Monday, November 7, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup

"High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness.  Critics of the extensive use of HFCS in food sweetening argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions, and that in some foods HFCS may be a source of mercury, a known neurotoxin."  Wikipedia
Photo from Princeton University

In case you haven't noticed, HFCS is in LOTS of things you buy in the store.  Check the ingredients on your cereal, salad dressing, tomato products, soda, yogurt, soup, cookies, etc.  It is important to limit your intake of any kind of sugar but HFCS is something that really raises some eyebrows.  Anything that is created in a lab and approved by the FDA as "safe to consume" raises my eyebrows.

Why was High Fructose Corn Syrup created?  Well, it was created in the 1960s.  Then, in the 1970s, sugar prices rose so the food industry started replacing table sugar with HFCS in processed food.  Humans have been consuming regular table sugar for many, many years and have only been consuming HFCS for about 40 years so the effects of it aren't clear.  Are we the test pilots for this sweetener?  I think so.

One website noted, "In 1983, a beverage analyst estimated that by switching to high-fructose corn syrup, Coca-Cola gained a cost advantage of USD 70 million a year over Pepsi and its bottlers. A year later, Pepsi followed in Coke’s footsteps and also began using the artificial sweetener. "  So, we see that just like the arsenic chicken, it was created for profit....and it doesn't profit your health.  That same website also stated, "Because there are no enzymes to digest high fructose corn syrup, it is metabolized by the liver. ... An overworked liver produces significantly more uric acid, multiplying the risk for heart disease."

High Fructose Corn Syrup was once marketed as "natural."  According to MSNBC, "Natural is relative, so think of it this way: HFCS would not exist without the aid of humans. (Of course, neither would table sugar.) "You don't just squeeze it out of a kernel of corn," explains Jacobson. The sweetener is made from cornstarch via a process that alters corn's naturally occurring starch molecules. For that reason, Jacobson and CSPI protested an early version of the Corn Refiners Association ads that used the term natural in reference to HFCS. Eventually, he says, they took out the word "because it's not natural — it's highly processed."

Aside from the chemical concerns I have with HFCS, I found an interesting article from Princeton University.  According to them, HFCS leds to obesity faster than regular table sugar.  The scientists conducted several studies giving rats sugar water or HFCS mixed with water along with their regular rat chow.  The rats given High Fructose Corn Syrup in their water gained a considerable amount of weight. 
""These rats aren't just getting fat; they're demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides," said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. "In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes." ...The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity."  Princeton
Keep in mind...
"It's prudent to consume any added sugar only in moderation. Consider these tips to cut back:
  • Avoid sugary ... sodas. Drink water or other unsweetened beverages instead.
  • Choose breakfast cereals carefully. Although healthy breakfast cereals can contain added sugar to make them more appealing to children, skip the non-nutritious, sugary and frosted cereals.
  • Eat fewer processed and packaged foods, such as sweetened grains like cookies and cakes and ... microwaveable meals.
  • Snack on vegetables, fruit, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, and [plain] yogurt instead of candy, pastries and cookies." edited by me   Mayo Clinic
 There is sooo much information to read about High Fructose Corn Syrup that it can be overwhelming.  The one thing I learned from all my research is cut it out.   Your body does not need to try to digest HFCS.  Don't be a test pilot.  Be informed.

No comments:

Post a Comment