Lately, I've seen a couple of commercials on TV that have truly blown me away. Will they stop at nothing to make more money at the cost of killing us? It's truly insane! I need to rant about this, so hold onto your hats people, here comes a good one!

You've seen it, the commercial where they try to convince you that high-fructose corn syrup is actually healthy because it comes from corn. Here's the painful and unhealthy truth: High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener and preservative. It is made by changing (chemically modifying) the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar. The end product is a combination of fructose and glucose.

Because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods. In fact, it is more difficult to find a product it is not in, rather than finding one it is. You need to read the labels of your food and avoid this one whenever possible.

BIG FAT LIE ALERT: According to the Corn Refiners Association, high-fructose corn syrup contains the same amount of calories as cane and beet sugar, is metabolized by the body the same way as these sweeteners are, and is an all-natural product.

Their current ad campaign insists that high-fructose corn syrup is just like honey, which is made by enzymes in a bee's abdomen -- as opposed to the enzymes and acids in centrifuges, ion exchange columns and liquid chromatographers used to make high-fructose corn syrup. You do the math peeps. Does that sound anywhere near all-natural? How stupid do they think we are?

High-fructose corn syrup is indeed similar to cane sugar in that it is about 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The American Medical Association issued a statement explaining that "high-fructose syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners" ... but they also said that "consumers [should] limit the amount of all added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily." Most sodas contain about 40 grams of high-fructose corn syrup.

The truth is, scientists have linked the rising high-fructose corn syrup consumption to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various health dangers associated with the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup compared to regular sugar. This is why the corn industry is now scrambling to save face and profits – NOT because it’s really okay to consume an average of 59 pounds a year of this stuff.

It's bad for you, plain and simple! Read your labels and avoid it whenever possible! Got it?

This commercial truly makes me want to scream! The one where General Mills shows their line-up of kid cereals and tells you they are good for your children. Listen to me, people! You can take crap and fortify it with vitamins and all you have is fortified crap. That is what they are trying to sell you. Please, do not fall for it!

New research confirms what consumers have long known -- most breakfast cereals advertised to children are full of sugar. Cereals marketed to kids have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60 percent more sodium than those aimed at adults. In fact, the least nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children, such as Reese's Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap' n Crunch. The 10 worst breakfast cereals based on nutrition score are:

1. Kellogg - Corn Pops (or Pops) - Chocolate Peanut Butter
2. Quaker - Cap'n Crunch - w/ Crunchberries
3. Kellogg - Special K - Chocolatey Delight
4. Kellogg - Special K - Blueberry
5. General Mills - Reese's Puffs
6. General Mills - Fiber One - Caramel Delight
7. Kellogg - Cocoa Krispies - Choconilla
8. General Mills - Golden Grahams
9. General Mills - Cinnamon Toast Crunch
10. Kellogg - Corn Pops

I would steer clear of any sugary cereal and go more towards oatmeal, eggs, whole wheat pancakes, etc. You can add fresh fruit, honey, cinnamon, and/or yogurt to sweeten the dish. You'd be surprised at how your kids will love this, especially if you start them out young with these healthy choices.

I will stop now with my rant, but rest assured I will be back in the future with more. I can't help myself; as long as I continue to see this type of deceptive advertising, I will continue my attempt to expose it for the garbage it is and tell the truth instead.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Don't forget to check out my weekly Fitness Column in the SunConnect that comes out every Wednesday. It's called "The Trainer's Edge" and I am quite pleased and proud to have this opportunity to write and be heard. Please be sure and check it out and tell all your friends about it! Thanks so much!!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

Bathing suit season is upon us once again, so why not focus on the development of the proverbial six pack. What better exercise for that than the good old abdominal crunch done right!

Basic Abdominal Floor Crunch
Primary Muscle Group Worked:

To see a video of this exercise go to: my youtube ab crunch vid.

Preparation: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands lightly on either side of your head, keeping your elbows back and barely in you peripheral vision throughout the move. Don't lock your fingers behind your head! Push the small of your back into the floor throughout the move to better isolate your ab muscles.

Execution: Exhale as you roll your shoulders off the floor. Your shoulders should come up off the floor only about 3-4 inches, and your lower back should remain on the floor. Focus on slow, controlled movement. Again, remember to exhale as you come up and pause at the top of the move before slowly returning to the start position and repeat for desired amount of reps.

Tip: Envision an accordion-type contraction with your abs. Don't let head touch floor between reps. Don't lurch with head or neck; keep same distance between chin and chest throughout the exercise. Pretend you are holding an orange there.

Go slow. Do Not Rush This. Exhale on the up move and don't touch your head to the floor between reps. Do this right and reap the benefits of stronger, defined abs. Do it sloppy and waste your time. You do the math.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video really struck home with me because we often forget that it does matter how we act. It matters how we behave. And it matters that there are children in all our lives who may emulate our actions. If for no other reason than that, we should strive to think before we act and act as if we care.

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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