My family loves to make fun of me for many reasons. I'm the picked-on-middle child, what can I say? One thing in particular they often scorn is my food-label-reading-obsession. I just have to know what's in what I'm eating. No, this doesn't always deter me from eating what I shouldn't, but it helps.
One thing I really watch out for is high fructose corn syrup. My husband likes to say, "You grew up eating high fructose corn syrup, and you turned out just fine." It's true. But I'm honestly in much better shape than I was growing up. Was HFCS the culprit for the chub? Who knows. My parents didn't have a scale in the house during my teenage years, so I have no idea what I really weighed in High School. I think that's a good thing. And luckily I've learned a few tricks since then.
One thing I've gained is an aversion to high fructose corn syrup. Why? Here's the scoop. According to Alexandra Shapiro, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Florida, "High-fructose corn syrup has a higher ratio of fructose to glucose than other sweeteners." Some studies have linked this sweetener to the obesity epidemic. Why? Shapiro's research found that consuming too much fructose could impair the function of leptin, the appetite-controlling hormone. So we don't know when we're full! Leptin resistance is associated with weight gain and obesity.
However, other studies show no effect on hormone levels from the high-fructose corn syrup. So what should you do? Find alternatives. And when an alternative isn't available? Treat high-fructose corn syrup as you would any other added sugar. LIMIT! AVOID! RESIST! (And if you must, bake your own goodies! That way you'll know exactly what's in 'em!)
What tidbits have you gained along your journey that you didn't know about healthy living in your adolescence? Do you read food labels? Do you scorn food-label-readers? Join the conversation in the comments...