HFCS-Free Day 2012

by Leighann on August 5, 2012

Over the past few years I have written a few times about my disdain for high fructose corn syrup and the marketing ploys of the Corn Refiners Association.

I would prefer my family and my children–type 1 diabetic or not–to eschew HFCS in our diets. But as a family with two working parents and a lot on our proverbial plates, it’s difficult not to reach for convenience foods when time and energy are short.

Over and over I get this grand idea to declare a day that families should be conscious about the food they are feeding their children, read labels, and only consume foods that do not contain HFCS.

I feel like the simple act of making conscious choices, even if for just one day, can make an impact on our families. And I think we may be surprised at some of the foods that contain this highly processed ingredient.

You may ask what has sparked my latest disdain for the marketing of HFCS. I was appalled when two writers, each living with type 1 diabetes since childhood, posted the following photo while attending the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) meeting in Indianapolis early in August, 2012.

HFCS at AADE

Photo Credit: Allison Blass of Diabetes Mine

The photo? The photo was of the Sweetener Studies booth promoting high fructose corn syrup!

CDE’s should be there to help educate and empower people with diabetes to make good decisions in their daily management of the medical condition as well as give advice and adjust treatment courses. They are usually the point of contact when you call the endocrinologist’s office, especially between appointments.

It is my opinion that CDE’s should not be telling their patients that foods containing HFCS are good choices. I am personally appalled that HFCS was promoted at the American Association of Diabetes Educators meeting.

I don’t want either of my children (the one who has type 1 diabetes or the one who doesn’t) consuming HFCS if it can be avoided. I would not like it if our CDE suggested products to us containing that ingredient or said that it was okay to include in a healthy diet. It’s a highly processed food that in no way resembles the plant it came from. By taking their fee for the booth, AADE condones and endorses it’s use and marketing to health professionals and consumers.

What I propose is each of us take August 25, 2012 to make a conscious effort to read labels and choose foods that are not made with high fructose corn syrup.

I declare August 25, 2012 HFCS-Free Day.

HFCS-Free Day 2012

I realize that not all parents and families are concerned with the inclusion of HFCS in the foods they serve their family or who do not think that the marketing of highly processed foods to children is an issue. But I know many, many parents who are concerned. I hope you join me in this effort because I think it is an issue that affects all children, not just those living with type 1 diabetes.

I specifically did not choose a school day because I know the contents of lunches provided by schools are often beyond a parent’s control. My hope in choosing a weekend day is that parents can look over labels with their children and open a dialog about what your family considers healthy food choices.

I also encourage adults who dislike the Corn Refiners Associations’ marketing, the Sweetener Studies’ spin on HFCS, or the widespread inclusion of HFCS in prepared foods to get involved.

To Participate

Grab this button to promote HFCS-Free Day on your blog.

HFCS-Free Day 2012

Write about your reaction to the Sweetener Studies’ booth at AADE or your dislike for HFCS in foods, especially those marketed to children and families.

Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter that you are participating in HFCS-Day. You can use hashtag #HFCSfree12.

Join the HFCS-Free Day 2012 event on Facebook.

Leave a comment below sharing your thoughts about HFCS. (And maybe your opinion is that it is fine for your family to eat it without restrictions. I ask that everyone be respectful of others in their comments.)

Further Reading

More posts about high fructose corn syrup

Corn, It’s Only Natural

{LOL} HFCS on SNL

Campbell’s Mmm Mmm, Not So Good

Taking the Artificial out of Yogurt

Diabetes Mine (Allison Blass and Michael Hoskins of Diabetes Mine brought the AADE booth to our attention.)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather August 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I try to give my T-1 guy no HFCS as well. We have started treating lows, when we can, with fresh fruit or 100% juice. After seeing how well I myself looked and felt after altering my diet to eliminate HFCS, I knew it was the right choice for my little guy. Thanks for the great article and the wonderful idea!

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2 Kelly Booth August 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I would really like to say that I am surprised that booth would be at the AADE meeting, but sadly, I am not. I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible, but it is in so many things, that is a challenge. I quit eating yogurt when I found out it was in that – they destroyed what should be a healthy snack.

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3 Leighann August 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

We almost always spend the extra for Greek or organic yogurt which does not have HFCS. I stock up when I see it on sale. The tubes freeze well for snacks.

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4 Scott S August 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I like the idea of a No HFCS day; the challenge seems to be that this sweetner has become so incredibly prevalent in even seemingly healthy foods (like salad dressings) that avoiding it is a challenge and takes quite some effort. Having said this, it CAN be done (try making your own salad dressings, they taste great and some can take just a few minutes), but does require considerable planning!

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5 Natalie ._c- August 5, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Well, they have the science behind them, in a sort of distorted way. I attended a session last year about fructose, and how damaging it is, because it is converted by the liver directly into triglycerides and VLDL, and no cells us those for energy — they are simply used for fat storage, and end up in the blood as part of the lipid count. But the reason the booth said it is nutritionally equivalent to sugar is that sugar itself is 50% fructose, and HFCS is 55% fructose (the rest is glucose), so for all intents and purposes, they are the same. So the real issue is that we shouldn’t be consuming ANY kind of added sugar, and it makes no difference whether it is HFCS or plain old beet or cane sugar. So I’m not investing my energy into protesting HFCS when the soda companies are now into marketing soda sweetened with cane or beet sugar — NO HCFS — when it makes no difference at all — bad for us, either way.

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6 katy August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm

IMOH, HFCS isn’t worse than glucose or fructose (gram for gram) but IS much worse in that it is hidden in so many things, and that it’s there more for politics than flavor or nutrition (obvsly.)

Corn is in everything!

HFCS is making even dear old corn on the cob seem freakazoid.

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7 Sysy August 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’m going to help spread the word. I think that yes, added sugar is bad and part of the problem, but HCFS is worse and sneaked into almost every packaged item out there. I’d like to see it banned from our country. I think people should focus on NOT reading labels because we shouldn’t be eating out of packaged foods anyway. But when we do, avoiding HCFS should be a priority. Thanks for the initiative.

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8 Lina@Byefructose.com August 17, 2012 at 2:31 am

It is really difficult to try and stay away from high fructose corn syrup content, especially because it seems to be in everything! Even things like cough syrup, ugh. I will put your button on my blog. I am trying to live my life totally high fructose corn syrup free, which can be really difficult.

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9 Eric August 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I suspected early in my D-life HFCS was not good. I always check the labels for where the HFCS is on the list, before I buy a new food. If it is the 2nd or 3rd ingredient, it goes back on the shelf. I quit buying bread from stores, opting to bake home made bread. I think it is cheaper and healthier anyway, found out a little bit of honey and lots of yeast makes a good whole wheat bread. I have supported your cause for about 2 years, and will continue to do so.

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