Two ingredients to look for on food packaging and AVOID: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Hydrogenated Oil (sometimes listed as partially-hydrogenated oil).
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), simply put, is sugar processed from corn. It still has the same amount of sugar and calories as table sugar, but HFCS contains the molecule fructose in higher concentration than sugar derived from sugar cane. Fructose is more readily converted into energy than glucose. If you don’t burn that energy it is more easily turned into fat by the liver. The fat stored in the liver can cause “metabolic syndrome” a pre-diabetic condition. The rapid absorption of any sugar molecule like fructose or glucose generates a big spike of insulin in your body and can lead to health problems including weight gain, diabetes, and cancer. Why do companies use HFCS instead of cane sugar? It is cheaper to make because we grow so much corn in America. HFCS is in many sweetened products like candy, soda, and desserts. It’s also in products you wouldn’t necessarily think of as “sweetened.” Products like ketchup, bread, and salad dressings/marinades can all be made with HFCS. Last time I checked, I didn’t need sugar (real or fake) on my salad.
Hydrogenated oil is another man-made food additive that is harmful to you and your baby. When oils are hydrogenated, they are heated to high temperatures and hydrogen gas is added to them. The process gives food a longer shelf life but results in a product more commonly known as trans-fat. Companies are now required to list the amount of trans-fat on the nutritional labels; however, if the amount is less than half a gram/serving companies can say, “Zero trans-fat.” Trans-fats are proven to raise your LDL (bad cholesterol) level and lower your HDL (good cholesterol) level. These changes contributing factors to coronary heart disease and can predispose your baby to excessive weight gain leading to a life long struggle with obesity and diabetes. Read nutritional labels at the grocery store and avoid products that contain any type of hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oil. Common culprits are chips, candy, cookies, “butter-like” spreads, and microwavable popcorn.
“High-Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 23 Mar. 2010. Web.
1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/183198.php>
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. “Most Consumers Misinterpret Meaning Of Trans Fat Information On Nutrition Facts Panel.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 18 Jun. 2008. Web.
1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/111695.php>