A Spoonful of High Fructose Frenzy

I've mentioned here a bit about my change in dietary habits. I've always had a sweet tooth and love the sugary stuff: cookies, soda, cake. I used to put a tablespoon of sugar on Rice Krispies as a kid and add double the Country Time powder to make lemonade. There was no piece of chocolate cake I couldn't conquer and no half-used can of frosting that I wouldn't attack with a spoon. I figured since I don't like ice cream, I'd balance that with more of the sugar stuff.

But in the wake of kidney stones almost two years ago, and watching the older generation catch America's middle aged man curse, AKA Type II diabetes, like it was a virulent cold virus, I have cut way back on the sugary stuff. Unlike meat though, I do miss it when I haven't had it. So I have a Sprite every once in a while and a couple of cookies each night. It's probably the last area of my eating that is not really in balance.

In response, I've been paying more attention to the stuff used in regular foods. I figure if I am going to get my sugar from the good stuff, I may as well cut it out of the usual stuff that I don't really need to be all that sweet. And since high fructose corn syrup is the sweet ingredient used in many foods, I've kept an eye out for it to try and avoid it.

And it's everywhere. Soda, applesauce, ketchup, baked goods, sauces, syrup, etc., etc., etc. My slow slide towards becoming a granola has sped up as I now chastise Mrs. Trackball of Truth for replacing the natural applesauce with the usual type, which is really HFCS-sauce. Yes, the usual tastes a little sweeter and less appley than the natural kind, but not that much. Not worth the health damage - I mean, it's just applesauce.

So I'm trying to tune my tastebuds of truth to seek out these refined sugars and to avoid them. It's hard to do, but when you realize that your soda tastes like the maple syrup which tastes like the ketchup which tastes like that muffin which tastes like the applesauce, you start noticing the type of foods to avoid: food from the food industry. The alternatives are the organic, the natural. And those natural sweetnesses actually taste better - I'm amazed how sweet fresh fruit can be.

But dodging the infusion of sugar and HFCS in America is difficult. Having kids, who love this stuff more than adults, makes it hard. My gut instinct that adopting a diet of seafood, beans, rice, veggies and fruit would probably put me on the path of a well balanced Jedi Buddhist rings true, but the chances of getting the other family members on board is a tough one. We're venturing to Wegmans tomorrow, a real grocery store, so hopefully I can nudge the food selection further away from artificially sweetened foods. A spoonful of decent food now is better than a bagful of pills twenty years from now.

6 comments:

wendywoman said...

All of this from a man who used to eat hot dogs topped with peanut butter, applesauce, and mac&cheese.
He who doesn't prepare the grocery list nor buy the groceries nor plan the meals (NOR COOK THEM) does not get to complain!

The Rogue Progressive said...

WendyWoman only mentions one of the many food crimes committed against the Trackball body. Others include guzzling a half gallon of root beer in a single night, too much late night pizza, scarfing down nestle crunch funsize bars and a can of coke at the same time and lots of other sugary indiscretions.

Mr. Trackball has ceded authority over said food purchasing because of complaints about his too healthy and too limited diet (seafood veggie stir fry with rice foreva!). But in response to this post, the Trackball had an excellent meal of salmon on a bed of greens with an excellent side salad and rice. There will be more about where the food was purchased for this glorious feast some other time...

Bulworth said...

Ah, the tastebuds of truth.

From Say Anything"

Lloyd Dobler's sister (Joan Cusack) to Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack):

"There's no food in your food."

And I bet I know who wendywoman is--she's Mrs. Trackball of Truth.

Hot dogs topped with peanut butter, apple sauce and mac&cheese?

mizerock said...

I do not have a sweet tooth - I'm more of a salty-snack person. I trace it back to when I was young, and gave up sweets for lent. Easter came, but I had no desire for sugar anymore!

But I STILL can't avoid high fructose corn syrup. It really IS everywhere.

Reminds me of a story I read in a kid's sci-fi book (!). This high school student notices that this strange ingredient is listed in ALL food products. He decides to try and avoid eating it (only certain raw and organic foods were without it) and suddenly he doesn't find TV enjoyable anymore. His family and friends, they are sitting mesmerized in front of the tube all night, with a zombie look on their face. He's just bored. Eventually, "they" try and kill him by making it look like he had an accident, but kill another kid standing next to him instead. I forget how it ended.

Weird stuff to be putting in a kid's book, no? I think it was intended for HS kids (I was in 4th grade, I think). Let me know if you know what story I'm talking about or how it ended.

mizerock said...

I just remembered a really tasty food with no fructose. Unhelpfully for the ToT: it's beer. On hot summer days, nothing quenches thirst like a cold brew. I even bought a six-pack of non-alcoholic stuff to drink at work once.

mizerock said...

It's official: "experts" agree with me conclusion.

"Skip the whole milk. Pass on soda. Drink beer? Nutrition experts stir controversy with new beverage guidelines"
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11735125/