What’s high fructose corn syrup doing in your Bloody Mary?

Dear Judy,

I see cane sugar on your nutrition label, but lots of other Bloody Mary mixes use high fructose corn syrup instead. What’s the difference?

Sincerely yours,

Sweetie Pie

Dear Sweetie,

I’m not gonna pull any punches here. HFCS is the worst. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) turns on your fat-storing hormones and is a major contributor to obesity, diabetes, fatty-liver disease, and more. Food manufacturers love it because it’s one of the cheapest sweeteners around, so they can fatten up their wallets as quickly as they’re fattening up your waistline. You may have heard that HFCS is the same as sugar — but it’s NOT.

For one thing, HFCS makes you feel like you can’t satisfy your hunger.  You have a hormone called ghrelin that tells you when you’re hungry, and another one called leptin that tells you when you’re full. A study done at the University of Pennsylvania found that fructose does not suppress  ghrelin the way sugar does. Women who ate fructose instead of sugar had higher ghrelin levels throughout the day, overnight, and into the next day. To put it simply, these women felt like they were starving all day, because of the fructose. And, HFCS somehow tricks the body into not releasing leptin, the “stop eating” hormone.  So thanks to HFCS, you’ll continue to consume more calories — even 24 hours later — than you would had you just eaten plain table sugar.

So back to your question. There are less expensive Bloody Marys out there for sure: Zing Zang, Mr. & Mrs. T, Jimmy Luv’s, Lyle Style, Finest Call, Ocean Spray…but the reason they cost less is because they use high fructose corn syrup. Portland Bloody Mary Mix doesn’t.  Believe me, I could make a lot more profit using cheap processed ingredients, but as a healthcare professional, a mom, and a native Oregonian, I’m super picky about everything that goes into my mix. Think of it this way, Sweetie my friend: you’ll pay more for Portland Bloody Mary Mix, but you’ll save money on groceries, diet pills, and doctor visits!