Wednesday, February 3

Umami and High Fructose Corn Syrup

I'm a huge fan of Food Network. I love the chefs they have on there - except, does anyone else wonder if the Neeleys ever fight? But lately, I've been a little disappointed with the advertising I'm seeing.

First came the commercials talking about high fructose corn syrup. You know the ones. Someone is enjoying fruit juice or a popsicle. "You're going to eat that?" "Why?" "It's got high fructose corn syrup." "And?" "Well, you know what they say about high fructose corn syrup." "That it's natural. And made from corn?"

The truth is, high fructose corn syrup contains factory created free glutamates. The website I cited states that it is in varying amounts. I'm not reactive to much in that second tier of names, as previously discussed, but high fructose corn syrup is a big one for me. Especially when it's the second ingredient in many of the food items I used to purchase. Note "used to." I've since been a label reading maniac, and when you read labels? You'll be surprised what you find is in your food.

As the HFCS ads have decreased in frequency, new ads are taking their place. These ads extol the omg-amazing-ness that is "umami." It's commonly defined as the taste of savoriness, and has apparently been dubbed the "fifth taste sense."

However? Umami is that flavor imparted by MSG. In some cases, many people believe that umami is simply new terminology for the same old toxin. That proposing "umami" as the fifth taste is simply a public relations move.

Regardless of what you call it, it's still an excitatory neurotransmitter. It's still added unnecessarily to our foods and given any one of a number of clever names in order to make you think you're not ingesting toxins. And in many cases, it's still going to cause a reaction; be it migraines, nausea, vomiting, or in some cases, seizure.

Yes, glutamic acid and glutamates are naturally occurring in many foods. Our bodies naturally produce these chemicals. It's when we add to this level in our bodies and exceed what our bodies can handle that we begin to see reactions. We may not be able to avoid the naturally occurring glutamic acids and such, but we can avoid the factory created toxins put into our food.

They're trying to disguise these unhealthy chemicals. They call them "taste enhancers." And you know something? I'll believe what "they" say about high fructose corn syrup much faster than I'll believe what the other "they" says about MSG. I have a right to know what's in my food, and corporations should be obligated to be honest with me about it.

Avoiding unhealthy chemicals in my food shouldn't require the memorization of a list of ingredients I cannot have. It should not turn my shopping trip into a three hour extravaganza of label reading and comparison against the list of all things MSG. But it has, does, and is.

It is what it is. And I know I'm not the only one who has been affected in this way. So the battle for awareness and unbiased research marches on.

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