Today's blog topic is courtesy of my ever inquisitive daughter, Callie.
The conversation centered around having a "treat". Callie requested lifesavers, as this had been a holiday gift she had brought home from one of her extra-curricular activities.
My answer - "can you have an organic candy instead?"
The reply - "but mom.....why does it always have to be organic? It's just a treat."
My response - "Just a treat? Let's look at the ingredients."
We google the lifesavers. The ingredients are: Sugar, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors.
Now I don't know about you but these ingredients always confuse me. Do I know what any of these things are? Anyone know what corn syrup is? Or how about High Fructose Corn Syrup? Why should I care? For our futures - that's why - for our heath and the health of the planet.
I personally like to know what we are eating. So we google and do some more investigating.
Turns out that to make corn syrup, there are two main steps: separating corn starch from corn and converting corn starch into corn syrup.
"Separating corn starch from corn isn't as easy as you would think. First, corn kernels that pass inspection are softened by putting to mix of water and sulfur dioxide.Once the kernels are softened, the inner portion of the kernel, known as the germ, is removed. The germ is then heated and pressed so the corn oil in it is released.
Any remaining material from this process then has its starch removed from its fiber. Once separated, the starch is mixed with a protein mixture, called mill starch. The starch and mill starch are mixed together at high speeds, creating a heavy starch and a light protein. After having any leftover protein removed, the starch is fully removed from the corn and is ready to be converted into corn syrup.
The process of creating corn syrup is called acid hydrolysis. Wet starch is mixed with a weak solution of hydrochloric acid and then heated under pressure. Sugar is created by the heat and the hydrochloric acid breaking down the starch molecules.
Stopping this process at different points creates various levels of sweetness. The longer you allow the hydrolysis process, the sweeter the corn syrup will be.
The syrup then goes under a final process by removing any undesirable flavors and colors before being evaporated to reduce the amount of water."
Yikes! That's crazy! I don’t know about you, but the thought of eating something that was produced with multiple acid products freaks me out.
We talk about how it might not be so healthy to ingest things with corn syrup. I explain to Callie that corn syrup is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. All things we are trying to avoid.
Why? Because I want my kids to live long healthy lives. I care about what we eat and I question what is in every food. We try really hard not to eat out. We eat mainly organic. Its hard to do this economically but I work hard at it. We buy in bulk. We grow our own. We preserve. We make and bake. It takes a lot of energy but I am convinced it will make a difference.
I challenge my kids to become informed. Around here we like knowledge, we like to learn and investigate. So I suggest to Callie we watch this documentary.
Cam and I stumbled upon this years ago and it was one of the catalysts for how we eat today. Why eat something that is made up of harmful products and is thought to lead to health issues? There are so many healthier food options for us to choose from that contain natural sugars. And corn syrup is not the only bad product - there are so many! So let's avoid eating these processed foods and stick to what's best. We all have one body, so don't put it to waste.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!