Thursday, October 1, 2009

Food Additives and Butter vs Margarine

About 2 years ago, I seriously started looking at everything we were eating and started researching all the non-pronouncable stuff on labels. And wondering why a box of saltine crackers had to have a 20 + ing. list. Let me first start out by saying you have to find reliable sources for your answers that are not funded by the "Corn Growers Assoc." or "Parkay Margarine" or whoever else. They have to be independent sources with nothing to gain but the truth. So the following is what I have discovered, don't take my word for the research yourself.

I will start with the big 2 HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and MSG (monosodium glutamate).

First HFCS...............its in everything! I don't think you can avoid it if you eat processed foods. Here are some of the culprits: soft drinks, ketchup, sweet pickles, barbeque sauce, cookies, crackers, Hi C & Hawaiian Punch, Capri suns, Koolaid boxes, Sunny Delight, breads, buns, sweet rolls, salad dressings, the list goes on and on. How many of these items are on your shelves right now? If you are like I was, everything. Food Companies started adding HFCS to their products because they could get it cheaper than sugar. It is made from Genetically Modified Corn.

The following is an excerpt from RN Vickie Koenig entitled: "High Fructose Corn Syrup: Natural or Not" that I recieved in January from Stonyfield Farms.

HFCS is not found in Nature
HFCS, widely used as an inexpensive sweetener, is made from genetically-modified corn. It’s processed by 3 different enzymes to take it from cornstarch to a liquid sweetener. One or two of the enzymes are produced by a bacterium which is also genetically engineered. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that HFCS that’s processed with synthetic fixing agents is not natural. Some HFCS may not have contact with these agents and can be called natural. Still, it’s hard to think of HFCS as natural after its complex processing using enzymes and acids. There is also no organic form of HFCS available because organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs in agricultural practices.

It has been linked to glaucoma, attention deficiet disorder, obesity, hyperactivity, and many more...why take a chance. Some companies are waking up and realizing that folks are reading labels and making food choices based on those labels. You have to be vigilant but you can find products that are Natural and state no HFCS on the label. Which should make us all question: "If its a safe product, why are they eliminating it now and returning to sugar?"

Now MSG.
Technically " Its a neurotoxic substance that causes many adverse reactions. Can manifest in dizziness, violent diarrhea, long term can lead to Parkinson's & Alzheimers in adults and neurological damage in children. Has been link with brain lesions, retinal degeneration and obesity." MSG could be labeled as different things on labels...hydrolized protein, calcium casienate, sodium caseinate, & textured protein. Soy based products and meat broth substitutes contain large amounts of MSG. (the preceding info came from the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig) Why take a chance? In Honduras we noticed that you can buy bulk MSG at the grocery stores. I haven't found anything positive about the use of this product. Google MSG and read about it for yourself.

Now to something really interesting....I didn't know this. Do ya ever wonder how Margarine is made? I always bought it because it was cheaper than butter and then I read the following.....
"To make margarine and shortening manufacuters begin with the cheapest oils - corn, soy, cottonseed or canola and mix them with tiny metal particles - usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is them subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressured, high-temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency: the oil is yet again subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. This removes its unpleasant odor. Margarine's natural color, an unappetizing grey, is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavors must then be added to make it resemble butter. Finally the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as health food." (from "Nourishing Traditions" page 14) Does that sound like something you want to spread on your toast or biscuit? Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I threw it all away and went and bought butter.

Oh, and on a side note many products now say "no added trans fat"...don't believe it. If its hydrogenated, it contains trans fat. The process of hydrogenation causes the formation of trans fat. I have found a type of shortening that is naturally-expeller pressed that is safe to use minimally. Its available at Kroger in the organic section. I use it to make decorator cake icing.

Currently we use butter and coconut oil in our cooking. Coconut oil can be kept at room temp. without becoming rancid. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. There is a great book called the "Coconut Oil Miracle" by Bruce Fife that tells all about the good properties of this product. Do ya know who lobbied to get Tropical Oils taken out of products and replaced with unhealthy was the Vegetable Oil Industry. Whose health were they concerned about? Ours or were they more interested in selling their product and scaring the public?

As you begin to read and research on your own, get the "behind the scenes look" also. There could be a great article stating research done on a product is safe but who funded the research? The Corn Industry is not going to promote research that says their product is unsafe or unhealthy. Find some research done by individuals not associated with the industry, who are looking for their own knowledge. They don't have an agenda, they are selling or promoting anything, they are just looking for the truth.

While you are looking, research Splenda. I loved this product and last spring researched it...lets just say its not made from sugar like the company says.

So its butter, coconut oil, sugar, etc at my house....kinda sounds like my grandma's kitchen pantry staples!


  1. We switched to butter a while back. And we use stevia for sweetner.Thanks for the info.

  2. If a label says "hydrolized soy protien" and then says (No Added MSG), what does that mean? We have used real butter for years and try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible, but it is hard. I am just about to try your home made cream of chicken soup from yesterday so that I can make a pot pie for supper tonight. Wish me luck ~ except that I don't believe in luck ;o).

  3. Bonnie, I am using something called "Sun Crystals" which is stevia and pure cane sugar. I haven't switched to pure stevia yet. Greg and the kids just use sugar right now, they don't like the other.

    Jennifer: Hydrolized soy protein has the same effects as MSG and should be treated the same. The hydrolizing process is the problem. Have fun with the cream of chicken, check to see if you need more salt, I usually have to add a little.

  4. Great stuff to think about. I am slowly starting to read more labels. But it is overwhelming


Welcome to the farm ~ we are a blended family with 7 children (3 are married), 4 grandsons, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and 15 chickens living on 3 acres in Georgia. I love crafting, sewing, cooking & canning, recipes of all kinds, reading, playing with my little buddies, family time, travel, pinterest and most of all the Lord.