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"When life hands you high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, ascorbic acid, maltodextrin, sodium acid pyrophosphate, magnesium oxide, calcium fumarate, yellow 5, tocopherol, and less than 2% natural flavors...make lemonade."

My friend and I had an interesting discussion about corn yesterday. This was after I had made one of my usual corny jokes...Okay, that was kinda lame. Anyhoo, we started talking about how much corn has become a staple of our diet and is included in so many different products that we use daily from the ethanol in gasoline to the margarine that we put on our toast (we were eating in a restaurant and I am craving toast right now... :S). It was astounding to think how much corn impacts our lives.

For those meat eaters out there, corn is widely used as animal feed. Commonly, it is the genetically modified corn that is used as feed. I'm not even going to attempt to discuss the genetically modified organism (GMO) issue in this blog.

In addition to that, corn products can be found in aspririn, vitamins, toothpaste, ice cream, clothing, gum, alcohol, soaps, packing materials, paint, plastics and too many more to list!

From the United States Environmental Protection Agency website:
"Corn: The United States is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world. Corn is grown on over 400,000 U.S. farms. In 2000, the U.S. produced almost ten billion bushels of the world’s total 23 billion bushel crop. Corn grown for grain accounts for almost one quarter of the harvested crop acres in this country. Corn grown for silage accounts for about two percent of the total harvested cropland or about 6 million acres. The amount of land dedicated to corn silage production varies based on growing conditions. In years that produce weather unfavorable to high corn grain yields, corn can be “salvaged” by harvesting the entire plant as silage.

According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels."

Grain Farmers of Ontario: Consumer Resources For Corn ... rCorn.aspx

High Fructose Corn Syrup is one of the most common and cheapest sweetners used in a variety of products today including yogurts, lunch meats, condiments, juices, breads, cereal, soft drinks, cake mixes, and many more. There are studies out there that say it is very bad for you and contributes to the development of diabetes, cadiovascular disease, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease but there are also studies out there that say it affects our bodies the same as sugar (sucrose).

I remember when I first started to "eat clean" meaning eliminating processed foods from my diet. For the first two weeks, I had the worst headache imaginable. I speculated that it must be withdrawl from sugar (I was still consuming some caffeine). As I cleaned out my cupboards, I noted that many of the products that I had been consuming had High Fructose Corn Syrup listed as an ingredient.

Here is a test: Go to your food cupboard or into your fridge and check the ingredients of some of the processed food items. My guess is there are many food items in your cupboard that has high fructose corn syrup in it. Just beware it is also called by a few other names: Glucose-fructose (Canada), abbreviated as HFCS (US), Isoglucose (Europe).

Princeton University Study: Effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup ... /91/22K07/

High fructose corn syrup: just another sugar? CBC News ... syrup.html

In conclusion, corn is very much a staple of our daily lives. The next time you purposefully eat a cob of corn at your family barbeque or have that morning bowl of corn flakes, just think about the other forms of corn that you probably ingested, used or burned (ethanol) that day...

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