Last week, I rattled off a list of food substances that are banned in other countries around the world but are shamefully used by food manufacturers in the United States. Today, I want to take a hard look at one ingredient that looks to be on its way out, and another that should be.
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, more commonly known as trans fats, could be nearing their final days in the American food supply. These man-made substances are used to extend the shelf life of food and make it more flavorful. They also increase the production of bad cholesterol that leads to obesity, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
Consumption of trans fats among Americans has dropped significantly in the last 10 years and food manufacturers have voluntarily reduced the use of trans fats. However, the risk is still serious enough for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finally step in.
The FDA has ruled trans fats aren’t “generally recognized as safe” – the understatement of the year – and if this preliminary determination is finalized, foods with such unapproved additives would be illegal to sell.
Assuming the ban of trans fats goes through, it is expected to prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease and 20,000 heart attacks while saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs.
This movement to ban trans fats shows what can happen when health-conscious individuals and organizations put enough pressure on the powers-that-be so they’ll wake up to the piles of scientific research that prove a substance is deadly.
Unfortunately, the debate about high-fructose corn syrup rages on. High-fructose corn syrup is the main sweetener used in processed foods and beverages. In addition to high levels of fructose and sugar, high-fructose corn syrup is loaded with harmful chemical toxins.
According to an article written by Dr. Mark Hyman for the Huffington Post, the glucose and fructose in high-fructose corn syrup become separated in the human body. The fructose then goes straight in to the liver, causing high fat production, or lipogenesis.
This results in a condition appropriately named fatty liver, which affects 90 million Americans and leads to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. It’s no wonder why heart attacks, strokes, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases have reached epidemic levels in our country.
While high-fructose corn syrup has been restricted in Europe, it hasn’t been banned. Even worse, consumption in the United States has remained steady for the past 10 years.
Why is this the case? Money. Pure and simple.
In America, high-fructose corn syrup is widely used because it’s so much cheaper than pure sugar. In Europe, high-fructose corn syrup is restricted to adhere to production quotas enacted in the name of economic fairness and competitiveness, not as a way to save people’s lives.
We all know who typically wins the health vs. money debate. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just as courageous lawmakers in California are pushing for safety warnings on sugary drinks, we need to tell our elected representatives that we want trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and other harmful substances out of our food supply!
For the sake of our children’s health and a healthcare system on the verge of collapse, let’s keep the pressure on. In the meantime, keep a close eye on the ingredients in the foods you purchase. Or, simply choose fresh, unprocessed foods and beverages. Let’s continue to make smart decisions and strongly encourage politicians to do the same!
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.