Do You? Or Don’t You?

Do You? Or Don’t You?

 

I want to ask all my fellow mothers a serious question. There’s been a lot of talk in the media and at playgroups about a pernicious and evil substance hidden in the foods we give our children.

No, not arsenic. Not lead shavings. I’m talking about High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS.

I haven’t gotten around to writing about the topic of food  much on my blog but I avidly read books, articles and blogs about food, the food industry, cooking, nutrition and even food photography. I have an impressive cookbook collection. (By impressive, I mean it drives Toby insane with its sheer volume.)

I have read a lot about HFCS and it is something I try to avoid – much like any non-nutrative and highly caloric substance. I started reading labels and I changed the brand of yogurt and bread that we buy. We don’t drink soda and we eat very few processed foods so it doesn’t come up a lot.

Do I try to keep it out of the house? Yes. If another parent passed Robbie a cookie I knew had HFCS, would I dive across the room to knock it out of his hand? No.

My personal feeling is that HFCS is not good – but not because it’s the love-child of evil conspirators out to kill us all via diabetes and obesity. More likely, it’s just the brain-child of scientists out to profit by helping food manufacturers shave margin from their product. I also avoid it because of the reason it is cheaper than sugar – and that boils down to government involvement and subsidy of corn growing.

I was blown away this morning when I read an article calling for the government to ban HFCS.  Am I way off the mark in my casual dismissal? Should I have a pitch fork in one hand and a torch in the other?

I’d like to hear your opinion.  Do you look for HFCS on labels? Is it an absolute “no-no” in your house? Do you even know what it is? Is banning it a good idea? Or would stopping government corn subsidies be a better idea? Where should personal responsibility stop and government regulation begin?

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    Michelle
    October 8th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Holly, I feel the same way that you do. I avoid HFCS simply because we try to stay away from processed foods in general. But I have been known to let my kids indulge in icky gooey goodness once in a great while. I hadn’t thought of it before, but it seems like the government is making a big deal of HFCS in the media to take the focus off of the other awful things that they are doing. My theory is that I am going to raise my kids the way that I feel is right, whether the government or anyone else agrees or disagrees.

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    Sharon Briggs
    October 11th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I feel like a complete idiot. I’ve heard of HFCS but I really haven’t paid much attention to what it is and whether it is good or bad. I think I better go do some research and form an opinion before I can comment further.

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    Sharon
    October 13th, 2009 at 6:50 am

    I’m just doing a gut reaction here, but I think HFCS is less of an issue in Europe (NL). We have it of course, but here I notice a lot of things aimed at the children’s market contain what I can roughly translate as ‘grape sugar’. So they concentrate grapes to sweeten products like yoghurt and cookies here.

    The other thing is that the Dutch idea of treats varies from the US ones, so between those two factors, i don’t have to be as vigilant as i would in the US. I do try to pay attention and read labels, but I’m with you that i’m not going to socially stigmatize my child by sending the dreaded ‘list’ of what we can and can’t have on play-dates. Unless we’re taking life threatening allergy, playdates and trips to the amusement park/zoo are ‘worry free’ days for Little Man.

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      Holly
      October 13th, 2009 at 7:29 am

      Well said – I don’t ever want to become that annoying parent that embarrasses their child by fussing obsessively. I’ve heard and witnessed horror stories.

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    Kim Tracy Prince
    October 13th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I am friends with Jessica Gottlieb, who is the HCFS police. Once she put the fear of God into me about it, I always read labels. I’m not a purist about it, but boy do I read labels now!

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    marisa
    October 15th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I definately try to avoid it, but like you I’m not obsessive about it. I feel that the government shouldn’t be banning most things, but they shouldn’t be subsidizing either. What I think we need is to educate others about it, and hopefully people will start making wiser food choices.

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