The Tricky Ingredient Hiding in Your Food

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

March 19, 2014

  • Is it time to rethink your meals?
  • This genetically altered veggie does nothing good for you
  • Easy ways to meet this food challenge head-on

If you eat a lot of junk – fast-food burgers, fries, submarine sandwiches, chips, donuts, bagels, and so forth – you know these foods can affect both your weight and your health.

But other foods that are bad for you aren’t always spotted that easily. People are often surprised when they adopt a diet that appears to be healthy and end up with the same problems – like weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.

That’s why one of the first things I do with a new patient is review his or her diet.

For breakfast, a lot of folks think they’re eating healthy when they enjoy cereal and fruit juice – maybe even some yogurt. They often choose a salad or soup with a sandwich made of lean poultry or meat for lunch. Dinners are more varied, but they frequently involve a combination of lean meat or poultry with vegetables and some sort of gravy or sauce.

Well, it might surprise you, but many of these foods have something in common. Almost all of them contain ingredients made from corn.

No big deal, right?

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Think again…

While you probably think of corn as a vegetable, it’s also a grain. And it carries a very high glycemic load. This means just a little bit of it can shoot your blood sugar through the roof.

This triggers your pancreas to release insulin, which controls the way your cells store fat.

In other words, the more high-glycemic corn (and its byproducts) you eat, the more insulin is released, and the bigger your fat cells get.

This can lead you down a dangerous path toward obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Just as importantly, most of the corn in our food supply is tainted. About 86% of the corn grown here in the U.S. contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And it’s full of dangerous chemicals that should never show up in our food supply. These include things like formaldehyde and glyphosate.

If that doesn’t worry you, it should.

I’m sure you’ve heard of formaldehyde. It’s the stuff morticians use to embalm human remains. But it’s not something you want in your body while you’re still alive. Breathing in as little as three parts per million (ppm) can damage pulmonary function in humans.

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According to one analysis, the 2012 Nutritional Analysis: Comparison of GMO Corn versus Non-GMO Corn, we could be getting as much as 200 ppm of this dangerous chemical in every ear of GMO corn that’s grown.

And what about glyphosate? That’s the stuff used in the popular weed killer, Roundup. The bulk of GMO corn seeds are “Roundup ready.” This means farmers can spray as much Roundup on these crops as necessary to get rid of weeds.

As little as 0.7 ppm of glyphosate can cause kidney problems and reproductive difficulties. Additional research shows it damages DNA, causes cancer and also acts as an endocrine disruptor.

But a single ear of GMO corn can contain up to 18 times that amount!

Clearly, today’s corn and its byproducts aren’t something that should be a part of our food supply.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to steer clear of these additives.

I recommend to all of my patients that they avoid eating corn or any of its byproducts.

  • Many cereals and breads include whole grain corn, corn meal, corn flour or corn starch.
  • Soups, yogurts, salad dressings and gravies often list corn starch or high-fructose corn syrup near the top of the ingredients list.
  • Canned fruit juices, teas and sodas are chock-full of high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Commercial meat and poultry are typically raised on a diet high in corn feed.

What can you do to break away from these tainted foods?

My first choice would be to go natural!

Ditch the foods that might contain corn additives and fill your plate with natural, organically grown fruits and vegetables. For protein, make an investment in your health by shopping for wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and organic, pasture-raised poultry. I recommend making 87% of your diet plant-based and 13% meat-based.

And instead of flavoring your meals with gravies, breading, sauces and dressings, try using olive oil, herbs and garlic to spice things up.

However, if you’re going to purchase packaged products, make sure to read the labels.

The most obvious thing you’ll be looking for is anything that includes the word “corn.” And there are a lot of them… corn syrup, corn extract, corn flour, corn meal, corn sugar, corn alcohol, and – the worst offender of all – high-fructose corn syrup.

Less obvious are additives that often contain some form of corn, like dextrin, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vinegar, baking powder and maltose.

Now I don’t know all of the sneaky names for corn byproducts… and it would take several pages to list them all if I did.

However, I found a very long list of potential corn additives on a website devoted to corn allergens. You can click here to check it out.

Green DJ, et al. “Acute response to 3.0 ppm formaldehyde in exercising healthy nonsmokers and asthmatics.” Am Rev Respir Dis. 1987 Jun;135(6):1261-6.

Koller VJ, et al. “Cytotoxic and DNA-damaging properties of glyphosate and Roundup in human-derived buccal epithelial cells.” Arch Toxicol. 2012 May;86(5):805-13.

Gasnier C., et al. “Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines.” Toxicology. 2009. 262: 184–191.

Basic Information about Glyphosate in Drinking Water. Environmental Protection Agency.