Remember when you didn't need to think about what was in the food you bought from the grocery store? Ever wonder why your parents and grandparents were able to eat chicken and mashed potatoes and whole milk every day and not get fat? These are the types of questions I'm pondering this Thursday.
So last night Mr. T and I are in the bread aisle at the grocery store. I hadn't actually bought a loaf of bread in a while, but was craving toast. I'm big on reading labels, so I pick up a loaf that called itself "7 Grain" thinking it was healthy. The ingredients were stunning!!! It was a mile long and mostly contained preservatives and chemicals and food colorings that I'd never heard of. On top of that, one of the top five ingredients was HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP! So I pick up another loaf... and another... and another... and they're all the same! All of the these brands were marketing themselves as healthy by having labels that said "Whole Grain" or "7 Grain" or "9 Grain", when they were actually just the opposite.
I picked up a loaf of Wonderbread, that nostalgic loaf of colorless softness, and perused the label:
Whole wheat flour, water, wheat gluten, high fructose corn syrup, contains 2% of less of: soybean oil, salt, molasses, yeast, mono and diglycerides, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium iodate, calcium dioxide), datem, calcium sulfate, vinegar, yeast nutrient (ammonium sulfate), extracts of malted barley and corn, dicalcium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, calcium propionate (to retain freshness).
The fourth ingredient is HFCS!!! What happened to just good old flour and water and yeast?! When you buy bread freshly baked from the bakery I guarantee you there is no HFCS in it. (I know, I worked at an Italian bakery one summer... the very same summer that I happened to gain 10 lbs. out of nowhere.)
It took us five minutes of checking every single label to actually find one that only contained about 10 ingredients, all of which I could pronounce. I was *furious*!!!
Did you know that study after study has shown that HFCS is directly related to obesity and diabetes? Did you also know that HFCS can be found in MOST of our processed foods? E.g. Yoplait yogurt, salad dressings, lowfat foods like cookies and icecream bars, Special K, other whole grain cereals that claim to be healthy, all sodas, most fruit juices, candy, crackers, fast foods, some cottage cheese, mayonnaise, and so much more.
Just look at the correlation to American obesity and the use of HFCS since the 70's:
I truly believe that our Nation's current economic situation could be related to HFCS and its pervasiveness in our food today. Here's my rationale, spanning the past few decades:
---Americans families get busier as women enter the workforce and stay-at-home moms are less common.
---Because moms are working it is harder for them to put homemade dinner on the table.
---Their alternative: they buy fast food for their families, either going out or picking it up on their way home from work.
---In an effort to produce large quantities of food that tastes good, fast food chains and processed food producers use HFCS as a cheap additive to everything.
---Americans get fat because they are eating so much food THAT CONTAINS HFCS.
---Americans are depressed because they are fat and unhealthy.
---Depression leads to wanting more things to fill the emotional void, thus increasing the concept of "excessive materialism".
---Americans are spending more money than they can afford to eat more bad food and buy more things.
---G.W. Bush is elected president.
---Financial crisis occurs because people are spending more than they can afford.
---Everything is in the crapper.
Do you see my logic? I think it's indisputable....