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The Truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup

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Guest blogger Leanne Ely, CNC: Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. This rings true when it comes to what we eat and especially true when it comes to corn. Our diets are inundated with it, and the biggest offender is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In fact, the word on the street about this stuff is so bad they're trying to change their name to "corn sugar." We're not fooled, though, are we?

Corn syrup
So what's fact and what's fiction when it comes to HFCS? Princeton University did a study which evaluated the effects of giving rats the same amount of calories in sugar vs. HFCS, and the rats given HFCS gained more weight than their control group, which was fed cane sugar. Consider the following:
 
  • Genetically modified enzymes are used in the conversion of cornstarch into fructose and glucose. These enzymes can pose a health hazard.
  • HFCS is twice as sweet as sugar, while having no useful nutritional value. It contains no vitamins or minerals, and your body has to use its own microelements to even digest it. This can actually cause premature aging.
  • HFCS can elevate cholesterol levels along with scarring the walls of your arteries. It takes extra cholesterol to heal the scarring, which leads to plaque forming and blocking the arteries.
  • White blood cells can be slowed by HFCS, which causes the immune system to also respond more slowly.
  • The blood levels of chromium can be lowered by HFCS. Chromium levels that get too low can increase the chance of developing diabetes.
  • It interferes with the amount of insulin the pancreas releases. Insulin helps your body understand when it has eaten enough food. If your pancreas isn't producing enough insulin, you may eat a lot more food than you need. When done too many times, this can lead to obesity. 
The fact that HFCS can be found in almost everything is more scary than the latest Stephen King novel. Some ways to avoid HFCS are to:
 
  • Stop drinking soda.
  • Read labels.
  • Avoid fast foods. 
  • Avoid highly processed foods.
  • Avoid many fruit juices.
  • Avoid many "diet" foods.
  • Did I mention "Read labels"? 
  • Cook your own food.
  • Avoid the packaged stuff. 
So now that you know better, you can choose better. There is good news: More and more whole-foods manufacturers are starting to realize how truly bad HFCS is. If we as consumers stop buying the items that contain HCFS, perhaps its use will go the way of the dinosaur. 

The best place for you to make a difference and get this stuff out of your food is by simply not buying products that contain it. Remember: We vote with our wallets, and that is how we effect change.

Leanne Ely is the New York Times bestselling author of "Body Clutter" and the "Saving Dinner" series. Her "Dinner Diva" syndicated column appears in 250 newspapers nationwide. Learn how to cook great and save significant money with the Dinner Diva's menus, recipes and shopping lists at www.savingdinner.com.


next: All I Want for Christmas Is a Tummy Tuck
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anon November 21, 2010, 6:47 AM

This makes sense to me. I’ve lived in other countries where they didn’t use corn syrup. I ate plenty of products containing sugar and fat and lost weight.

Kristen November 21, 2010, 11:41 PM

High fructose corn syrup needs to be either limited or banned completely. In the EU the preservatives BHT and BHA have been banned for quite some time because they are known cancer causing agents. When are we going to start demanding that corrupt CEO’s stop putting harmful things into our food system. The FDA seems to be able to be bought…….the entire system needs an overhaul. I for one have stopped purchasing ANYTHING that contains BHA/BHT or high fructose corn syrup.

Peyton November 22, 2010, 10:45 PM

I agree. Why is it that Yoplait makes yogurt in France and Germany using REAL sugar but resort to HFCS in the USA? Do we really need HFCS in bread? Ketchup? “Healthy” cereal (think Kellogg’s Special K or Corn Flakes).


As a result I spend and extra 15-20 minutes in the grocery store reading labels to ensure the family gets a little HFCS a possible.

Kristen November 22, 2010, 11:23 PM

Peyton you want to know why yoplait uses sugar in those countries…….because the gov’t in those countries understand very clearly that if companies are not made to do something they will ALWAYS choose the bottom line over people……companies don’t care, they have to be made to care, something our gov’t doesn’t seem to understand.

sarah December 2, 2010, 6:26 PM

Please tell me that others who have read this have actually done some research on their own about HFCS and have not just relied upon this author? Her facts are unsupported, she described table sugar! HFCS and table sugar are chemically similar with table sugar being 50/50 glucose and fructose and HFCS being 42/55 glucose to fructose. Obesity comes from people eating more sugar, not the type of sugar they eat. Sugar is sugar - look at the research. Long term studies have not been conducted as of yet to show if HFCS is worse than sucrose so there is no definitive scientific evidence for these outlandish claims.

pharmacy tech December 17, 2010, 7:58 PM

found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

jamie January 19, 2011, 2:43 PM

Sarah and the author have it wrong! The Liver has no idea what to do with HFCS so stores it as fat. The health industry says that more than 55% of the population has what is termed as “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” ( also known as Cirrhosis/scarring ) from ingesting this c-h-e-m-i-c-a-l. Our bodies are organic and thus not able to process c-h-e-m-i-c-a-l-s….so I’d love to meet these “microelements” that help to digest HFCS. Sarah, please read the process of creating HFCS in large vats ……and then go check out a sugar cane growing in a field. There is a world of difference in the composition and in the creating of the sweeteners. One is organic while the other is a chemical process. You have been hoodwinked, bamboozled and in all reality given over your autonomy and personal authority to those in power.

Only today I was speaking with a very bright doctor that admitted the Corn Growers Association probably has a lot to do with there being very little “scientific” research on HFCS, and, that the epidemic of gastro diseases are more than likely linked to HFCS and other chemical additives in our ( and I use this term loosely ) “Food” supply.

I broke my gallbladder on the junk and am now the proud owner of Chronic Pancreatitis and a disability that prevents me from having a life.

Keep eating that garbage ( in moderation of course ) and just watch those thighs develop thunder….along with a plethora of health issues related to digestion. The Liver makes cholesterol out of whatever it has on hand so if you’ve been eating a lot of HFCS laced products then expect an inflamed gallbladder.
This is a CRIME, people, and our children are the victims. Demand an Inquiry!


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