consumer and as a person with diabetes.

Please guys, tell me how you feel about #HFCS – and tell them to!

And don’t even get me started on the Chiropractor on twitter who suggests pooping 3 times a day to help control your diabetes – he’s full of shit!

But I digress, and will leave that subject for another post!


Jacquie said...

"Yes, girlfriend sent me a link to the food pyramid"


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kelly, for posting this one and being so on top of it. Though, I'm sorry that this kind of stupidity exists. I have no opinion on what research says or doesn't say about HFCS, but like you: I know to just avoid it as much as possible. Whether it's tied to something more or an element in what's feeding obesity/diabetes/unhealthiness worldwide, I don't know. I just look at the crazy BG numbers it kicks me with (even in "moderation") and know that it's not what I want to be a regular part of my life, if at all possible. Mindless marketing fools tick me off.

Bob said...

If the chiropracter poops three times a day, then I doubt he's full of shit...

diabetesgirl said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks for this post - Obviously those trying to promote their "sweet" product are scared - otherwise they would not engage... You've go them on the run! I am T1 PWD but only diagnosed 6 yrs ago and I am just slowly figuring out how different product affect me and I agree HFCS is the devil! I stay away from products that contain it as much as possible.

I think it is sad that people are blamed for getting sick; like it was a choice - but no one (i.e. govt etc) holds the corporations responsible.

I believe consumers need to beware and informed about what we buy and thanks to blog posts like this more and more consumers will be!

Krista (krasotica on twitter)

Anonymous said...

You lost me at the Kardashians and Jersey Shore.

Sherry said...

This all smacks of the same crap the tobacco companies were trying to sell us a decade or two ago. We were all "confused" about why people were developing lung cancer at epic rates. And if the pushers of HFCS think they can fool the D community...well...we card-carrying members know how confused THEY must be about our first hand knowledge or they wouldn't waste their foolish High-Fricken-Fructose Breath. They're preachin' to the choir!

Unknown said...

FYI...Matt seems perplexed that I poop more times a day than he does. I will just start telling him it helps me control my BGs. :P confused me. I didn't feel it was pro-HFCS, but it wasn't anti-HFCS either. I'm still a bit baffled when I look at the site. It's not very well assembled, and it's just WEIRD to me. Like, don't eat ANY kind of ANY sugar because none of it is natural unless you take a machete, whack off a chunk of sugar cane and start gnawing on it.

Sarah Stanley said...

Yes, I am so clueless that I need a PAID PR firm to tell me that HFCS is a veggie? Really Sweet Facts? Can I pick it & eat it straight from the vine? Yeah, didn't think so. There is NO debate on this. Good post Kelly. Keep it up!

Kelley D. said...

Hi Kelly! Bennet's Kelley here. He recommended I read this... because I'm similarly confused by HFCS!

1. Princeton recently did a study with lab rats and HFCS sweetened food. Surprise! Surprise! Those rats got fat. Really fat. Not only did they get really fat - they got significantly fatter than the rats that had sucrose sweetened food. (

2. Uhm, has Food Pyramid chick looked at a food pyramid? It's like 20% bread/pasta/cereal/rice. Has she been in a bread aisle at Superfresh? It seems like you can't get a loaf of anything - white, whole wheat, whole grain - without HFCS. Want a whole grain granola bar? Better double check that sucker. Same goes for cereal. And rice cakes.

I like carbs! I want to eat them. I just want to be eating the right kind. I'm trying to have a balanced diet, not go on Atkins.

Scott S said...

To counter the paid B.S. from @sweetfacts, I am recommending people follow @BanofHFCS on Twitter (; this guy knows the real story and has lots of data to counter any misleading corn syrup facts!!

Stacy said...

My daughter was diagnosed 4 years ago and it was the driving force in getting us to healthier living. Finding snacks for daycare was horrible, potty training with salami as a prize was interesting, and eventually I realized we need to make everything at home. HFCS is everywhere. I recently challenged my husband to buy an HFCS-free snack food and it took him 20 minutes in Walmart's snack aisle to find options. It's just that pervasive. And so many people don't really care, which is amazing.

And the HCFS people...I can't even begin to imagine having a conversation with one. When those horrible commercials with the 'fine in moderation' tagline began, I wanted to throw something at the tv. How can they even produce this crap?!


Chris said...

so so true. i don't eat it if AT ALL possible. there is nothing in my fridge/cabinet w/ HFCS in it. I don't like it for health reasons, but I also don't like that the corn they use is grown with MASSIVE amounts of pesticides and nitrogen/petroleum fertilizers, that end up in our water, and, coincidentally, may also be linked to the rise in Type 2 diabetes in children when consumed by pregnant women ( So...pass.

Jackie said...

Since when did you become an expert on HFCS? Oh that's right, you aren't.

I have seen your tweets. I think you are lucky anyone replies. As soon as someone does you seem to fire tweets out at them like crazy. Social media is a conversation not a competition.

Kellys Blogs said...

Wow...this whole exchange makes me wish I was still on Twitter. I'd gladly go to battle for you on this. Chalk it up to yet another idiot spouting media induced nonsense.

You have to be some sort of robot to believe that HFCS is anything other than the mechanically produced death juice that it is.

I agree with Sherry and *clink* to you, Kell, for trying to educate the ignorant.

Brenda W said...

After reading this post, I feel the need to recommit myself to better nutrition. I feel like there is a lot more I can do to eat healthy, and sometimes I forget that. I haven't even looked for/stayed away from/ paid attention to HFCS, well...ever! I'm ready to pay attention to how it affects my BG now, especially after reading all the comments on this post.

Thanks for posting this Kelly! I always learn something new from the DOC!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

I am no expert on HFCS. I do believe we need less of it in our lives and know that it is extremely difficult to find packaged foods without it.

It saddens me that we are so busy we barely notice what we are eating and corporations count on that for a profit. I believe that focus and desire for profit has warped corporations' sense of what is right and wrong.

I am a proponent of the theory of moderation. I think, however, the definition of moderation may have been stretched to the limits.

Sysy Morales said...

Ohh I had fun reading this one! I think they're terrible behavior had to do with the fact that they were scrambling to fight the truth-which no one can do really gracefully. You came out strong and I thank you for being our advocate on this :) I've long been trying to tell people to quit HFCS but, many look at me like I'm nuts. So I appreciate this post so much. If we all boycott it, it will go away. How about that? Are we all strong enough to do it?

The poor diabetic said...

Is it me or does anyone else feel lately these deviant lobbyists have a "you are just confused/stupid consumer who has no clue of the facts mantra going on" ....Coke's response to vitamin water being merely sugar water had me irate last week but then here comes these HFCS guy's trying to tell us that we have no idea how good their "sweet" is.. .'If it looks like a rat, smells like a rat,tastes like a rat the doggone it, it is a rat.... Sharpen your pitchforks folks.

kate said...

great post - I am newly diagnosed (T1) and have definitely noticed that HFCS affects my blood sugar. I've been taking steps to cut it out completely for me and my daughter. I am trying to learn more about it, that's how I found your blog.

cheers, kate

Mandy said...

Hi, I got here by Bing search after I read an MSNBC apologetic on HFCS:

I was sure I'd read that HFCS spikes blood sugar and was looking for the facts. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family and I keep creeping toward pre-diabetes, but not as fast since I've cut out HFCS.

If you all would care to read that article and comment, most people realize that it's bad and changing the name to "corn sugar" won't fool those who realize the danger.

However, there is a lot of input there by the "It's the same as sugar" crowd. Here's an opportunity for you to educate them and battle the greedy corn-sugar lobby.

Mandy said...

One more thing- for those having a hard time finding stuff witout HFCS, if you live near a Trader Joe's, they have great granola bars/cereal bars and baked goods all HFCS/hydrogenated fat free. Other chains like Whole Foods and New Seasons also avoid selling unreal foods.