High Fructose Corn Syrup: HFCS

High Fructose Corn Syrup health effects

HFCS permeates our food supply; we couldn’t avoid it if we tried. It appears in almost all processed foods, all kinds of soft drinks, almost all commercial baked goods, salad dressings, soups, yogurt and many, many more.

This is important to know since high fructose corn syrup really does some bad things to our health not to mention our waistline. But first, what is HFCS?

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup; HFCS?

HFCS is corn syrup has had it’s glucose content converted to fructose by an enzymatic process, then the fructose is mixed with pure corn syrup which is 100% glucose.

It raises the question as to why go to the bother of converting the glucose in corn syrup into fructose only to mix it with more corn syrup? The answer is that it is a cheaper process and easier to control the degree of sweetness by mixing controlled amounts of fructose with pure glucose.

Food companies have been doing this for over 50 years since the process was first developed in 1957. Today all almost all soft drinks contain HFCS that is 55% fructose and 45% glucose and a huge amount of commercially processed food and baked goods use an HFCS that is 42% fructose and 58% glucose. OK, so why should anyone care?

Another reason to care is that consumption of all that refined sugar programs our brain to want more and more of it. We grow to crave it.
Rather than go into all that detail here, go to Sugar Cravings where Colleen has done the work by creating a whole page on why we have sugar cravings and what we can do about it?

High Fructose Corn Syrup Dangers

In yet another rat study, after six months on a high-fructose diet, the rats showed signs of developing leptin resistance.

After switching to a high fat diet from the high-fructose diet, the rats gained more weight that those without leptin resistance and who had not been fed a high-fructose diet.

What do the Corn Refiners think?

Studies funded by a large corn refiner disputed all the findings in the rat studies. Their study showed that high fructose corn syrup didn’t contribute to obesity any more than other sweeteners.

Another study found no difference between blood glucose, insulin levels, leptin or ghrelin levels due to consumption of HFCS or any other energy sources. These studies would probably have more credibility if they weren’t funded by the corn refiners.

Contributor to Diabetes?

Insulin and the pancreas brings us the the diabetes question. Studies have shown that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS instead of sucrose (table sugar), are often ten times higher in harmful carbonyl compounds.

These are chemicals that have been found to be elevated in people with diabetes and are implicated in many of the collateral damage of diabetes such as foot ulcers and eye and nerve damage.

The Mercury Issue

Another concern is that some HFCS produced in the U.S. a few years ago contained trace amounts of mercury. The mercury apparently came from chemicals used to manufacture high fructose corn syrup.

About half of the samples tested contained mercury concentrations between .012 ug/g to .57 ug/g.

What to do?

Common sense seems to dictate that sugar in any refined or processed form is either burned as energy or stored as fat and in today’s sedentary society, the latter is the more likely outcome. With fructose, fat accumulation is a rock-solid certainty.

In 2004, the average intake of high fructose corn syrup per person was 63 pounds per year; undoubtedly it’s a lot higher now. At a minimum, it is prudent for optimal health to limit our consumption of processed foods, especially foods that contain added sugar in any form.

Cut out soda and sports drinks, including diet sodas; not only for the HFCS content but also the phosphoric acid content, but that’s another story. How about a nice drink of filtered water instead?

Fresh fruit and vegetables is highly more preferable than the canned stuff in its heavy, sweetened syrup or canned veggies in a solution of preservatives and salt.

Fruit is good because it has fiber along with the sugar.

Finally, get smart on what is happening to our food supply and shop, cook and eat accordingly.