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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Another Reason For Your Thyroid To Hate High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Post Published: 09 August 2009
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Category: How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass
This post currently has 19 responses. Leave a comment

This month, our Dear Thyroid Flickr photo pool,  theme is hope.   You know, hope as in, where do you find that reason to keep going, keep living, keep doing and dreaming, even whilst living with this horrific disease.   For me, as you all know, food is the biggest part of that hope (and my photo contribution clearly depicts this).   But when it comes to food itself, another hope I have is that one day, we’ll be sold readily accessible and affordable goods that aren’t highly toxic, highly addictive, and in the end, disease-promoting (and, hello!!! — endocrine disrupting).   I really believe in this from-the-ground eating stuff because it just makes so much sense to me: we’re all denizens of this certain ecosystem where what we should eat is already provided via the earth, naturally.   This means without industry and production.   So in following that theme, today I think it’s important to talk about high-fructose corn syrup, and maybe not necessarily for the reasons you’d think.   It’s found in practically every premade item we buy, and yes, many of us are in agreement that we could all use much less of the stuff in our diet.   HFCS has been linked to various diseases and disorders, including diabetes, liver damage, metabolic syndrome, and many others.   It can lead to cravings and vicious binges of calorie-laden, high-carbohydrate and nutrient-devoid foods.   It may come from corn, but in reality, there’s nothing natural about it: it is highly refined and is not found in nature. And HFCS consumption gets even more serious for those of us with chronic illness and compromised immune systems, for a reason other than these.  It’s been swept under the rug — under wraps — but recently has received some national and mainstream attention.

It’s only common sense that something with a name like “high-fructose” wouldn’t be good for anyone (though it does happen to be America’s favorite manufactured sweetener, because after all, fructose is a simple sugar).   It’s been banned in most of Europe, but we still consume vast quantities of the stuff.   Sure, most natural foods (including fruits, vegetables, and natural sweets like honey) usually contain fructose (and glucose for that matter), but not at the high levels and unnatural ratios as high-fructose corn syrup.   Nothing screams “delicious and sugary sweet” like large vats of viscous extraction.

Speaking of vats of viscous extraction, here’s what we thyroidish people need to know.   High-fructose corn syrup is created when corn kernel starches are extracted for processing, using lye. Yes, you read that right.   Lye.   Lye, as in laundry detergent, soap, chemical cleaners, metal polish, hair products, drain de-cloggers, and even pool cleaners.   Makes you hungry right?  If this weren’t reason enough to stay the fuck away from HFCS, there’s more (as if I wouldn’t have more debbie downerish stuff?).   Lye is made when salt is pumped through vats of mercury.   (This is scary to you too right?)  Mercury, as in the neurotoxin.   Mercury, as in human beings, when exposed to continual doses (such as, everyday eating, every meal, every few hours in this country), experience serious adverse reactions and disease.   Mercury, of course, is linked to all sorts of neurological disorders, in addition to posing serious harm to fetuses and children and causing things like dizziness, blurred vision and headaches in adults.   But, for you and I, mercury means bad things for our impaired immune systems.

Mercury is linked to the development of autoimmune diseases, plain and simple.   In studies involving mice, animals administered mercury developed lymphocyte proliferation and autoimmunity resulted.   Not only does this mean that mercury can cause autoimmune disease, but also that it can speed up a preexisting autoimmune disease (increase its severity and the overall process of degeneration).   But get this, the mice who were exposed to mercury before receiving an official diagnosis of autoimmunity actually fared much worse and had much more severe manifestations of illness than those who were first diagnosed and later exposed to mercury.   What this tells us is avoiding mercury-containing foods is paramount for those of us with chronic illness.   But these words of wisdom extend further than just to those of us with Hashimoto’s or Graves’.   Even if your thyroid is simply hyper or hypo, without the autoimmunity, the idea is that we are all still susceptible to the potential of developing autoimmune disease via mercury exposure, such as in high-fructose corn syrup.   (Note that there are many other dietary sources with high mercury content, but today, HFCS is our target because it is just in so many foods.),   We know that the main causes of thyroid disease are antibody attacks on the gland, and that the autoimmune varieties of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common forms of all thyroid disease.   Therefore, if you already have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, without autoimmunity, you are still at risk, via mercury exposure, of developing Thyroiditis. This is big news.

The best way to avoid high-fructose corn syrup without going crazy is to simply eat from-the-ground foods; things in their whole form: fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, grains if you can tolerate them, etc.   Stay away from processed foods as much as possible and learn to read not only the nutrition content on packages, but also the ingredient labels.   For me, ingredient labels are so much more important and deserve more of our consideration.   And this idea has even spawned an eating plan of its own: the no high-fructose corn syrup diet.   Sounds reasonable to me.   Oh, and of course, it’s not so simple as merely eliminating “sweet” foods from your life.   No, actually, high-fructose corn syrup is in everything. We’re talking bread, mayonnaise, pickles, salad dressing, and so many savory others.   Avoid processed foods and read those labels.

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

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19 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Another Reason For Your Thyroid To Hate High-Fructose Corn Syrup”

  1. Sz says:

    You said it all. If there is one thing to avoid (other than GMO food) it is HFCS. And guess what! HFCS is probably GMO as well! Double whammy!

    Also: Ewwww lye and mercury :(

  2. Pam says:

    Wow, I didn’t know HFCS was banned in Europe. I used to work at a company called Mercury. I had no idea they used lye & mercury to make HFCS; I just figured if there was so much sugar in all these foods, it can’t possibly be good for you so I tried to avoid it. But it’s difficult when eating out since many restaurants don’t post ingredient lists. As I always say, quantity does not equal quality. Very informative article, Liz!

  3. Pam says:

    Liz, have you done a column on tap water? I use a Brita filter b/c I don’t like the taste of tap but I know mercury and other bad things are common in our water. It’s just impossible to stay away from! I mean, we have to shower & wash our hands with it. I stopped drinking bottled water when I learned how bad it is for the environment. I drank bottled water for years though. I rarely drink anything besides water so it’s very possible I could have become sicker b/c of whatever was in the water. :(

  4. bee says:

    the only time i want “something not found in nature” on or in my body is my hair dye—actually, that was when i did dye my hair—and i kept looking for colors “not found in nature”…so i stopped b/c it was getting too weird-thanks for the info—i confess to not paying as much attention to some of this stuff as i should cuz i’m just so damn tired of it all—if i wanted to be a rocket scientist, i would’ve applied to NASA or MIT

  5. Pam says:

    Aw, you’re making me blush! ;-) Ah, I did read that column but I will re-read it. My memory is bad these days (imagine that! ;-) I have been interested in environmental issues ever since one of my junior high teachers taught us about recycling. I always wonder about “invisible” pollution & wonder how people can knowingly hurt the environment (and who knows what else) all just to make a buck. It is a lot to worry about though so I try not to. You can only do so much.

  6. Regina says:

    Great article Liz. I mean no disrespect but.. what the hell do you eat? I’m trying to clean up my diet but trying to find anything that doesn’t have HFCS, antibiotics, poisons, grains I should avoid or is GMO is practically impossible. What’s left? Is there any “real” food anymore?

    PS. sorry I’m behind with my comments. I’ve been away on vacation and I’m catching up.

  7. […] How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Another Reason For Your Thyroid To Hate High-Fructose Corn Syr… […]

  8. lizschau says:

    thanks Sz. i appreciate it :)

    yes, you’re right. there’s no doubt in my mind that HFCS is also GMO. how could it NOT be??? that makes this whole scene even scarier.

  9. lizschau says:

    Pam,

    so glad you enjoyed the article. thank you for your kind comment :)

    yes, it is banned in many parts of Europe. however, in America, there is little accountability when it comes to industrial and processed food. there is a facade of accountability and safety because we would like to believe the FDA has our best interests in mind, but in reality, most food we buy pre-made is unregulated and only investigated when mass groups of people get sick.

    and yes, i do the same in trying to avoid eating out at places i know don’t have my health and best interests in mind. if their goal is to feed the masses, then i probably don’t want to eat there because they’re in it to make a quick profit with fake foods, versus nourish the body. good for you for being so alert and aware and trying to do the same. it definitely can’t hurt your health. :)

  10. lizschau says:

    Pam,

    you are my kind of lady. really. :) i actually did write an article about environmentally-related issues, versus food choices, called “Oh I Know, Let’s Kill Our Thyroids Even Faster”. http://dearthyroid.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/how-to-kick-your-thyroids-ass-oh-i-know-lets-kill-our-thyroids-even-faster/ in this article i mention all the things you’ve mentioned about tap water and bottled water. the only thing i drink now is filtered water from a vendor who has removed chlorine and other impurities. i don’t drink bottled water because it is a scam and actually the industry is unregulated, which means the quality is actually POORER than unfiltered tap water. again, it’s the facade of pureness. i have noticed a big change in my health since going off the unfiltered water. however, i can’t find a water that is both chlorine and fluoride free so i’m pretty sure i’m still ingesting fluoride, which isn’t good.

    anywhoo, you’re brilliant and GOOD FOR YOU for being so vigilant. i completely respect you for that!!!

  11. Pam says:

    Agreed. I meant to mention the part about the FDA not meaning a whole lot but forgot. Brain fart! Thynesia! :P

  12. Pam says:

    Can I change my avatar to a personal pic? I can’t figure out how. It’s nearly 7 am & I’m still up! Gonna go to sleep soon!

  13. Pam says:

    The admiration is mutual, you know. :)

  14. Pam says:

    What’s a GMO for us peons? Genetically Modified Object?

  15. Sz says:

    Pam, close. GMO = genetically modified organism.

  16. dearthyroid says:

    Pam, yes, Genetically Modified Object. Here’s an article Liz wrote on it and how it pertains to thyroid health: http://dearthyroid.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/how-to-kick-your-thyroids-ass-gmos-utterly-thytrocious/

  17. dearthyroid says:

    Thank you Sz. Where is my mind? Thymentia city. And I even linked the article with Genetically Modified Organism in the title. OYYYYY. I’m embarrassed. Thank you ma’am.

  18. dearthyroid says:

    bee,

    thanks for your comment :)

    LOL you’re funny. It’s probably best you stopped dying it. I’ve dyed mine since I was in middle school, but have read research about how it affects thyroid health in a bad way. Go figure. I haven’t done it for about 4-5 months now, but am getting the itch and can’t decide what to do… The health food store does sell natural and non-toxic dyes but they’re like $15.00 and I just don’t know if I can stomach that amount of money when my hair fades back to its natural color in 2 months anyway. Seems like a bad investment and maybe there’s a reason my hair’s this color in the first place. :)

    And yep, with an industrialized and highly mechanized and genetically-engineered system of food, the only way we can keep healthy is to keep up with the methods and people creating the food. It can take alot.

  19. lizschau says:

    Regina, your comment made me laugh. :) i totally get where you’re coming from.

    basically i eat “straight-from-the-ground” foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, herbs and spices, some fruit here and there. the staple of my diet is vegetables and spices. vegetables actually contain high levels of protein, calcium, nutrients and vitamins of course, too. at first glance, eating a whole shit load of vegetables may not seem balanced, but they actually contain the things our body needs to function. if you read labels on your veggies that you buy fresh (most have some sort of label) or even frozen, they list the protein, calcium, iron, etc. nuts and seeds also contain iron and protein and some contain high levels of calcium.

    does that help at all?? basically, i eat a Paleo diet, minus the meat (though i do eat wild-caught fish). are you familiar with Paleo diets? nothing processed, just meats, fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, oil.

    :) what do you think?

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