Do the Canadians care more about public health than we do?
It certainly looks that way.
My wife and I enjoyed a 6 day stay in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada for our honeymoon at the end of 2012. What a fantastic city! Full of history, great restaurants, and charming Canadians! We thoroughly enjoyed it there.
When I go away, whether for business or pleasure, the first thing I do is locate the nearest gyms and supermarkets. Training doesn’t stop just because I leave home. I do not miss workouts. And although my diet was what I consider extremely “relaxed”, I still prefer to include certain food items daily- such as Kefir (Kefir is a subject I will leave for future blog post).
Specific food items like frozen blueberries (and Kefir) are only to be found in a supermarket or grocery store, thus requiring that I locate and visit a local one, often on the first day of my arrival. Perusing the aisle of the local Quebec City supermarket that I found (Super Marché B M (Métro) Inc, 977, av Cartier, Quebec City, QC G1R 2S2, Canada), I re-confirmed what I had casually observed on a previous visit to Quebec City:
“The Canadians do not allow High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in their foods.”
The Canadians do not have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in their foods. Like NONE! I examined everyday food products (ketchup, jams, cookies) that are available under the same brand names here at home in the U.S.A, including Oreo cookies (see photos). The Canadian food products DO NOT have High Fructose Corn Syrups, but the American food products… you can’t avoid HFCS- it’s in EVERYTHING!
Here, take a look at the Canadian Oreo Cookie label for yourself:
Read the ingredients: Sugar, Enriched Wheat Flour, Coconut Oil Shortening, Soybean Oil (why you should avoid this too!), Cocoa, Corn Starch, Glucose Syrup, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, and Artificial Flavors.
Now, I am not saying that Oreos are a healthy snack, but I do find it alarming that HFCS seems to be included in all the American products, but not the Canadian ones.
What’s my problem with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)? Well, simply put… it makes you FAT. Quickly and efficiently. And unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard that by now. I started pointing that out to personal training clients in the mid 1990’s. For nearly 20 years, two of my prime directives for diet have been 1. AVOID high fructose corn syrup, 2. AVOID trans fatty acids. If you don’t think that HFCS makes you fat, you are simply in denial. It’s a fact. But don’t take it just from me, go do the research for yourself. Here’s some of what correspondent for Science magazine and author Gary Taubes had to say about High Fructose Corn Syrup in his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories:
“Glucose goes directly into the bloodstream and is taken up by tissues and organs to use as energy; only 30-40 percent passes through the liver. Fructose (when consumed) passes directly to the liver, where it is metabolized almost exclusively… And the liver responds by converting it into triglycerides–fat….”
Now, take a look at the American Oreo Cookies package label (see photo):
Ingredients: sugar, unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B11), riboflavin (vitamin B3), folic acid, high oleic canola oil and/or palm oil and/or canola oil and/or soybean oil, cocoa (processed with alkali), high fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate), salt, soy lecithin, vanillin – an artificial flavor, chocolate.
You know what? Coincidently, there’s something else that seems to be largely missing from Canadian culture besides high fructose corn syrup – OBESITY!
It would be irresponsible of me to say that the Canadians seem to be, on average, MUCH thinner than their American counterparts simply because they don’t have high fructose corn syrup in any of their food. But, casually observing the Canadians at the super crowded mall, Place St-Foy, on the day after Christmas, it was hard not to wonder why it is so difficult to locate an overweight Canadian. They all look so much thinner, healthier, and happier. Do they just eat better overall? Do they exercise more? Maybe only thin, healthy, happy people visit the mall on the day after Christmas. I really don’t know. All I can tell you is what I observed.
Hopefully, this post has at least motivated you to learn more about the topic on your own and be a little more skeptical of what is being added to our American foods on a MASSIVE scale.
You don’t even want to know what they are putting in our mayonnaise…