Instructables

Give up Corn Syrup for Lent!

Featured
Instead of telling you how to do something, this Instructables is about how NOT to. How NOT to eat corn syrup. And not just for a day or two either, we're talking 40+ days here.

A few years ago, I decided to give up Corn Syrup for Lent. Since it's that time of year again, I thought I'd share what I did, how I avoided corn syrup, and what the unexpected results were.

While I come from a Christian background, my family was not Orthodox. We did not traditionally celebrate Lent. However, I really like and respect the idea behind it, one of self-control, reflection, giving thanks, and personal improvement.

I also wanted to try to give something up that would be very challenging, to really make me think about it, and something that might have unexpected results.

So, I challenged my self to not eat any corn syrup from after Fat Tuesday, all the way to Easter. No High-Fructose, no regular corn syrup, and no corn syrup solids. How did I do? Come along and find out!



 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Read Labels

The very first trick is to read labels!
How do you know what you are eating, if you don't read the ingredient list?

In general, American labeling laws are fairly good. The label will list everything in the product as well as it's country of origin. (We unfortunately do NOT yet list genetically-modified ingredients, but by avoiding corn syrup, you'll be avoiding a lot of GMOs as well.)

Ingredients are listed in order of  most to least, based on weight. If Corn Syrup is the second ingredient, it means there's less of that than the first ingredient, but more of it than the third.

You'll also sometime see Corn Syrup listed more than once. It's not uncommon to see beverages with an ingredient list of "Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup,......"

Beverages, such as soft-drinks are what we usually think of when it comes to corn syrup, but read ALL labels, it's also common in something as simple as bread, and "corn syrup solids" are common in powered beverage mixes and non-dairy creamer.

Another interesting bit on labeling laws, when the product name is on the front of the box or can, it ALSO must be listed in order of the weight of the ingredients. I once saw a box of frozen Salisbury Steaks and notice that it actually read in very small print "Beef Gravy and" and then in HUGE PRINT "Salisbury Steaks"! The product being bought was actually gravy with a little beef, not the other way around!
lgarza311 months ago
I'm Catholic
What are the benefits of not eating corn syrup?
I don't think its in many foods/drinks in Australia.
I can't remember the last time i saw it in an ingredients list.
bennelson (author)  bfedorowytsch2 years ago
It's in just about EVERYTHING in the United States. Corn Syrup is HEAVILY processed with plenty of bad chemicals, and made from genetically modified corn (which is heavily sprayed by pesticides)

If nothing else, it's a lot of empty calories.
Why is it used in preferance to sugar or other alternatives?
bennelson (author)  bfedorowytsch2 years ago
It's very inexpensive. We have massive governmental corn subsidies in the U.S.
Since it's a liquid, it can be pumped about, which is a bit of a benefit on the production side of things.
I guess Australia just has lots of sugar....
Which is weird, because before European settlement Honey and banksia nectar were the only sweeteners used, and then for a while into the European settlement honey was much cheaper than sugar and used in place of sugar because it was easier to get.,.. now of course sugar is there
Almost every country besides the US still uses sugar. As mentioned earlier US pays farmers to grow corn. They need to use that corn for something so its sugar substitute, gas for car, ect . And end up messing up the engine they're put in Human or mechanical
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup Solids are cheaper than sugar (both corn and sugar beets here are genetically modified), and contain mercury. Mercury is one of the most dangerous neuro-toxins known. In short, it damages nerve cells, including brain cells.
Do they not have the legal obligation to state wether it is gm corn used for the syrup or not?
As bennelson says, our wonderful FDA which is "supposed" to advocate for the health of the American people does nothing. Though the American public has petitioned, the FDA has refused to require manufacturers to indicate which foods are genetically modified. They have refused to make manufacturers remove BPA from plastics (baby bottles, the linings of cans that our food is canned in, etc.). In this country we don't have the right to know jack about our food, or much else. Unless a person wants to be slowly poisoned to death, they must grow their own food, or buy organic; and as you can guess, organic is very expensive.
bennelson (author)  bfedorowytsch2 years ago
The United States does NOT have any GMO labeling laws.

We produce a tremendous amount of corn here, and unless otherwise stated, you can assume that it IS genetically-modified.

The only real way to avoid GMOs is to buy organic foods.
I gave it up for life. Iced Tea (or for those from the south Unsweet tea) has been great replacement for all the gallons of pop I used to drink.
You have posted valuable things on your blog. I will also post the link of your blog on my website. I hope it will be useful for my visitors.
Hot Deals
londobali1 year ago
Great!
Thanks for sharing!!
Asmodeous2 years ago
The liver doesn't know how to process HFCS. So it creates a fatty liver which can be visualized on CT and Ultrasonography. It gives people type 2 diabetes before their time - and punches holes in the gut and bowel walls. CAncer cells thrive on sugar as well. HFCS products are marketed to children the most. There is a huge diabetes problem in American children. I don't trust the FDA.
CoffeeWoman2 years ago
If you're trying to keep tabs on organic produce pricing, try hitting your local farmers' markets, should you have any available. I live very close to PA Dutch country, so most of the markets have pre-made items at the stands (i.e. homemade chicken pot pie, mac-n-cheese, souse, etc.). These are great because 1) they made it and can tell you what's in it (like those restaurants mentioned in the 'ible) 2) it's fresher than those leftovers throwing a block party in the back of your fridge and 3) no scary chemicals or hfcs. Also, they often have homemade sauces, jellies, fruit juices and other items (that are usually loaded with hfcs) that are made with real sugar or, even better, stevia.

Seriously - even check your meats. If you bought sausage, or even some brands of bacon, there's hfcs in there!!!
black hole2 years ago
I've been corn sryup free for most of my life, avoiding it like the plauge. Like you, I have yet to see an organic product with corn sryup. On another note, what a wonderful 'ible! It is very well written and informative.

On yet another note, my neighbors went on a trip to Italy and discovered PIZZA OVENS. So, when they got back, they tore out their back fence and put in a solid stone wall with an pizza oven built in. The wall is massive, maybe 30 feet long, 6 feet high. The oven stick out from the middle, forming a T. To make a long story short, the oven makes fantastic pizzas, much better than Pizza Hut.

Hope this doesn't give anyone ideas...
squishysim2 years ago
I have to ask, did you notes a different in cost due to the food you where buying? Was it more or less then you usually spend on food?
bennelson (author)  squishysim2 years ago
Great question!
I didn't specifically track food costs. However, I have a feeling that it was a wash.

In general organics cost more than typical commercial food, but you also use LESS of them, and appreciate them more. I'm not kidding. I go sparingly with my organic blueberry jam. It comes in a smaller jar and costs more, but it's SO good that only a small amount is plenty.

Cooking yourself generally SAVES money. A good loaf of bread from the store might cost $3-4. That much money in flour can bake several loafs easily.

In general, we went to restaurants less, which saves money as well.
This is one of the best instructables I've ever read! I watched the King Corn movie as well and it is really a great movie. I love the end where they're playing baseball in their acre. It's a really cool idea. Thanks for sharing!
Musicman412 years ago
I was an accidental vegan when I first lived on my own. I just didn't feel like buying meat, so I had a lot of rice and beans.
ilpug2 years ago
This seems like something I should do. So many things that are apparently edible are actually just slow poisons. I know what you mean about the feeling better part. I went flouride-free a few years ago and it made me feel way better, specifically, cured my insomnia.
bennelson (author)  ilpug2 years ago
I highly recommend Tom's of Maine Fluoride-Free toothpaste.
It's the only toothpaste I have ever used that doesn't make my gums hurt!
ilpug bennelson2 years ago
Yeah, I use it! Cleans just as well and doesn't make my mouth all tingly.
monsterlego2 years ago
nice!
diana chu2 years ago
Very interesting post! Usually we go to the farmers market and get fresh food that is very cheap. We spend half a day going there but is better than buying packed expensive things in the supermarket. Also I spend more time cooking at home but is healthier and more affordable for our family.

I live "down here" in Mexico city and if you go to the stores all sodas come on cans and pet (and I am pretty sure last time I went to my kitchen the pet bin was there )... maybe those glass bottles are export versions because they are hard to find at least here. But to be true I don´t like sodas, plain water is healthier.
Saludos!
great idea to think about!
yoyology2 years ago
Be aware that "sugar" on a nutrition label doesn't necessarily mean the granulated table sugar we think of.

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/17/147047545/should-sugar-be-regulated-like-alcohol

LUSTIG: So let's talk about, you know, the definition of sugar. So when you see sugar on the side of a package, that could be one of six different things. It could be glucose or dextrose, which is - for lack of a better comparison what you would find in Karo syrup. You don't see people going around chugging Karo syrup. It's not even that sweet.

It could be gallactose, which is a component of milk sugar, which is converted to glucose in the liver almost immediately. It could be fructose, which is the sweet aspect of sugar, the thing that actually makes us go seeking it. And that's the one that's metabolized completely differently. Or it could be a combination of glucose and glucose - that's called maltose, that's what you find in beer.

It could be glucose and gallactose, that's lactose, that's milk sugar. Or it could be glucose and fructose, and that's called sucrose, and that's cane table sugar, the stuff you put in your coffee.

Every one of those is recorded in that total sugars that's on the nutrition label, and you're not allowed to know which it is because the Food and Drug Administration allowed the food industry to basically combine them all together in an effort to basically confuse the public.

They just had some study come out that now classifies sugar as toxic - specifically fructose which is what corn syrup is....


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/13/sugar-regulate-fructose-sucrose :

Last week, a trio of American scientists led by Robert Lustig, professor of clinical paediatrics at the University of California, published an article in the journal Nature, outlining the toxic effects that sugar has on humans and arguing for governmental controls on its sale and distribution. While the authors come short of labelling sugar a "poison" outright, in a 2007 interview with ABC Radio about excess sugar consumption, Lustig said: "We're being poisoned to death. That's a very strong statement, but I think we can back it up with very clear scientific evidence."

That evidence has been growing – particularly in the western world, where consumption of sugar is increasing rapidly. Globally, sugar consumption has tripled in the past 50 years. But, it turns out, the greatest threat to human health is one type of sugar in particular: fructose.

In the US, per-capita consumption of fructose, a common food additive there – mainly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup – has increased more than 100-fold since 1970. Although fructose is not a common added sweetener in the UK and other countries, sucrose is; sucrose contains 50% fructose. Lustig and his co-authors note that last year, the United Nations announced that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had, for the first time, overtaken infectious diseases in terms of the global health burden. Non-communicable diseases now account for 63% of all deaths, and that total is expected to increase by a further 17% over the next decade.

The scientists cite growing evidence that our increasing consumption of sugar is partly responsible for the growth of NCDs: diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and the suite of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome. And they argue that, as for substances known to cause NCDs such as tobacco and alcohol, sales and distribution of sugar should be controlled, and products with added sugar should be taxed.
Lots of good tips for avoiding it. This is something I would like to get back to! It's just tough since we're moving and my entire kitchen is packed up at the moment. :P
tinker2342 years ago
wow more control than i have i was only able to give up meat but cornstarch wow that's hard to avoid