I really, really, reeeeeally wanted to write about Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution,” but something much more compelling came across my desk. Thanks to Ink for sending it over.

We’re all familiar with my disdain for high fructose corn syrup, right? I mean, the stuff’s pretty awful. If you’d like a not-so-quick rundown, check here. It may help you navigate this post.

Apparently, researchers at Princeton put together a study comparing rats fed basic rat food and liquid sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to rats fed the standard chow and liquid sweetened with basic table sugar.

Um, you read the rest:

Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction.

“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” – [source]

Now, I’m not going to use this as an “I told you so” moment – that’s not my M.O. – but I do need to take a moment to make something clear.

I take a lot of flack about this site and my choice of approach to weight loss, health and wellness. The notion that “you don’t need a whole blog to tell people to put the fork down” is turned on its face by studies like this. Why? Because it’s not about “putting the fork down.” Studies like this prove that it’s about making sure you’re aware of what’s on the other end of the fork when you pick it up.

This study further proves that it’s not about the quantity of what you eat (although, let me be clear – there ARE people who eat too much and they CAN get in their own way.) This is validation for the fact that it is the quality of your food, not the quantity. If there is proof that a chemical [that can be found in most of the food we eat] can interfere with the body’s ability to burn the calories that we take in, then it’s much larger than “eat less.” Why? Because if I continue to eat smaller portions of the same harmful foods, I’d still get the negative results. See where I’m going with this?

I’ve long said on this site that the primary goal should be developing and understanding how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, because the pounds come off that much easier at that point. I know this because I’ve lived it, and still live it. If you limit the amount of things in your diet that come from lab chemicals (have you looked at the back of a box of crackers lately? Um…), you decrease the chance of becoming confused by where these changes in your body come from. We should all seek simplicity in our diet… not 4-word-long chemical chains that our body cannot break down.

I never give new science 100% credit or a 100% stamp of approval in any way, so I’d love to see more studies done and see what the fallout is over this, but I’ve got to tell you.. this is major. The majority of policy enacted by our government essentially ignores the quality of the calories we take in. School systems that insist on serving the kids reheated pizzas for breakfast (as shown in that “Food Revolution” show that I really wanted to write about first) use this “quality of calories is unimportant” mentality.

Honestly, what do I see happening? Not much. (Strange, isn’t it?) We still use sugar packets that say “Can contribute to causing cancer” on the side. I doubt there will be any regulation or modification in any way, because the public at large may not call for it, rally for it, demand it. Our politicians only act on something when there’s enough of a rallying cry to threaten their chances of re-election.. and so long as the public is kept in the dark, that rally will never happen.

And that’s okay… I guess.

The public at large deserves the right to make their own choices about whether or not they want this stuff in their food. Those of us who are working toward a healthier lifestyle, however, deserve to know the truth – that this stuff isn’t going to help us get what we want. We deserve to make our choices based off of proper information, and be able to determine – on our own, without the help of corny commercials (no pun intended, I promise) or marketing campaigns – whether or not we want to give our dollars to products or companies that insist on using this stuff.

After allllll that, I say this. Know what you’re eating. We can’t go wrong with the foods our families have healthily enjoyed for decades, centuries, millennia. We take chances on processed foods that make our lives easier, and we suffer those consequences. I’m done with taking chances and I hope you are, too.

All in favor of working to avoid the HFCS, say “Aye!”

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