Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

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Our Little Rant by Eightball & Thundercloud
From InfoAve Premium Issue #96 - August 19, 2005
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What Have They Done To My Ketchup?

One of my favorite foods (?) has always been ketchup. My favorite ketchup used to be Heinz (for what that's worth) until I went to Canada several years ago and tasted the Heinz Ketchup there. After realizing that American Heinz is not really Heinz but some mutation of the old Heinz and that Canadian Heinz is (sort of) the real Heinz (I actually went to a grocery store in Canada and bought twelve big bottles of Canadian Heinz Ketchup which amused the customs lady no end). Actually Canadian Heinz Ketchup isn't quite the same as the "real" Heinz Ketchup of yore because it is not made with "red, ripe tomatoes" but with "tomato concentrate made from red, ripe, tomatoes". Of course. My hat's off to Canada though - they keep the HFCS out of ketchup.

Examining the labels of the Heinz Ketchup made in Canada I found the ingredients did not include high fructose corn syrup (hereinafter referred to as HFCS). Instead of HFCS Heinz Ketchup (Canadian) contained sugar. Good old, tooth-rotting, sugar, while its American counterpart contained no sugar. American Heinz has HFCS - that is good old organ-rotting, triglyceride level-raising HFCS. Now Heinz America pulled one over on me because they removed the sugar from Heinz Ketchup sometime in the 1980's and replaced it with HFCS because it is cheaper and it wasn't until I tasted Canadian Heinz Ketchup that I realized that Heinz American Ketchup was not the same. I no longer buy Heinz American Ketchup because it is really not the same old Heinz Ketchup I really loved when I was growing up. The last time I had Heinz Canadian ketchup it tasted like the good old Heinz I remembered. Unfortunately, I cannot buy Heinz Ketchup made in Canada here in Ohio. I can only buy Heinz Ketchup made in Pittsburgh (I think). So, if you live in Canada, let me know if the label still says sugar and contains no HFCS and I'll be right up to pick up a case or two :). Well, if you're feeling generous, I do have a birthday coming up soon and NO I'm not telling you!

Seriously, Americans are getting fatter and fatter (me too) and it's all because of HFCS. I'm sure of it. Well, maybe we just eat too much too, but still, I don't think HFCS is helping anything. It's like spyware in a bottle :) . Did you know the average American drinks 3 quarts of soft drinks each week? It's true. And, what do you think they're sweetened with? No, not sugar. They're sweetened with HFCS. Is this bad news? It may be. At least from what I've read it seems like it could be the protagonist in our American play - The Waddling Wobblies.  Is HFCS the reason why we're becoming a nation of overweight butterballs, too fat to bend over to tie our own shoes? Maybe - just read on:

"...Until the 1970s most of the sugar we ate came from sucrose derived from sugar beets or sugar cane. Then sugar from corn—corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, dextrine and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—began to gain popularity as a sweetener because it was much less expensive to produce. High fructose corn syrup can be manipulated to contain equal amounts of fructose and glucose, or up to 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose. Thus, with almost twice the fructose, HFCS delivers a double danger compared to sugar.

(With regards to fruit, the ratio is usually 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, but most commercial fruit juices have HFCS added. Fruit contains fiber which slows down the metabolism of fructose and other sugars, but the fructose in HFCS is absorbed very quickly.)

In 1980 the average person ate 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose. In 1994 the average person ate 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose, providing 19 percent of total caloric energy.3 Today approximately 25 percent of our average caloric intake comes from sugars, with the larger fraction as fructose...." (

It seems to me America started becoming porcine about the time that manufacturers of processed foods started to quietly replace sugar with HFCS. While sugar really messes up your teeth, apparently (according to this article) HFCS really messes up your liver (and other organs). Now, really. I'd rather have false teeth than have a liver transplant wouldn't you?

My old fat body is one thing, but HFCS may be turning our children's bodies to mush. In his well-researched article, Bill Sandra states: "These experiments should give us pause when we consider the great increase in the use of high fructose corn syrup during the past 30 years, particularly in soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages aimed at growing children, children increasingly likely to be copper deficient as modern parents no longer serve liver to their families. (Liver is by far the best source of copper in human diets.)"

'The bodies of the children I see today are mush,' observed a concerned chiropractor recently. 'The culprit is the modern diet, high in fructose and low in copper-containing foods, resulting in inadequate formation of elastin and collagen—the sinews that hold the body together.'

So what have ye done to me ketchup, Mr. Heinz? You've loaded it up with HFCS it doesn't taste like it used to. Waddling wistfully across my kitchen floor I reach for a jar of pickles and what to my bloodshot eyes should appear ? Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Spices, Polysorbate 80.

Rats love HFCS but it kills them or at least that is what Meira Fields, Ph.D., research chemist at the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland says. "Rats normally live for a good two years, But the rats in my study fed a high-fructose, low copper diets are dying after 5 weeks." One of the few human studies of low-copper, high-fructose diets was abruptly stopped when 4 of the 24 subjects developed heart-related abnormalities, according to Fields. High fructose diets have also been implicated in the development of adult-onset diabetes. Fructose, especially when combined with other sugars, reduces stores of chromium, a mineral essential for maintaining balanced insulin levels, according to Richard Anderson, Ph.D., lead scientist at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.

If you live in the United States, I'll bet you almost any processed food you pick up contains HFCS. Go to your cupboard or refrigerator now and take a look at the ingredients of anything. If it is sweet it probably contains lots of HFCS.

Guess why HFCS is ubiquitous in the United States? It's cheap! Read this:

"...High Fructose Corn Syrup {HFCS) is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods.. It is cheap to produce, sweet, and easy to store. Its used in everything from bread to pasta sauces to bacon to beer. Its even used in "health products" like protein/energy bars and "natural" sodas. You sort of get the idea that you are eating something good for you.

HFCS is great for the manufacturers. It retains moisture, resists drying out, controls crystallization, prevents microbiological growth and blends easily with sweeteners, acids, and flavorings. Best of all for manufacturers, it makes sugar drinks taste better and is cheaper than sugar...."

So what's good for profits is good for America, huh? What a mess we're in. Had it not been for my fondness for ketchup I wouldn't have even wondered about HFCS and now after researching it, I realize why America is so fat and why doctors are so rich.

Another article states: "In 1994 the average person ate 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose. This 149 pounds is approximately 19% of the average person's diet."

The 19% of our diet part doesn't surprise me. HFCS is in almost everything you eat. Unless you live in southern California where "au naturale" is the current trend. But not many of us in Ohio eat tofu and raw peanuts. We have pretty harsh winters to get through and nothing's better on a cold winter's day than and ice cold Coca Cola and a super-sized order of McDonald's french fries. (I'm only kidding folks, really I am!.)

When I first noticed that my Heinz Ketchup didn't taste like it should, all I wanted was my old Heinz ketchup back. I wanted the stuff made with "red ripe tomatoes" and sugar and not the stuff made from tomato concentrate and high fructose corn syrup. My old favorite ketchup is gone forever and not only does it not even taste like it did, it's probably killing me too. Woe is me. I read things like this (with regard to the consumption of HFCS):

"...Research showed that in subjects that had healthy glucose tolerance and those that had unhealthy glucose tolerance, fructose caused a general increase in both the total serum cholesterol and in the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in most of the subjects. This puts a person at risk for heart disease. Another study showed that the very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) increased without an apparent change in high density lipoproteins (HDL). The VLDL and the LDL should be as low as possible and the HDL should be as high as possible. There is a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid that is dependent on the amount of fructose digested. After glucose no significant change occurs. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease...."

Gabe Mirkin, MD writes: "Several recent studies have shown that fructose is processed differently in the body than the far more common sugar, glucose (3,4). Glucose causes the pancreas to release insulin which drives sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Glucose causes fat cells to release leptin that makes you feel full so you eat less. Glucose prevents the stomach from releasing ghrelin that makes you hungry. On the other hand, fructose does not cause fat cells to release leptin and does not suppress ghrelin. This means that fructose increases hunger to make you eat more. Furthermore, the liver converts fructose far more readily to a body fat called triglyceride, than it does with glucose. High triglyceride levels raise blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and lower blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol, which increases heart attack risk." http://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/3021.html

I can't find a bottle of ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) that isn't made from tomato paste or "concentrated tomatoes" (how do you grow a concentrated tomato?) and doesn't contain HFCS.  Can you? If so let me know! I want some. What's going on? Did you realize how much HFCS there is in a lot of the things we eat. All you ever hear people talking about is "too much sugar". How many people have you ever heard say "too much high fructose corn syrup". When you pair HFCS with hydrogenated vegetable oil and its trans fatty acids, it's a wonder we even live as long as the mice :). Can you say: "White bread and margarine"? Of course you can!

Now I know why Americans are getting fatter. But did you ever hear the Heart Association telling you not to eat HFCS? Everyone tells you not to eat sugar and sugar is bad for you but did you ever hear the dentist tell you to cut back on your high fructose corn syrup. Nope.

Now I don't know if all the research I've done on HFCS is all there is - but it is all that I need to know to get the distinct impression that HFCS isn't too good for me. It's probably something we all should avoid. But unless you can afford all natural foods and have the time every day to prepare au naturale meals - to make them edible <grin> - you're going to get your daily dose of HFCS. So name your poison - pickles, pudding, beer, bacon, ketchup, ad infinitum. Don't go reaching for the NutraSweet either -they're saying that artificial sweeteners are bad for you too. Consider this article on Aspartame from the book, aptly titled "Sweet Poison".

So, my tormented mind, longing for the Heinz ketchup of old has led me to unearth some disturbing truths about HFCS. And, you're reading wondering what the heck this has to do with computers. Nothing at all. Ain't it great?

(A reader just wrote and told me that this rant has a lot to do with computers because dead people don't use computers. She has a point! My mind contemplates a new rant "Dead People Don't Use Computers...hmmm maybe not! I'd never get it by Eightball! )

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