A High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Food Dye Tour Of WalMart

What’s the easiest way to being able to spot junk food?

Fat? Cholesterol? Weird, unpronounceable chemicals?

Those are all good, but there’s an easier way than that…

A High Fructose Corn Syrup, Red 40 Food Dye Tour Of WalMart

Just look for high fructose corn syrup and/or artificial food dyes.

This is coming from a guy who over the course of several years, learned the cure to eczema (dyshidrosis) by experimenting with what I did and did not eat. The first step for me, 6 years ago, was discovering I had to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and/or artificial food dyes from my diet.


High fructose corn syrup is the most processed version of GMO sugar you can find. It’s the sweetest of the sweet, which teaches your body to “look for the rest of the food” it came from. In other words, high fructose corn syrup keeps you hungry; as explained in this article by scientificamerican.com.

A High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Food Dye Tour Of WalMart

Meanwhile, artificial food dyes have been linked to anxiety, migraines, and cancer; according to this respectable article on Forbes.com.

Today, I want to introduce you to the concept that WalMart’s vendors are very good at making sure WalMart’s customers are strategically surrounded by high fructose corn syrup and artificial food dyes.

It’s common knowledge to our generation that WalMart has this way of attracting a certain crowd worthy of their own website: peopleofwalmart.com. (I don’t endorse that site, by the way; it’s not “family friendly”.)

However, there’s a reason it’s so easy to relate to WalMart memes:

WalMart Memes

For example, over the weekend I overhead this phone conversation while I was there at WalMart: “I ain’t no snitch… I didn’t give the cops a first name. I wasn’t brought up that way…”.

In case you need a visual, he looked like a young version of Weird Al in his video for “All About The Pentiums.”

This past weekend while I was there to pick up my car after getting an oil change, I took a walk around the place.

I only had to walk past a few aisles to pick up on a marketing strategy: WalMart’s vendors strategically place “pillars of cheap junk food” around the outer perimeter of the store’s interior.

Vendors pay for that high-traffic real estate within the store, as explained by one of my coworkers, whose wife is a manager at WalMart.

junk food pillars WalMart

If I sound a little harsh regarding these strategically placed junk food pillars, let me give you some more quick background on me, because I feel it’s relevant to my passion behind this story.

I was one nervous little kid, from age 10 to age 12. I had anxiety issues, as well as constant digestion problems.

Fortunately, my own parents were open-minded enough to listen to good advice, and cut out red food dye (Red 40 and Carmine) from my diet.

What a lot of people here in America don’t realize about those petroleum and insect derived food dyes is that are banned in Europe.

A High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Food Dye Tour Of WalMart

So hopefully now it makes better sense why I am “outing” WalMart’s vendors for barricading the floor with junk food pillars.

See for yourself the next time you shop there.

I realize that other stores do this to, but I feel it’s taken to a whole new level at Walmart.

This is me inviting you to be in the know; just like I did back in 2009 when I pointed out the marketing scheme of fast food companies using the color combination of red and yellow in their logos to subconsciously control you like a traffic control light:

Yellow: “Slow down.”

Red: “Stop!”


What do you think? Do I know what I’m talking about here?

Is it safe to say that the vendors of many stores, WalMart serving as the epitome of them, surround the floor space with pillars of junk food, filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificially food dyes?

Tell me I’m not crazy. Most people say I am.

healthnutshell: Ketchup Vs. Mustard

What’s so fancy about ketchup, anyway?  I have faith in mustard seeds.

My dad always said, “You are who your friends are or you soon will be.”  That is indeed the case with both ketchup and mustard.  Though they are as much as a pair as salt and pepper, they tend to attract different “friends”.  Bottom line: Ketchup is a bad influence, but mustard is a role model.

On occasion, I have no problem enjoying some good fries that I know actually came from whole potatoes from a reputable restaurant (meaning they don’t have a drive-thru there).  Same thing with a good juicy burger that is hand-pattied.  And when that happens, that means ketchup is involved.  Other than that, I don’t eat ketchup.

Because ketchup, in most cases, is paired with unhealthy foods that are either processed or fried.  For me, it’s sort of disgusting to think about what ketchup really is: tomato concentrate, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, “spice”, and onion powder.

Tomato concentrate is processed tomatoes.  Vinegar is okay.  High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are both forms of processed sugar.  The rest of the ingredients are fine.

Ketchup is candy.  For a serving the size of one tablespoon, there are four grams of sugar.  But honestly, when I eat ketchup, I typically have a bit more than that.  For a typical serving of fries at a decent restaurant, it’s pretty easy to consume four tablespoons of ketchup with the fries alone.  That’s 12 grams of sugar, (one tablespoon of sugar) the equivalent to smoking one cigarette.

So my general rule of thumb is, I stay away from foods that are enhanced by ketchup.  Not only is ketchup really just candy sauce, but it attracts the wrong kinds of friends.  I don’t even keep ketchup in my fridge.

Mustard on the other hand is much more legit: Vinegar, water, mustard seeds, salt, turmeric, and paprika. None of those ingredients are processed.  In fact, there are actually health benefits of turmeric and paprika.

Tumeric– linked to possible benefits in arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, aids in digestion, is an anti-flammatory agent as well as an antibacterial agent

Paprika– rich in vitamin C (more than lemon juice) and high in antioxidants

Of course that doesn’t mean that I recommend eating a bottle of mustard a day in order to prevent diseases.  But compared side by side to ketchup, it’s pretty obvious that mustard is actually healthy to eat, whereas I can’t truly consider ketchup to be nutritious.

Mustard easily goes well with healthy foods.  People don’t put ketchup on a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.  That would be gross.  But mustard would be great.

Foods that go well with mustard- good.

Foods that go well with ketchup (or both ketchup and mustard)- watch out.

Choose this day whom you will follow, ketchup or mustard.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on ketchup, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one

healthnutshell: That’s Not Food

Why don’t beer companies have to put the nutritional facts label on their bottles like soft drink companies do?

My wife and I have a few sayings at our house that we shout at the TV when fast food commercials come on, like this one:  “That’s not food!”  There’s one for Steak N’ Shake where they advertise 4 meals for under $4 each.  These “meals” consisted of fried burgers on white bread with greasy fries and a sugary soda.  Recently my wife sarcastically reprimanded the TV when she saw that commercial:  “Yeah, because that’s a meal.”

As learned on one of our favorite documentaries ever, Food Inc., almost always  nutritious food costs more than unhealthy food.  Because unhealthy food (eaten for pleasure, mood enhancement, and/or convenience) isn’t really food.  And that’s why we tend to say “that’s not food!” in our house when we see something that’s an imposter.

By all means, I’ve been tempted for months now by Pizza Hut’s “any pizza, any toppings, $10” special.  What a deal.  But I also know that just a few slices would max out my sodium, fat, and sugar for the day.  If it seems to be too good of a deal, it probably isn’t food. I haven’t given in so far, and I’m beginning to think I won’t.

Last weekend my wife’s stomach was bothering her so I got her some ginger ale, which is supposed to be a good remedy.  It worked.  But the next day she was a little disappointed to see that an 8 ounce serving contains 24 grams of sugar (the health equivalent to smoking two cigarettes).  So that got us to thinking about other sodas.  Like dark colas and bright orange sodas.  More sugar, more artificial coloring, and loads of caffeine.

Beer and alcohol virtually contain no sugar because it converts alcohol.  I’m very cautious of eating or drinking things that I know were not consumed during Biblical times.  Jesus and his disciples drank wine, not grape juice (which is full of sugar).  They also didn’t drink sweat tea or chocolate milk, which often have much more sugar than soda.

Read “healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?”

And then the irony jumped out at us.  For sodas, a person can look on the label to see the nutritional value (or lack of it, or degenerate value).  But not for beer.  Beer only contains 4 ingredients (which are all natural) and when compared side by side for nutrition which I’ll do in a minute, is actually healthy for an adult, whereas soda never can be because of its sugary nature.

Read “healthnutshell: Barley into Beer”

It’s funny to imagine all the foods and drinks with a nutritional facts label on them, though they have the opposition of nutrition in them.  Yet drinking a beer or glass of wine a day is healthy for a person, but it’s not treated as food.  With a little help from Yahoo Answers, I found out why.  No big conspiracy, though.

1)     Because alcohol is involved, beer is not regulated by the FDA.  Alcoholic beverages are instead monitored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and they don’t require nutritional labels for products.

2)     In theory, all beer technically ever can be is the same four ingredients: water, yeast, barley, and hops.  Beer is beer.  It’s just brewed in different ways.  There’s no wonder what’s inside the bottle, unlike soda.

3)     General disinterest.  There have been no complaint letters from people wanting to know the nutritional value of the beer they drink.

4)     Technically there is no nutritional value.  Like tea.  Or water.

Here’s that side by side comparison:

12 oz. can of Coca Cola

Nutritional facts: 140 calories, 50 mg sodium, 39 grams of carbs, 39 grams of sugar

(over time is the equivalent of smoking 3.5 cigarettes)

Health benefits: none

Drug ingredient: caffeine

12 oz. bottle of Killian’s Irish Red

163 calories, 13 mg sodium, 13.8 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar

Health benefits: decreases risk of heart disease, improves bone density, flushes kidneys, reduces blood clotting

Drug ingredient: alcohol

They both have essentially the same number of calories.  But Coke contains about 3.5 tablespoons of sugar and unknown, unnatural, and unpronounceable ingredients.  Plus added caffeine, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Whereas Killian’s Irish Red has no sugar (it’s been naturally converted to alcohol) and contains only familiar, natural, and pronounceable ingredients.  Plus several health benefits, and that’s obviously a good thing.

As I mentioned earlier, cheap food with little to no nutrition almost always costs less than food that is actually good for the human body:

Cost of a 12 pack of Cokes: around $4

Cost of a 6 pack of Killian’s: around $6

Granted, not everyone can handle alcohol.  Whether they have a family history of alcoholism, an addictive personality, a lack of self-control, or a moral opposition (Baptist, Church of Christ, Mormon, Muslim, etc.). Fortunately, I don’t.

When I look at the comparison it’s pretty obvious which way I’m gonna go.  I choose the healthy option.  Knowing that too much of anything is never healthy.  “Drinking responsibly” takes on a whole new meaning.

No matter how you look at it, choosing what to drink is a moral decision.