HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

This has been my LONGEST research project to date for this blog.  And I am SOOO excited to finally publish it!  It ended up being broken up into 3 parts.

We have all heard about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and the effects of it on our health.  We’ve even seen the lengths the corn industry will go spending millions on commercials trying to convince us this product is safe.  But ….

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

coke-high-fructose-corn-syrup

FACTS:

  1. Simply put it is a liquid sweetener similar to sugar.  As the name implies, HFCS comes from corn, not sugarcane or sugar beets.
  2. It was created in the late 1960s and has found its way into hundreds and hundreds of processed foods.
  3. It is popular among food manufacturers because it’s cheaper than sugar.
  4. According to a commentary in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, between 1970 and 1990, the consumption of HFCS increased over 1,000 percent {source: diabeteshealth.com}
  5. Food manufacturers are coming up with clever ways to add sugar into your food under different names such as maltodextrin
  6. It can increase insulin resistance
  7. HFCS foods are almost always a marker for low quality, nutrient depleted, processed foods

There is a lot of controversy about HFCS and whether it’s worse for you than regular sugar.  I came across a few sites I found very helpful.  An article written by Dr. Mark Hyman and his experience as a physician with HFCS and an article at Diabetes Health and the effects of fructose on insulin levels for diabetics.   http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2008/08/20/4274/the-dangers-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/)

HOW FRUCTOSE AND GLUCOSE ARE METABOLIZED:

HFCS is a blend of  glucose and fructose (the amounts vary depending on the product).  The body’s liver has 2 choices when it comes across glucose:  convert it into triglycerides or store it as fat.  When the liver encounters glucose, it decides whether the body needs to store it, burn it for energy or turn it into triglycerides. Whereas, the fructose seems to bypass the process and go straight to fat.

A Texas study found just that in 2008.  The study appears in the Journal of Nutrition, and shows how the body converts fructose “with surprising speed”.  It found that glucose and fructose are metabolized differently. {source: Parker-Pope}

While I am no expert on this subject (or any other for that matter), I am just trying to gain an understanding and knowledge of what these products are doing to us.  Again, you’ll see on my blog time and time again EUROPE has banned HFCS in their products (among many other ingredients the US feels are still safe).

Now keep in mind…. where do you seem to find HFCS the most?  It’s in the non-fat and low-fat versions to compensate for the lack of flavor when the fat is removed.  Are any of you old enough to remember the whole NON FAT movement that swept this country?  It was all over the morning new shows about how to consume less calories if we eat all these NON FAT products.  And boy did we ever!!!  We thought in our genius minds if it didn’t have any calories we could consume three times the amount, and so we did.  I still remember eating Nabisco’s Snackwells by the box!  ugh!  Unfortunately some people still feel non fat and low fat is the way to go when watching calories, but at what cost?  We seem to think (or hopefully thought) that all calories are created equal when this simply is NOT the case.  Any food that has HFCS is a highly processed food, void of any nutritional value.  We are consuming these foods at alarming rates!!  Stay away from them if you want to stay healthy.  Eat real unprocessed foods.

Our lives, no doubt, have become busier and busier and the food industry has jumped to the rescue by making our lives easier and easier.  We don’t need to mash our own potatoes anymore, they come in a powdered dehydrated form in a box.  We don’t have to go through the trouble of making noodles with cheese, we have powdered cheese enzymes for that!  With all this convenience is a heavy price.  The price is in our waist bands, it’s in our arteries, it’s in our visits to the Drs office, our health care… our health care is so out of control now we have OBAMA care.  Really?  Is that the price we have paid?  We can do better than this!  If you want to stay healthy you have to eat healthy.

Click here for a list of foods that DO NOT contain HFCS.  Be sure to print it out and bring it with you to the grocery store!

What to do?

  • Be a label reader and avoid foods that are heavily processed.
  • If HFCS is listed as one of the main ingredients, make another choice.
  • Take the time and educate yourself on spotting the worst culprits like soda, fruit juices, syrups,canned fruits, condiments, cereals.
  • Jillian Michaels was right when she said ” if it doesn’t have a mother or come from the ground, don’t eat it!”  The more fresh, real food you eat the less you will be consuming products with HFCS in them.

RESOURCES:

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Comments

  1. Margaret McCoy says:

    Looking forward to trying your homemade dressings. When reading dressing labels in store its a sad affair !!

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