Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really That Bad?

I was wondering what you think about high fructose corn syrup. I've heard conflicting thoughts and wanted to know if it's really that bad for you?  Danielle A.

Hi Danielle,
Good question!

Corn syrup itself does not contain fructose. Food scientists realized if they added fructose to corn syrup, it would be a good medium to add to sweeten foods and beverages. It has a texture different from sugar crystals that lends itself well to a lot of products. There really isn't any such thing as "low-fructose corn syrup". At the time, it was just a way of identifying corn syrup that had fructose added to it, period.

In my professional opinion, it's not that high-fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar in any way--it has the same number of calories gram for gram--but it's the fact that so many things nowadays are unnecessarily sweetened. Why do they need to add sweetener to fruit juices? canned fruits? bread?

In moderation, there isn't anything wrong with this method of sweetening certain products. It's the fact that some people consume sugars (of any kind) in excess amounts and frequency that eventually leads to obesity and many chronic diseases.
You can find more details about high-fructose corn syrup on the website,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Do I Prepare for a Healthy Pregnancy?

My husband and I want to start trying to have a child next October. I've been reading up on how important it is to prepare your body for such a big change but I'm not sure if i'm jumping the gun too early. If I'm not, what should I be doing food-wise to help myself? I'm going to start working out (which i do just not as much as I should be).
Stacy N.

Hi Stacy,
It's great you are preparing in advance for a healthy pregnancy--way to go!
That's such exciting news. And I don't believe it's ever too early to start eating healthy.

Here's what I would suggest:
First, look for a multivitamin supplement that meets the daily values for most vitamins, especially folic acid. This is a B vitamin that is essential for proper cell division, which occurs in the first several weeks of pregnancy when most women are not even yet aware they are carrying a fetus.

Second, look for healthy eating guidelines at and start developing healthy diet habits:  Drink plenty of fluids, include fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit excess fats and sweets. This way you won't have to worry about changing all these old habits when you become pregnant and have other things on your mind!

There are also a lot of new food items suggested to avoid in pregnancy. It's probably not too soon to get yourself of copy of "What to Expect when You're Expecting", the virtual bible for pregnant women. It has information on preparing for your pregnancy and lets you follow along each week to find out what is going on inside your body with the baby's development as well.

For exercise, find an activity or a class you like at the gym--it could be anything from spinning to a step class to brisk walking or taking a nice bike ride. Just get in the habit of being physically active 30 minutes on most days and you'll be in another good habit by the time you're ready to carry a baby.

Good luck, and send pictures :)