Got a taste for something sweet? Avoid high-fructose corn syrup. You can't argue the evidence: 48 percent of Americans drink between seven and 14 HFCS-filled sodas each week.
HFCS is linked to an increased risk of obesity. More than a third of the U.S. population is overweight or obese.
But it's not just in soda: Even though Americans consumed less HFCS in 2011 than at any point since 1997, on average we're still eating more than 43 pounds of the stuff each year. That's because HFCS can be found in baked items, condiments, salad dressing, crackers, bars, cereal, processed meats, and sauces -- on pretty much every shelf in the supermarket.
Why is it there? After fat got a bad rap in the 1980s, manufacturers took out the oils and brought in high-fructose corn syrup -- a cheaper form of sugar -- to add flavor. It worked: Consumption of HFCS has increased more than 1,000 percent since 1970.
Today, we're starting to wake up to the impact on our nation's health: A recent UC Davis study featured on "60 Minutes" showed that just two weeks of eating HFCS increased the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The problem is, most people don't stop at two weeks. In fact, research shows that sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and sugar are addicting: Just like cocaine, they release endorphins, dopamine and seratonin as they hit your system, triggering the pleasure center of your brain. And just like illicit drugs, you need more and more of the stuff to feel good.
So how can we get it out of our lives? Read your labels -- if they contain HFCS, put the product back on the supermarket shelf. I remember when I first did this about 10 years ago I was so surprised by how many foods were chock full of the stuff!
Then visit Mommy Greenest and take the pledge to avoid high-fructose corn syrup for 30 days -- you can also enter to win a case of zero-calorie, USDA Certified Organic Marquis O3 carbonated beverages.
After I detoxed HFCS out of my life, I felt healthier -- like the foods I was eating were really nourishing me, instead of just tickling my taste buds. I lost weight, too! I can't wait to see what the high-fructose detox can do for you!