Patrick Di Justo, author of “This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth” took to reddit last week to answer readers’ questions about the very same topic.
Di Justo wrote a column in everyone’s favorite science publication, Wired magazine, where he broke down the ingredients in common household products, explaining just what those unpronounceable ingredients really are, why they are used, and just where they come from.
“All my research is dedicated to pointing out what is in the food you eat and the products you use. I almost never make value judgments about these ingredients — the idea is that you now have all this information, you make your own decisions,” explained Di Justo to one reader. “I think the only thing I’ve ever told people to stay away from was heroin, because heroin is pure evil in powdered form. And high fructose corn syrup, which is not as immediately evil as heroin, but still bad for you.”
When Wired magazine got its own show on PBS, called Wired Science, host Chris Hardwick presented Di Justo’s articles as a special segment of the show. The very first food he broke down? Cool Whip.
Before you dollop this unassuming, fluffy, sweet treat on your fruit salad, let’s find out exactly what’s in it:
First off, it’s bleeding you dry: water is Cool Whip’s main ingredient, since air can’t really be put on an ingredient list. Water and air make up forty-one cents per ounce, just over twice what it would cost to whip real cream yourself. (more…)
Posted on March 2, 2023 by Kelly
Remember a time when you were eating, but never felt full and ended up eating more food? This could be caused by the consumption of fructose. As reported by Medical News Study, researchers found glucose and fructose have an influence on parts of the brain that control appetite.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Assocation (JAMA), found that fructose produces hormones in the brain that will leave you feeling hungry. However, the study did find that glucose will leave you filling fuller and satisfied. Glucose is a type of sugar you get from food, which your body takes and turns into energy.
Since fructose makes your brain think you are still hungry and causes you to eat more, could there be a link between fructose and obesity?
Our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley RD, comments on the study’s new findings, saying, “Excessive fructose intake may have a link to obesity, but it is too early to tell. It is very difficult to single out a particular nutrient to blame. In addition, obesity is a multifactorial problem and contributing factors are not the same for all people.” (more…)
Posted on January 10, 2023 by Samantha
See more Empty Calories right here in the blog as we poke fun at the lighter side of dieting and weight loss. (more…)
Posted on October 10, 2022 by Health Buzz
Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, recently spoke out on allegations of his company being responsible for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Kent’s responses come weeks after New York City Mayor Bloomberg proposed to limit the consumption of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to help lower obesity rates is making headlines across the country. Bloomberg’s proposal will change the sugary drink game for any restaurant, fast-food chain, and any place of business that offers beverages.
Kent says Coca-Cola is not responsible in any way for the rising obesity rates and that obesity is a societal issue. “It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food,” was Kent’s response to Bloomberg’s proposal. (more…)
Posted on June 20, 2022 by Samantha
Yet again it seems that mass media is not accurately portraying scientific research. This time the research is by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. The headlines are claiming that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) damages memory or “makes you stupid“. Unfortunately, the study was not done with a control group on a regular diet, just rats eating HFCS and other rats eating HFCS with omega-3 fatty acids, so it is difficult to draw any solid conclusions from the research.
When trying to navigate a maze learned six weeks earlier, the rats that had only been eating HFCS “were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier,” according to researcher Gomez-Pinilla. This could imply that:
- HFCS causes memory loss
- Or it could be interpreted that HFCS interferes with focus and attention span
- Or it could mean that omega-3 fatty acids counteract the harmful effects of HFCS (more…)
Posted on June 6, 2022 by Brooke Randolph
Manufacturers of the infamous substance known as high fructose corn syrup are displeased at the ruling that it will retain its unfortunate name, at least for now. After the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned to rename HFCS “corn sugar,” the Food and Drug Administration ruled yesterday that the change cannot be made.
This isn’t the first time the CRA has tried to get the name switched. In September 2023, the organization petitioned for the change, arguing that consumers have a bad view of HFCS because it has a complicated name.
But since the FDA has the authority to decide what food labels say, it argued back that the name change would be too confusing for consumers. This is because the FDA clearly defines sugar as “solid, dried, and crystallized” and syrup as “an aqueous solution or liquid food.” So calling a “syrup” a “sugar” would not be accurate. (more…)
Posted on May 31, 2022 by Dana
It looks like the soft drink industry and other sugar-laden product companies are going to take another hit in the name of fructose.
A recent study on fructose’s effects on rats showed that when fed water laced with fructose for a period of six weeks, the rats’ performance in maze navigation was slower.
This experiment was conducted by researchers at UCLA, and the results concluded that the brain is responding to insulin from the fructose consumed by the rats. The senior author of the study is UCLA professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, and the findings were published in the Journal of Physiology.
Of the study, Gomez-Pinilla said, “Our study shows that a high fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. We’re concerned about high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.” Gomez-Pinilla specified that this study is not just about high-fructose corn syrup, though. He mentioned that all sugar, including table sugar, juices and any form of added sugar should be avoided. Studies like this have repeatedly shown that the sugar contributes to instances of obesity, diabetes and blood-fat disturbances in rodents. (more…)
Posted on May 18, 2022 by Descygna
There’s a new candy popping up next to grocery check-out stands and it comes from Skinny Cow. Just because a brand markets itself as “healthier” doesn’t always mean that it is. So before you shrug off a Twix fix for a seemingly “better” candy bar, we wanted to look below the wrapper and get the real skinny.
A one-ounce portion of traditional Turtle candies sold at the check-out weighs in with 510 calories! Yikes! That’s more than we’d recommend for an entire meal. The Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters have far less with 120 calories for that same portion.
Our dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, took a look at the Skinny Cow Dreamy Clusters and was glad to see a noticeable difference in the two candies. “It’s like the regular version is four or five times worse. But, Skinny Cow managed to keep the fiber. Go figure.” Both candies have three grams of fiber, not something you’d usually find on junk food ingredient labels. (Compare that to a similar candy, Snickers, which has only .5 grams of fiber for a one-ounce serving.) (more…)
Posted on February 20, 2023 by Natalie K
A few weeks ago my friend Michelle McNally tweeted a link to this interview with Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly. I was impressed with Dr. Davis, so I put it on my hold list at the library and started discussing it with people I respect. Michelle had already made several dietary changes for her family after her daughter was diagnosed with multiple (17) food sensitivities, but she changed her own diet even when her daughter was not around after reading this interview. Beyond wheat free, Michelle’s daughter is also sensitive to yeast, which eliminates some wheat-free choices in addition.
Hazel Walker is an author, speaker, and personal mentor. She states, “at age 55 I am looking closely at the cause and effect that some foods are having on MY Body. I had already given thought to wheat being an issue, this just confirmed what I thought.” Hazel has committed to 31 days wheat free. She taught me that gluten free, does not always mean wheat-free.
What really caught my attention was the quote from Dr. Davis, “what you are being sold called “wheat” is really not wheat at all, at least nothing like the wheat of 1950 that our mothers and grandmothers had. Modern wheat is the product of extensive genetics experiments conducted during the 1960s and 1970s to increase yield.” Eliminating partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup were my first steps to purifying my diet, and I have made every effort to avoid genetically modified foods. The thought that there may not be non-genetically modified wheat available in the United States any longer is frightening to me. I normally promote a balanced diet, avoiding processed foods but not any foods in particular. Cutting out wheat sounds very drastic, but as Dr. Davis says, “I don’t think that modern wheat should even be considered food…Modern wheat is not a creation of nature. It is the creation of geneticists.” (more…)
Posted on January 30, 2023 by Brooke Randolph
High fructose corn syrup, found in sodas, cereals and baked goods, has become a food bad guy for its link to obesity and diabetes but it might not only be food the sticky stuff is lurking in. Some common cough and cold syrups use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as their sweeteners, the most popular offenders including Vicks, Delsym and Robitussin brands.
Cough and cold syrup makers could use other sweeteners like sucrose but HFCS is inexpensive to manufacture. High fructose corn syrup is a chemically made sugar that primarily contains fructose (fifty-five percent,) glucose (fourty-five percent) and water. The good news is that the companies clearly list HFCS as an inactive ingredient on their labeling, which means it will have no effect on suppressing a cough, for example.
“One teaspoonful of pure HFCS has 3.8 grams of carbohydrates and is about 15 calories,” Mary Hartley, RD, our registered dietician, states, “but 1 teaspoonful of cough syrup is not one-hundred percent HFCS.” The amount HFCS that is in cough syrups compared to the rest of the ingredients is not something that is clearly labeled on their packaging. When I tried to contact a representative from Vick’s about how much of the sweetener was in their product, the rep told me the information was proprietary and legally they may not be allowed to release the information.
Posted on January 3, 2023 by Sarah
There’s a chart that has been floating around the Internet for a while comparing various health effects of soda and marijuana. The agenda doesn’t appear to be pro-pot as much as it is pointing out societal hypocrisy and the serious dangers associated with foods most of us have no moral issue with.
I would be the first to get in line with people who think the demonizing of marijuana in Western culture has always been taken to an extreme level. However, if you think it somehow comes without any serious health risks, you need to consider putting the bong down for a moment and read on. Let’s take a look at how soda and marijuana really compare:
Carcinogens – Let’s start with the biggest hole in the chart’s argument: that there are no carcinogens in marijuana. According to Donald Tashkin, MD, a researcher at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes. Inhaling carcinogens for a long period of time can’t be harmless, can it? (more…)
Posted on November 10, 2022 by Jason