Herself's Recipes

Favorite recipes and interesting food facts

Archive for the ‘Healthy Eating’ Category

What you need to know about High Fructose Corn Syrup

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Corn syrup is made from corn starch and is mostly glucose. It is used to sweeten food and to help food stay moist. The food industry prefers the liquid sugar. It is much easier to blend into the food being created. Corn syrup is also thicker adding a nice texture to foods.

High fructose corn syrup is a 75 % sweeter variation of corn syrup developed in the 1970s. To create corn syrup you first turn corn starch into polysaccharides using alpha-amylase. Alpha-amylase is an industrially produced genetically modified bacterium.

Then glucoamylase is used to break down the polysaccharides into glucose. Glucoamylase an enzyme produced by the fungus Aspergillus.

After which glucose-isomerase is added to convert the glucose to fructose and glucose with small amounts of other sugars. Glucose-isomerase is another genetically modified enzyme.

Then liquid chromatography converts the mixture to 90% fructose.

Finally this mix is blended with corn syrup to give us high fructose corn syrup.

Despite all this processing, high fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar. The US has sixteen plants creating high fructose corn syrup.

Most concerning is that your body does not treat HFCS the same way it does sugar. Your body treats if more like a fat than a sugar in the way it effects hormones in your body. It doesn’t increase insulin or leptin or decrease ghrelin. In the liver HFCS it is more easily converted to trigylcerides than sugar.

Recently high fructose corn syrup has taken much of the blame for the recent obesity epidemic. Here in the US annual consumption of high fructose corn syrup has gone from 0 in 1966 to 79 pounds a year per person in 2005. Or about 137,618 extra calories a year. Sugar consumption has fallen from 114 pounds/person/year in the 1960s to 66 pounds/person 2005. Or 74,304 less calories a year. This gives a net gain of ~ 175 calories per day or 18 extra pounds of weight per person.

*1 cup sugar = 774 calories, 2 cups of sugar = 1 pound
*1 cup HFCS = 871 calories, 2 cups of HFCS = 1 pound

See also:
Sweet but not so innocent?

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

December 15th, 2007 at 5:00 am

Are you eating antibiotic resistant vegetables?

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When genetically modified cells are injected into a plant it is difficult to say whether or not they have taken. So genetic engineers early on used antibiotic resistant genes as markers. These genes give antibiotic resistance to kanamycin and neomycin, another is resistant to ampicillin. These markers would be attached to the genes being inserted and used as a way to check to see if the insertion was successful. These markers should have no effect on the plant. These genes can be found in most genetically engineered food today.

Antibiotic resistant markers are turned off when added to the plant however, Genes that are transfered to plants might be turned off and on in the plant and the plant’s future generations.

It is possible that eating these foods could reduce antibiotic effectiveness in people. DNA is not fragmented in the intestine as had been previously thought. It can be excreted or passed into the blood of the person eating the food. The rise of antibiotic resistance coincides with the rise of this genetic marker being released into the food supply. But these tests were done in a lab, not a human and what happens in the labs does not always work the same way in the real world.

In Europe the use of npt11 in commercial products is being phased out. I could not find information on US phase out of these markers.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

December 1st, 2007 at 5:00 am

What you need to know about bottled water

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Bottled water consumption has doubled since 2000.

It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to create the bottles to hold all our bottled water. This is enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars for one year. Only 20% of water bottles are recycled in the U.S. The plastic containers are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which has been determined safe by FDA for use as food containers. Bottled water contains more antimony than tap water. The longer the water sits in a bottle the more antimony it contains. It has to do with a reaction from the container. Still it is well below safe levels.

Tap water is just as good for you as bottled water. 40% of bottled waters are just tap water with some added ingredients.If you must buy bottled water be sure to read the label.

Bottled water label items:

Artesian, ground, spring, well water: These may or may not be treated, spring is collected as it comes to the surface, the rest of these comes from wells except ground water which may be collected either way.

Distilled water: Steam from boiling water is recondensed then bottled. This kills microbes and removes minerals, but ruins the flavor of the water.

Mineral water: Ground water containing 250 ppm of dissolved solids.

Purified: Water that is free of chemicals, no more than 10 ppm of dissolved solids.

Sterile water: Free of all microbes.

Glacier water, mountain water: This has no meaning, these are just marketing terms.

Micron filtration: Water filtered through screens with small holes to filter out microbes and chemicals.

Ozonation: Water is distilled using ozone to kill microbes.

Reverse osmosis: Water is forced under pressure through membrane removing all microbes, minerals, and chemicals.

Ultraviolet light: Water is passed through uv light killing most microbes.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

November 1st, 2007 at 5:00 am

Late summer Greek Salad

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This is a dish we were served in one of the San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants when we were there last month.

1 cucumber – quartered the long way then sliced
1 extra large tomato – diced into 1/2″ pieces
8 oz Feta – diced or crumbled
Mixed pitted olives ~ 1/2 cup
1 Tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Toss everything in a bowl and mix well.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

October 1st, 2007 at 5:00 am