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Uh oh….time to seriously make a change

September 5, 2012

This past spring, when I started learning more and more about the fresh food available here I also became more and more aware of how the role of what we put into our bodies will affect our health.  My mom had been telling me that for years as a kid, but now, as an adult, I put more of my own brain power to the concept. We made more effort to stop eating the junk food we still ate.

I’ve read how aspartame does a real tricky number on our bodies. I had known when my father had a bad reaction after drinking diet soda at my house years ago that the aspartame messed up the function of the medicine he was taking for his Parkinson’s disease. Apparently there is something in that chemical that affects the way the brain works. I still kept drinking it though. Then I read about how it actually can cause the body to be fooled and not help us lose weight, but gain instead. I switched to ice water.

Now I am reading more and more about high fructose corn syrup and other fructose sources. No matter what the industry advertising says, they are speaking to their own bottom line and best interest, not yours, when they say it is okay for you. Why?  Read on.

Foods that appear to be nutritious could actually be destroying your brainpower. The culprit? A common ingredient slipped into many “healthy” foods, including baby food, applesauce, and instant oatmeal. Researchers at UCLA found that ingesting foods and drinks containing fructose, a component of the ingredient high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, for just six weeks caused troubling changes in brain function.

“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” says Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, PhD, a professor of neurosurgery and integrative biology and physiology at UCLA. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”

In the study, lab rats were giving water sweetened with high fructose syrup. They eagerly drank it and drank more and more over the 6 weeks. And then they ran through the mazes they had run before….and were slower, had more difficulty making decisions and just didn’t want to do it.

I know it will be very hard to stop my sugar intake…I have a sweet tooth, no question about it.

A drug….by any other name….is still a drug.

And if it messes with your thinking power, what does it say about your choice to still us it?

How about you? And your kids?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2012 3:30 pm

    I learned about HFCS some years ago, after reading Omnivore’s Dilemma. After a brief period where I banned it from the house, I eventually allowed some products to creep back in, like crackers, for the sake of marital harmony :). I worked with someone a while ago who developed an allergy to corn. Eradicating it from her diet meant cutting out virtually ALL processed foods – she lost about 40 pounds in 6 months. She looks 5 years younger, and has energy and vitality that she never had before. Anecdotal, I know, but very compelling to witness.

    • September 5, 2012 8:44 pm

      Differences in body chemistry explains a lot about why somethings bother some people or work well for others and don’t for someone else. But the fact that someone has wonderful results when they make the choice to cut something out is well substantiated by their experience.

  2. September 5, 2012 7:50 pm

    Back in the 80s, I used to joke about how diet sodas made people fat. But it came from an observation that the folks I saw buying cases and cases of the stuff were mostly obese. I suppose I was lucky that somewhere in my 30s some switch flipped the sweet craving off in my brain or body. The thought of drinking Coke would about gag me. I don’t do deserts, though I still go for a dark chocolate now and then. I suppose I was lucky that it was that easy for me to quit the sugary stuff that easily.

    • September 5, 2012 8:43 pm

      Sugar calls me….I hear it often. If given a choice between something sweet and something not, the choice will always be obvious to me. So, it is something I have to always be aware of and work on. The artificial sweeteners seemed like a good option for a while but the idea of putting chemicals inside me was an easy decision to stop.

      • September 5, 2012 9:24 pm

        Believe me, I thank my lucky stars that the sweet switch flipped. One less thing to be struggling with.

  3. Debbie Annett permalink
    September 13, 2012 3:41 am

    Artificial sweeteners have been controversial since Sweet-and-low was banned in the 70s. It made its way back even though it is a proven carcinogenic. Stevia, from a plant, is the best thing for a natural sweetener. The problem lies in that people do not know how to use it in moderation. It is so much stronger than sugar that people over-use it and it becomes bitter.
    The FDA wont approve it for a food (they cant control natural foods, only processed foods)

    • September 13, 2012 10:30 am

      The farmers from Ohio that run the market on Fridays in front of Huntington’s kitchen offered me a stevia plant to grow in my own garden. Gorwing our own sugar substitute is an interesting concept in this climate.

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