Seattle Grocery Chain Stops Selling Foods Made With High Fructose Corn Syrup

Seattle-area food cooperative PCC Natural Markets has removed all products containing high-fructose corn syrup from its shelves, and has announced that it will no longer carry any product sweetened with the controversial ingredient.

“I’m completely happy about that,” said PCC shopper Karen Hunt. “I try hard not to add that to my family’s diet; I just don’t think we need to do that. I’m sure there’s a lot of arguments on both sides, but I just sort of feel intuitively that it’s better not to.”

High-fructose corn syrup has drawn criticism both as a sweetener in general and also due to its specific biochemical properties. Studies have indicated that high-fructose corn syrup may be worse for the body than similar sweeteners, and that it may interfere with the brain’s ability to tell when it is full. Environmentalists have also criticized the techniques used to produce the sweetener.

Because it is so cheap to produce, critics also say that high-fructose corn syrup has encouraged food manufacturers to add empty calories to staples such as breads and cereals, simply to add a bit of sweetness and make the food taste more appealing.

Among the products no longer carried at PCC are Wheat Thins, Kellogg’s Raising Bran and Sara Lee whole-grain bagels.

PCC is the first major retailer to ban high-fructose corn syrup since Earth Fare, a 13-store natural foods market in North Carolina, did so in 2004.

“You look at how pervasive [high-fructose corn syrup] is, then you start asking yourself, ‘How is this stuff produced, anyway?'” said Troy DeGroff, Earth Fare’s sales and marketing director. “It’s not in keeping with natural processes or the tenets of a healthy store. It’s our obligation to remove this. We need more retailers who are willing to take a stand”

PCC has also banned trans fats and milk produced from cows treated with growth hormones, and does not provide plastic bags for shoppers.


10 Steps To Improve Your Nutrition Today

High Fructose Corn Syrup mentioned in Healthy & Fit magazine’s “10 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition Today” article:

Learn How To Read Labels

With so much mis-information about so called “diet” or “low-fat, low–carb” foods comes a lot of junk food. Just because it says that the food is low in something, or is in the “diet” category doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Most of the time those so called health foods are the worst for you. They added in a bunch of unwanted crap such as high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and sugar alcohols to save calories, carbohydrates, and fat. Make sure you can pronounce just about everything on the ingredient list, and more importantly look for foods with the smallest ingredient list.

Secrets on Shopping for Food

An excerpt taken from a recent interview with Mike Adams, founder of the Consumer Wellness Center and online retailer – Better Life Goods.

There are basically three types of shoppers who go to the grocery store and it is characteristic of how they shop. One type are the people who buy anything without reading the label. So they’re just buying what they think is going to taste good and usually whatever’s been advertised and marketed to them or their children.

The second type is someone who reads the front of the boxes. So they’re looking at the health claims that have been made by the manufacturers of those food products, or that have been approved by the FDA. The type of people who read the back of the boxes, they read the ingredients. They are actually looking at what’s in the food and not what claims are being made on the front.

Then there’s one additional type that’s outside of this whole system and that’s the type that doesn’t buy anything in a box. It’s all fresh produce. So here’s the deal. If you’re a type one person, I guarantee you that you’re going to be diagnosed with cancer someday. You’re going to have diabetes. You’re going to have heart disease. You’re going to have depression and mood disorders. Marriage problems probably will result from that. Life is not going to be very good if you’re a type one shopper. Even if you’re a type two shopper it’s not going to be very good either, but you’re going to be confused. You’re going to think, “Oh. I’m buying healthy foods. Look, this says made with whole grains.” But you didn’t read the back. You didn’t realize it was also made with high fructose corn syrup and refined white flour and it’s only 5% whole grains. Do you see what I mean?

So that’s going to produce some really negative health effects. If you’re a type 3 shopper, then you’re starting to get into health. You’re reading the ingredients. So that’s my number one tip is to start reading the ingredients of products before you buy them and then finally, some day you can get into being a type four shopper, where you’re just buying non-processed foods, fresh produce by the way.

Atlanta’s NBC News 11 – The Lowdown on High-Fructose Corn Syrup

braves tickets giveaway

Good to see local news stations reporting the dangers of HFCS!
Let’s hope this trend continues.


Why has the obesity rate skyrocketed in America? Nobody knows for sure, although new theories constantly emerge.

Recently, some experts have pointed the finger of blame at high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has replaced sugar in many foods and beverages. According to this argument, high-fructose corn syrup reacts with the body’s metabolism in a unique way that causes weight gain.

So, what is high-fructose corn syrup, the newest villain in the battle of the bulge?

What Is It?

High-fructose corn syrup is a concentrated liquid made from corn starch, with added amounts of two substances: fructose (the sugar found naturally in fruit) and glucose. These substances help make high-fructose corn syrup about 75 percent sweeter than regular table sugar.

Today, the average American consumes 2.5 times as much added sugar as recommended by federal dietary guidelines. Nearly half of those sugars come from high-fructose corn syrup, according to the American Dietetic Association. This sweetener is used because it has several advantages over sugar, including being sweeter, less expensive, and more easily mixed into foods and beverages.

Soft drinks and fruit drinks such as lemonade are a major source of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener is also found in cookies, gums, jams and jellies, and baked goods. Even healthful foods, such as low-fat yogurt may have significant amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.

High-fructose corn syrup prevents freezer burn and is often found in frozen foods. It is also used to keep breads brown and soft.

High-Fructose Theories

In recent years, some experts have sounded the alarm that high-fructose corn syrup may be responsible for rising obesity rates. Food manufacturers began using high-fructose corn syrup in large quantities in the early 1980s – just about the time that obesity rates began to climb.

Some experts believe this is no coincidence. They argue that consumption of fructose changes hormonal patterns inside the body. As a result, appetite levels increase. The body also becomes predisposed to storing greater amounts of fat, according to this theory.

However, it remains unclear whether high-fructose corn syrup does more damage to your waistline than other sweeteners. To date, studies are mixed about whether or not high-fructose corn syrup increases fat in the body more than other sweeteners.

In fact, many experts believe that high-fructose corn syrup may be responsible for higher obesity rates only because Americans consume much greater amounts of calories than in the past. According to this theory, there is no unique effect of high-fructose corn syrup on the body.

Until further research settles the question, most experts simply advise people to avoid consuming excess amounts of high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. Decreasing your intake of soft drinks – which has grown five-fold in the past 50 years in America – is a good start.

You can keep your calorie intake down by eating and drinking fewer products loaded with high-fructose corn syrup. But remember, nothing helps you maintain a healthy weight as effectively as eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly.

FDA says Corn Syrup “not natural”

HFCS is not ‘natural’, says FDA

By Lorraine Heller

Products containing high fructose corn syrup cannot be considered ‘natural’ and should not be labeled as such, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said.

The decision is likely to cause a massive stir in the food and beverage industry, where a discreet battle has been raging over the status of the controversial sweetener.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is derived from corn, and used primarily to sweeten beverages. The trade group Corn Refiners Association and numerous industry members have long maintained that HFCS is a natural sweetener.

However, the sugar industry is more critical, as HFCS comes into direct competition with sugar as a sweetener. Industry group Sugar Association, as well as consumer groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest categorically maintain that HFCS cannot be considered natural because its chemical bonds are broken and rearranged in the manufacturing process.

The debate raged on for one simple reason: FDA does not define the term ‘natural’, and it has therefore been left open to different interpretations.

However, in response to an inquiry from, the regulatory agency examined the composition of HFCS, which it said is produced using synthetic fixing agents.

“Consequently, we would object to the use of the term ‘natural’ on a product containing HFCS,” the agency’s Geraldine June said in an e-mail to June is Supervisor of the Product Evaluation and Labeling team at FDA’s Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements.

FDA on ‘natural’

FDA has received two petitions to define the term ‘natural’ – one from the Sugar Association, and one from bakery firm Sara Lee.

Although the agency had not provided a formal response to these petitions, it told this publication that it has no plans to define the term in the near future, due to limited resources. “We’re not sure how high of an issue it is for consumers,” it said.

Nevertheless, FDA does have a longstanding policy regarding the use of the term. This states that a ‘natural’ product is one that has not had any artificial or synthetic substances added to the product that would not normally be expected to be in the food – including artificial flavors or color additives, regardless of source.

FDA also does not currently restrict the use of the term ‘natural’ except on products that contain added color, synthetic substances and flavors as provided for in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), section 101.22.


Although FDA provides no definition or detailed guidelines for the use of the term ‘natural’, it said it has a system in place for manufacturers with doubts to approach it and ask for guidance on the use of particular ingredients.

Under this system, submitted an inquiry about HFCS.

FDA responded that HFCS is prepared from a high dextrose equivalent corn starch hydrolysate by partial enzymatic conversion of glucose (dextrose) to fructose using an insoluble glucose isomerase enzyme preparation.

The glucose isomerase enzyme preparation is fixed (rendered insoluble) using safe and suitable immobilization/fixing agents, it said.

“The use of synthetic fixing agents in the enzyme preparation, which is then used to produce HFCS, would not be consistent with our (…) policy regarding the use of the term ‘natural’,” said Geraldine June.

“Moreover, the corn starch hydrolysate, which is the substrate used in the production of HFCS, may be obtained through the use of safe and suitable acids or enzymes. Depending on the type of acid(s) used to obtain the corn starch hydrolysate, this substrate itself may not fit within the description of ‘natural’ and, therefore, HCFS produced from such corn starch hydrolysate would not qualify for a ‘natural’ labeling term,” she concluded.

HFCS and industry

Although FDA’s conclusion may not be welcome by some industry members, who would have liked to have promoted their HFCS-containing products as ‘natural’, it will at least prevent any future misinterpretations.

Last year for example, both Cadbury Schweppes and Kraft faced lawsuits after making ‘natural’ label claims on beverages that contained high fructose corn syrup. Both companies changed the labeling of their products before any legal action was taken.

The market for ‘natural’

The quest for natural foods and beverages has burgeoned on the back of an overall consumer move towards healthier nutrition.

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, ‘All Natural’ was the third most frequent claim made on food products launched in the US in 2007, appearing on 2,617 products. It ranked fourth most popular claim for beverages, used on 542 items.

In Europe, 878 ‘All Natural’ food products and 509 beverage products were launched last year.

Additionally, the Natural Marketing Institute reported in 2004 that 63 percent of US consumers have a preference for natural foods and beverages. In 2006, a Harris Interactive survey found that 83 percent of people wanted a government definition of the term.
Update: June 17, 2007

WASHINGTON , DC The Corn Refiners Association today applauded a federal ruling that rejected a claim that products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) cannot be labeled natural. The decision, issued on June 13, 2008 by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Cooper, holds that FDA regulation of beverage labeling preempts additional labeling requirements under state law.

America’s Unhealthiest Drinks Exposed (Vitamin Water – Bad?)

Most of you have likely heard about this article already, but it is still worth posting.

Full list here.

The 20 Unhealthiest Drinks in America

Americans have a drinking problem, and not the type you might think. As the authors of the best-selling book Eat This, Not That!, David Zinczenko and co-author Matt Goulding get e-mails all the time from readers who claim they eat carefully, they work out consistently, but they still can’t get the needle on the scale to budge. “What gives?” goes the collective, exasperated refrain from the stagnant dieter.

What most people don’t know is that the biggest roadblock between you and the body you want isn’t found at the end of a fork, but at the bottom of a glass. As a country we take in 21 percent of our daily calories from beverages and, according to the FDA, the average American takes in 82 grams of added sugars every day (most of it in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup). That’s 20 teaspoons, which contribute an empty 317 calories to our already calorie-saturated diets.

Sure, some of that comes from soda, but even if you’ve traded regular Coke for diet, whole milk coffee drinks for low-fat lattes, and you barely touch the booze, you could still be taking in 20 percent or more of your calories from beverages. Add in a few of those other indulgences-or consume one of the liquid disasters listed hereand you can suddenly be sucking in a few days’ worth of calories through a straw! (You read that last sentence right.)

To give you a better idea of the drinks most responsible for sabotaging your health, fitness, and weight-loss goals, we created a list of America’s Unhealthiest Drinks. Read up on them using the index at left, then sip responsibly.


9. Worst “Healthy” Drink

Glaceau VitaminWater (20 oz bottle)

130 calories
33 g sugar (actually High Fructose Corn Syrup… disguised as “Crystalline Fructose“)

Vitamins and water might sound like the ultimate nutritional tag team, but what the label doesn’t say is that a bottle of this stuff carries nearly as much sugar (even worse, high fructose corn syrup) and calories as a can of Coke. Makes sense, though, since this so-called functional beverage is produced by our often-sugar-crazy friends at The Coca-Cola Company.

Soda Warning. High-fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes.


ScienceDaily — Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels.

HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.

In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable, the researcher notes.

Reactive carbonyls also are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Based on the study data, Ho estimates that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.

Ho and his associates also found that adding tea components to drinks containing HFCS may help lower the levels of reactive carbonyls. The scientists found that adding epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound in tea, significantly reduced the levels of reactive carbonyl species in a dose-dependent manner when added to the carbonated soft drinks studied. In some cases, the levels of reactive carbonyls were reduced by half, the researchers say.

“People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country,” says Ho. “It’s in way too many food and drink products and there’s growing evidence that it’s bad for you.” The tea-derived supplement provides a promising way to counter its potentially toxic effects, especially in children who consume a lot of carbonated beverages, he says.

But eliminating or reducing consumption of HFCS is preferable, the researchers note. They are currently exploring the chemical mechanisms by which tea appears to neutralize the reactivity of the syrup.Ho’s group is also probing the mechanisms by which carbonation increases the amount of reactive carbonyls formed in sodas containing HFCS. They note that non-carbonated fruit juices containing HFCS have one-third the amount of reactive carbonyl species found in carbonated sodas with HFCS, while non-carbonated tea beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup, which already contain EGCG, have only about one-sixth the levels of carbonyls found in regular soda.

In the future, food and drink manufacturers could reduce concerns about HFCS by adding more EGCG, using less HFCS, or replacing the syrup with alternatives such as regular table sugar, Ho and his associates say. Funding for this study was provided by the Center for Advanced Food Technology of Rutgers University. Other researchers involved in the study include Chih-Yu Lo, Ph.D.; Shiming Li, Ph.D.; Di Tan, Ph.D.; and Yu Wang, a doctoral student.

This research was reported August 23 at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, during the symposium, “Food Bioactives and Nutraceuticals: Production, Chemistry, Analysis and Health Effects: Health Effects.”

Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.