High Fructose Corn Syrup
Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Was Introduced Into Our Food System and Why We Continue To Eat It / Does High Fructose Corn Sugar Compare To Sugar And Other Sweeteners? / High Fructose Corn Syrup Bans Around The World / The Risks of Consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup / Tips To Decrease Your High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake / How You Can Help Get The Word Out
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
If you read the paper, watch the news, or pick up the occasional magazine then chances are, you’ve heard a bit of the controversy about High Fructose Corn Syrup.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sweetener. It’s used in a surprising number of foods ranging from crackers and lunchmeat to sauces, cereals, and sodas. It’s a processed food made from a couple of different ingredients, which we will describe in a bit more detail in the first chapter.
A Sugar of Many Names
High Fructose Corn Syrup is the common name for the sweetener in the United States. However, in other countries it has a different name. It’s important to be able to identify its various names so you can make educated decisions about your food choices wherever you are.
- High-fructose corn syrup is called glucose/fructose in Canada.
- It’s called glucose–fructose syrup (GFS) in Europe.
- It’s also referred to as high-fructose maize syrup in other countries
You may also be surprised to know that there are different types of HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup.
In general, High Fructose Corn Syrup is consists of 24% water and 76% sugars. The most widely used varieties of HFCS are:
- HFCS 55 (mostly used in soft drinks) which is approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose
- HFCS 42 (used in beverages, processed foods, cereals and baked goods), approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose
- HFCS-90, approximately 90% fructose and 10% glucose, is used in small quantities for specialty applications, but primarily is used to blend with HFCS 42 to make HFCS 55.
What’s It All Mean? A Quick Look at the Production Process
All this fructose and glucose can get confusing. It’s all sugar, after all. So what’s the big deal?
Let’s break it down into the two primary components of High Fructose Corn Syrup and start with Fructose. Fructose, as you may know, is a natural simple sugar. You’ll find it in plants including fruits and vegetables. The sweeter the plant, the more fructose it has in it.
The other simple sugar that’s readily available in plants and necessary for energy in the human body is glucose. Fructose and glucose have the same type of atoms, which include Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen, but they’re combined differently and in different amounts. And when you combine fructose with glucose, the results is sucrose, which is your basic table sugar.
So Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar that your body can easily break down and convert into energy. It prefers glucose but with a little extra effort it can manage fructose just fine. Now let’s look at Corn Syrup.
Corn syrup is made from corn starch. There's no fructose in corn syrup, only glucose. To make High Fructose Corn Syrup, the manufacturer adds several different enzymes into the corn syrup.
The enzyme turns glucose into fructose. The entire process requires several different steps. The eventual result is a syrup that is about 90 percent fructose.
So we went from corn to corn starch to corn syrup or glucose to almost exclusive fructose. This fructose is then blended with glucose syrup to create the different types of High Fructose Corn Syrup
The resulting syrup generally contains approximately 42% fructose and is called HFCS 42. More glucose is added and you have HFCS 55 which has 55% fructose.
However, you may be hard pressed to get an actual fructose percentage when you look at any given product and manufacturers seem to be reluctant to make the fructose percentage in their foods public.
For example, does soda have 55% fructose in their HFCS or 42% or something entirely different? Many tests have been run to determine the fructose amount in various products and they tend to find a wide variety of percentages.
So Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup So Controversial?
If it’s just sugar and different blends of sugar, what’s all the fuss about High Fructose Corn Syrup?
The truth is that there are many shocking effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup that we’re only just beginning to understand. The processing of sugar creates something that is not seen in nature. Our bodies, as studies are showing, just don’t know how to deal with HFCS. The result is an obesity epidemic like the world just hasn’t seen.
While there are many people who say that the problem is the mass consumption of sugar in general and not merely the consumption of HFCS, studies are showing that isn’t the case. In Chapter Five we’ll dig deep into these studies and further explore the potential dangers of HFCS.
Additionally, high fructose corn syrup is made from a genetically modified substance — corn. Genetically modified organisms, GMO’s, are banned in Europe and many other countries for a number of reasons including the potential risks that these unstudied organisms may have on health and the environment.
Genetically modified organisms are treated with DNA from other plants, fungus, and even animals to create plants that taste sweeter, are herbicide resistant, temperature resistant, and drought resistant and produce their own insecticides.
Like all GMOs, genetically modified sweet corn has not been thoroughly tested to ensure that it is safe for consumption. A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows that GMO corn and other GM food is contributing to the obesity epidemic and causing organ disruption.
This study, http://www.ijbs.com/v05p0706.htm, found that GMO corn fed to mice led to an increase in overall body weight of about 3.7 percent, while also increasing the weight of the liver by up to 11 percent.
And if this isn’t bad enough news, there have been multiple studies that demonstrate a high level of mercury can be found in foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Mercury is a toxin that doesn’t leave your body. Your body cannot process it and mercury toxicity leads to neurological damage.
So if High Fructose Corn Syrup is making people obese, sick, and killing them slowly then why are we using it? That’s what we’ll take a look at in the first chapter. Then we’ll explore:
- How Does High Fructose Corn Sugar Compare To Sugar And Other Sweeteners?
- High Fructose Corn Syrup Bans Around The World
- The Risks of Consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Tips To Decrease Your High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake
- How You Can Help Get The Word Out
Let’s get started!
An Explanation...Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Was Introduced Into Our Food System and Why We Continue To Eat It
You already know that enzymes turn the glucose in corn syrup into fructose. This discovery was made in 1957. High Fructose Corn Syrup was produces as a food ingredient in Japan in the late 1960s. It made its way into the American Food Supply in the 1970s.
HFCS was first introduced by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi in 1957. It was later industrialised in Japan by Dr. Yoshiyuki Takasaki. He worked at the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology of Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan.
He made the production process quick and easy and by the early 1970s High Fructose Corn Syrup was making its way into our food. Between 1975 to 1985 the process really took off and became the primary source of sweetener in foods.
But Why? What Makes HFCS So Useful?
HFCS is a desirable food ingredient for food manufacturers because it is equally as sweet as table sugar, blends well with other foods, helps foods to maintain a longer shelf life, and is less expensive.
It’s All About The Money
Sugar from sugar cane and sugar beets is expensive. In 1997 the United States imposed a system of sugar tariffs and sugar quotas. This significantly increased the cost of imported sugar and US food producers sought cheaper sources of sweeteners.
HFCS produced from corn is more affordable because the domestic US prices of sugar are two to three times the global price of sugar and the price of corn is kept low through government subsidies that paid to corn farmers. (Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20070927203158/http://www.iatp.org/iatp/factsheets.cfm?accountID=258&refID=89968)
These subsidies make corn cheap and easy to grow. This makes High Fructose Corn Syrup cheaper to manufacture. Food makers can use HFCS instead of table sugar, sucrose, to sweeten their product. It lasts longer on the shelf. It’s sweeter, and it’s cheaper too. If you’re a food processor, you just can’t beat High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Better, Easier, and More Affordable for Manufacturers
Normally, corn syrup isn't very sweet. But once the glucose has been converted into high-fructose corn syrup, it's very sweet. It’s often considered sweeter than sugar. This makes it very appealing to those who are consuming the foods. As previously discussed, our taste buds are designed to like sugar.
High Fructose Corn Syrup also mixes better with other liquids and materials. For example, it’s much easier to add HFCS to sodas than pure sugar, which needs to dissolve. Additionally, High Fructose Corn Syrup acts as a preservative, which is why HFCS is now added to some meats and dairy products.
A Drastic Change In Diet (And the Global Implications)
All of this has meant a drastic change in the diets of people around the world. “In 1970, more than 83 percent of sweetener consumed in the United States was sucrose. By 1997, that number had dropped to 43 percent, and the rest of the sweetener being consumed -- about 57 percent -- was HFCS.” (Source: OUKosher.org/index.php/common/article/2489)
Changes to the American diet aren’t the only changes. HFCS has found its way into the food supply of many countries including Mexico, Japan, and countries in Europe. Around the world, these same countries have experienced an explosion in obesity rates. And obesity is a known cause for many deadly diseases including diabetes and heart disease.
This correlation cannot help but force people ask, “What is the connection between High Fructose Corn Syrup and obesity?”
Before we explore the implications of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the United States and abroad, and the implications, let’s take a quick look at how High Fructose Corn Syrup compares to other sweeteners. This may provide a better understanding of how sugars work in the body, how they provide fuel, and how they’re broken down.
How Does High Fructose Corn Sugar Compare To Sugar And Other Sweeteners?
Before we can fully dive into the evidence supporting the risks of consuming high fructose corn syrup, it’s important to understand how it compares to other sugars and sweeteners.
You already know that high fructose corn syrup comes from creating corn starch from corn, creating glucose from that corn starch, and then breaking the glucose into fructose by adding enzymes. It’s cheaper than pure sugar. But is it lower in calories? Is it sweeter?
Let’s take a look.
Why Add Sugars and Sweeteners?
The easiest answer to this question is, “Because it tastes good.” We’re designed to like sugar. We’ve evolved to seek fruit from trees. We’re not the only ones.
“Monkeys and apes spend their days in the forest searching for ripe fruit. They have been selected to prefer sweet, ripe fruit over unripe, bitter fruit because it has higher sugar content and supplies more ready energy. Ripe fruit also has more water, which can be hard to find high in the canopy. (Source: http://www.livescience.com/2276-love-sweet-life.html)
Our taste buds are designed to like sugar. And it seems we just can’t get enough of it. Sweeteners and sugar are added to just about everything we eat, from crackers and bread to milk and lunchmeat – it takes a bit of work to find something without added sugar.
When we eat foods containing natural sugars, like fruit, these foods also include vitamins, minerals, and fibre – things that are good for us. However, when we eat foods with added sugar, like soft drinks, the foods have no nutritional value. They’re referred to as “empty calories.”
Beyond The Delicious Taste
In addition to providing flavour to our food, sweeteners help maintain freshness in foods. They act as a preservative in jams and jellies. And they work to preserve food by providing fuel for fermentation in foods like bread and pickles.
Where Do Other Sugars and Sweeteners Come From?
You already know that some sweeteners and sugars are processed. Others, like the glucose in fruit, occur naturally. Let’s look at the various sweeteners we consume in everyday life.
Sucrose, aka table sugar, is made from a low-sugar beet juice or sugar cane. Its glucose and fructose. Sucrose includes:
- Raw sugar, which is granulated, solid, or coarse, is tan or brown in colour. When the moisture from the juice of the sugar cane evaporates, you’re left with raw sugar. Brown sugar is made from the sugar crystals from molasses syrup.
- Confectioner's sugar, aka powdered sugar, is finely ground sucrose.
- Turbinado sugar is unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice. It’s coarse and also tan in colour.
- Sucrose also forms both light and dark brown sugar.
Many foods are sweetened with what are called sugar alcohols. They’re made from fermenting. Sugar alcohols include:
- Mannitol, this sugar alcohol has been known to produce a laxative effect when eaten in large amounts.
- Sorbitol is used in many dietetic food products because it’s absorbed slowly into the body and doesn’t cause blood pressure spikes. It is produced from glucose and is also found naturally in certain berries and fruits. It has about half the calories of sugar.
- Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that’s found in fruit and fermented foods. It has fewer calories than sugar and is less sweet - 60 - 70% as sweet as table sugar. It’s also commonly preferred because it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and doesn’t cause stomach upset.
You’ll find many of the sugar alcohols in products made for diabetics.
Other types of natural sugars include:
- Dextrose which is glucose combined with water.
- Agave nectar is a processed sugar made from the Agave tequiliana plant. It is primarily glucose and fructose sugars. Agave nectar is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is often substituted for honey or sugar in recipes.
- Maltose is produced during fermentation and is found in beer and breads.
- Maple sugar comes from the sap of maple trees.
- Molasses is taken from the residue of sugar cane processing.
- Honey is produced from bees
- Coconut Sugar, made from the sap of cocount trees
The Fundamental Side Effects of Sugar
Despite the great taste, there are some things we know for sure. We know that sugar in and of itself, provides no nutrients. It only provides calories. And if you talk to your dentist then you know sugar directly leads to tooth decay.
We also know that sugar has been linked as a significant cause of:
Sugar also causes spikes in blood sugar levels which ultimately plummet and cause people to crave more sugar so that they feel like they have more energy. Sugar cravings often turn into a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to insulin resistance and the diseases and conditions already mentions. Additionally, sugar alcohols can cause a laxative effect.
Which Is Sweeter?
The relative sweetness of High Fructose Corn Syrup 55 is comparable to table sugar, meaning they taste basically the same in your mouth. HFCS 90 is sweeter than sucrose and HFCS 42 is less sweet than sucrose.
HFCS is cheaper, easier to blend into foods, and it’s easier to transport. It’s a food processor’s dream ingredient. It makes people enjoy their foods more, because they’re sweeter. It helps lengthen the shelf life of the food. And it’s cheaper to produce and transport than table sugar. And because it’s made from corn it can be called ‘natural’ which means people who avoid artificial sweeteners and “chemicals’ won’t be deterred.
All of this has changed the way we eat and the way food is produced. In fact, 1970 to 2000 there has been a 25% increase in "added sugars.” (Source: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/895.full.pdf)
In fact, as the price for fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy continue to rise, the cost of processed foods continues to decrease. It makes sense then that budget minded families and individuals choose processed foods over the natural foods. And unfortunately these processed foods are packed with additives including high fructose corn syrup and the consequences are dire.
Extreme Side Effects from HFCS?
There are many convincing studies and arguments that HFCS is to blame for the obesity epidemic along with a large number of other conditions, including depression. In fact, the evidence is so compelling that many countries has completely banned high fructose corn syrup from their food.
The effect that HFCS has on your mood, happiness and energy levels is extreme and by cutting this down and then out of your diet will significantly improve your experience of life,
High Fructose Corn Syrup Bans Around The World
Before we dive into the ban on High Fructose Corn Syrup in other countries it’s important to clear a few things up.
#1 High Fructose Corn Syrup is banned in Europe.
#2 High Fructose Isn’t Banned For the Reasons You Might Think
Let’s take a look at the various reasons why countries have banned high fructose corn syrup.
In the European Union glucose-fructose syrup, aka HFCS is subject to a production quota. This means that they cannot produce more than a specific amount of high fructose corn syrup in any given year. For example, in 2005, the quota was set at 303,000 tons.
If you remember, the United States has production quotas as well. Their production quotas are for sugar, which when combined with the corn subsidies for farmers, makes HFCS a cheaper product.
The production quota for high fructose corn syrup in Europe is intended to ensure fair agricultural and economic development across all countries in the union. It wasn’t developed as a response to health concerns.
The EU quota was first established in 2005, then amended in 2007, and further amended in 2011. Each amendment has allowed for greater production as a response to demand for HFCS.
Additionally, much of the world is concerned about the impact of genetically modified foods. Because much of the corn produced in the US is genetically modified, exports of high-fructose corn syrup made from these strains of corn are subject to bans in some countries.
While the European Union technically does not ban genetically modified foods, GMO foods do require approvals and, as of 2011, only a few strains of genetically modified crops have approval for import into Europe.
European countries aren’t the only countries that have regulations regarding high Fructose Corn Syrup.
- Japan - In Japan, HFCS consumption accounts for one quarter of total sweetener consumption. (Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20070927203158/http://www.iatp.org/iatp/factsheets.cfm?accountID=258&refID=89968)
- Sweden - And some countries don’t use the sweetener in their own food supply but they do export it to other countries. For example, Sweden doesn’t use it but they export it to Hungary. ) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/11/27/global-high-fructose-corn-syrup-use-may-be-fueling-diabetes-increase/)
Let’s be clear, though. Just like in the US there is an ongoing debate in Europe and in other countries about the role High Fructose Corn Syrup may be playing in the growing obesity epidemic.
For example, a study published in 2009 by multiple high-level researchers from the US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia in "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition" specifically mentioned high fructose corn syrup as contributing to worldwide obesity.
A Global Epidemic
In a study published in the journal Global Health, researchers compared the average availability of high-fructose corn syrup to rates of diabetes in 43 countries.
They found that:
- Countries that include high-fructose corn syrup into processed foods and soft drinks have higher rates of diabetes than countries that don’t use HFCS.
- About half the countries in the study had little or no high-fructose corn syrup in their food supply.
- In the other 20 countries, high-fructose corn syrup consumption in foods ranged from about a pound a year per person in Germany to about 55 pounds each year per person in the United States.
- Countries using high-fructose corn syrup had rates of diabetes that were about 20% higher than countries that didn’t mix the sweetener into foods. Interestingly enough the differences between countries were consistent even when researchers took into account data for differences in body size, population, and wealth.
So while many countries do have tight controls on the production and importing of high fructose corn syrup, they don’t outright ban it due to health concerns. That may change in the future when more studies demonstrate the harmful effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup and the lasting health implications.
In the next chapter we take a look at those health implications in detail and examine a few studies that prove High Fructose Corn Syrup is a dangerous food additive.
The Risks of Consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup
There’s a lot of confusion about whether High Fructose Corn Syrup is safe for consumption. Can you eat it? Should you eat it? And if it isn’t safe, why not?
Let’s first take a look at the common beliefs about high fructose corn syrup. Then we’ll look at the studies that support, or debunk, the beliefs.
- Belief #1 – High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Obesity
- Belief #2 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Diabetes
- Belief #3 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Metabolic Disorder
- Belief #4 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Fatty Liver Disease
- Belief #5 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Cancer
- Belief #6 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Heart Disease and Stroke
- Belief #7 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes forms of Dementia including Alzheimer’s
All of that sounds pretty terrifying, right? Think about how much HFCS you consume in a day, week, or even in a month. Let’s take a look at the information and reports that support, or debunk, those beliefs. And let’s start with the most prevalent belief about high fructose corn syrup...it causes obesity.
Belief #1 – High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Obesity
One of the biggest sources of alarm and controversy is the belief that high fructose corn syrup causes obesity. After all, if a gram of sugar and a gram of high fructose corn syrup both contain the same number of calories, four calories per gram, then why would one substance cause obesity when the other doesn’t?
Until recently, the majority of the evidence was questionable. However, Princeton University conducted two very well established studies. What they found is quite astounding.
- Study #1 - Male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet.
The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.
- Study #2 This study is considered to be the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals. It evaluated and monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a six month period.
The rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed signs developing what’s called metabolic syndrome. The signs include abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and fat deposits particularly the dangerous visceral or belly fat.
Male rats had a particularly large weight gain. In fact, rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet of rat chow.
For humans, metabolic syndrome is a known risk factor for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.
So we know that there seems to be a direct correlation between High Fructose Corn Syrup and obesity as well as the subsequent risk factors of obesity. However, to date scientists are not exactly sure why High Fructose Corn Syrup has this impact on the body of humans and animals.
Why Does HFCS Cause Obesity?
There are many reasons why HFCS causes obesity. They include, but aren’t limited to:
- The body treats fructose differently than glucose. Table sugar is about half fructose and half glucose. The percentage of fructose in high-fructose corn syrup isn’t disclosed on food labels, but its thought to range from 42% to 55%. But it may be even higher than that. In a study published in 2011 in the journal “Obesity," they found the percentage of fructose in drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup ranged from 47% to 65%. (Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775139)
- When sugar is consumed with fibre, for example when it comes from fruit, the absorption is slowed down. There’s generally nothing to slow down the absorption of high fructose corn syrup.
- While some high fructose corn syrups may claim that their product contains all-natural ingredients, often the manufacturing process involves the use of artificial and synthetic chemicals and additives.
These may affect your body’s ability to process and absorb HFCS properly. Additionally, they may affect your body’s response to the sugar. For example, you may not produce the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin which help regulate your body’s sense of feeling full and hungry. If you don’t feel full or stated, you’ll eat more.
- HFCS is being added to food items that don't normally have sugar and that you wouldn't even describe as sweet. You’ll find it in dairy products, crackers, bread, French fries, soup, sauces. The list is quite extensive. We’re eating much more High Fructose Corn Syrup than you might imagine.
- Unbound Fructose may cause problems for your body. One of the results of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup is that the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound. This means they are ready for absorption and utilisation by your body. With standard table sugar, every fructose molecule in sucrose from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilised. (http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/)
Princeton researchers suspect it may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolised to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the Princeton Study, in the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose in the American diet, rates of obesity in the US have skyrocketed. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1970, around 15 percent of the US population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese.
High-fructose corn syrup is found in huge variety of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year. (Source: http://healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2010/Obesity2010Report.pdf)
In order to turn this epidemic around, consumers have to get smart and stop buying products that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Belief #2 High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Diabetes
- A Direct Correlation – “A new study of 43 countries in Global Public Health, published online November 27, found that adult type-2 diabetes is 20 percent higher in countries that consume large quantities of high fructose corn syrup.
Countries in which per person annual high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) consumption was less than 0.5 kg had similar BMIs, daily calorie intake and total sugar intake as did countries in which HFCS was higher. The big difference in these two groups of countries was diabetes prevalence.” (Source: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/11/27/global-high-fructose-corn-syrup-use-may-be-fueling-diabetes-increase/)
- HFCS, A Greater Risk for Diabetes than Plain Sugar - Instead of a composition evenly divided between fructose and glucose like table sugar, HFCS contains as much as 30 percent more fructose. (The exact quantities are unknown because manufacturers are not required to disclose the amount on food and beverage packages.)
As mentioned earlier, Glucose is metabolised but fructose requires your body to jump through more hoops to break it down. It’s broken down in your liver and may produce less leptin and insulin.
- Some studies have also found fructose consumption increases the types of fats that are linked to insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes. This may demonstrate the fact that our body just hasn’t evolved to process fructose from HFCS.
- Sugary drinks containing high fructose corn syrup have high levels of reactive carbonyls which are linked with cell and tissue damage that leads to diabetes. Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm
- Some people are allergic to products derived from corn and it may cause an immune reaction which can cause system wide inflammation.
Diabetes and obesity aren’t the only risks of consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup. Studies have shown that it may cause Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and more.
Belief # 3-7 From Metabolic Disorder to Alzheimer’s, Can High Fructose Corn Syrup be The Cause?
- One study showed that with dietary zinc (Zn) loss and copper (Cu) gain caused by the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup the metabolic processes required to eliminate heavy metals in your body are impaired in autistic children. These residual heavy metals may be a primary source of autism related symptoms. (Source: http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6)
- Unlike glucose, which is metabolised a number of ways by your body; fructose is only metabolised by your liver. When the liver receives more fructose than it can handle, the excess sugars are turned into fats in the form of triglycerides, which are harmful to your arteries and your heart and cause heart disease, a leading killer. (Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx)
- Because fructose is converted to fat in the liver, consuming a lot of fructose can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This disease causes fat to build up in the liver which then causes inflammation, scarring, high triglycerides, and bad cholesterol.
“In severe cases, the disease may progress to liver cancer or liver failure. A 2010 study of 427 patients at the Duke University Medical Centre revealed that the patients who consumed more soft drinks (which are notorious for containing high levels of high-fructose corn syrup) had more serious liver inflammation and scarring than those who consumed fewer soft drinks. The study also concluded that reducing your intake of fructose is a good way to modify your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.”
- Mercury – A Known Neurotoxin. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, tested brand-name foods made with high fructose corn syrup and they found that about half of them contained mercury.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from a process that uses mercury. The process involves lye, which is made in chlorine-alkali plants by a method that uses mercury.
Mercury is a neurotoxin. A scientific report published in Environmental Health says the amounts of mercury in HFCS ranged from 0.00 to 0.57 micrograms per gram. (Source: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2009/01/mercury-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup/)
As a neurotoxin, Mercury interferes with the brain and the nervous system. Exposure to mercury can be especially hazardous for children and pregnant women. It may affect a child’s development and cause learning disabilities. The problem is that High Fructose is in simple things like ketchup where you don’t expect to be exposed to mercury.
- High-fructose corn syrup can lower your IQ. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles did a study on rats. They were fed high levels of fructose and then asked to navigate a maze.
When compared to rats that were fed high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the fructose rats were much slower finding their way through the maze. The researchers concluded that a long term high-fructose diet alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. (Source http://www.lifed.com/7-alarming-reasons-to-avoid-high-fructose-corn-syrup#PiKbjBK8R4fgRkwb.99)
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Cause Cancer Tumours to Grow. Cancer cells are fuelled by sugar. A 2010 study conducted by University of California Los Angeles showed that the pancreas, the organ that creates insulin, has a higher risk of developing cancer if it processes too much fructose.
One might conclude that a diet high in fructose and high fructose corn syrup might increase risk of pancreatic cancer. (Source: http://www.lifed.com/7-alarming-reasons-to-avoid-high-fructose-corn-syrup#PiKbjBK8R4fgRkwb.99)
From cancer to obesity the risks of consuming High Fructose Corn Syrup are alarming. The good news is that while it is a prevalent substance in processed foods, you aren’t helpless. You can avoid it and eliminate it from your diet.
You can also take action to make change in the manufacturing processes and regulation of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The last two chapters take a look at how you can take charge of your life, your diet, and your health.
Tips To Decrease Your High Fructose Corn Syrup Intake
While it may seem that High Fructose Corn Syrup is in everything, with a bit of careful attention and knowledge, you can significantly reduce and even eliminate this compound from your diet.
Doing so will improve your health in a number of ways. You’ll reduce the amount of sugar you consume and thus reduce your risk for a number of deadly diseases. You’ll likely feel better and lose weight too. And by not buying items containing high fructose corn syrup, you’ll help protect your loved ones. Let’s take a look at the things you can do right now to get this ingredient out of your diet.
Always read the ingredients list. Foods you might not even realise are sweetened (like bread, dried fruit and crackers) might be hiding added high fructose corn syrup and other artificial and added sugars. Learn to identify terms that mean added sugars on the ingredients list. Remember that high fructose corn syrup is known by isoglucose and also high fructose corn syrup. And it may be listed as corn sugar.
The general suggestion is to not buy any items that have high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient, meaning it’s near the top of the ingredient list. A food’s ingredients are listed in order of quantity. So the first item on an ingredient list is the most abundant in the item. If you look at a loaf of bread, that first item is flour. Water, wheat gluten, and high fructose corn syrup may follow the flour in order of amount.
If you look at a can of soda, for example a can of Pepsi, the ingredients read as follows:
Carbonated water, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural flavours, caffeine, sodium citrate, erythorbic acid (preserves freshness), gum arabic, concentrated orange juice, calcium disodium edta (to protect flavour), yellow 5, brominated vegetable oil.
Not so appetising is it?
Also, get familiar with and avoid foods that commonly have high fructose corn syrup in the ingredient list. They include but aren’t limited to:
- Canned soups
- Packaged baked goods
- Some condiments like ketchup and salsa
- Soft drinks
- Fruit-Flavoured beverages
- Pancake syrups
- Frozen foods
- Fruit canned in syrup
- Buns and rolls
- Bagels and English muffins
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
- Sauces including BBQ sauces
- Salad dressing
- Pasta sauce
- Breakfast cereals
- Other processed foods
So what do you do?
- Bake your own cookies and baked goods.
- Top your breakfast waffles or pancakes with fresh fruit or use real maple syrup or honey.
- Limit the amount of regular soda and caloric-sweetened beverages.
- Buy plain, natural yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit or even nuts and honey.
- Select breakfast cereals carefully with 5 grams of sugar or fewer per serving.
- If you're a juice drinker, buy 100% fruit juices. Read the labels on juice "drinks," like fruit punch and juice cocktails. They often have added high fructose corn syrup.
- Read bread labels carefully. Even whole grain and whole wheat bread has added HFCS.
- Eat more whole foods that come from nature.
- Eat organic foods when possible. The word "organic" is heavily regulated, and basically, only foods labeled as 100% organic can be assumed to be HFCS-free. The word “natural” doesn’t mean much when it comes to HFCS because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate the use of the word "natural" and HFCS comes from corn and is therefore considered natural.
- Add milk to your coffee instead of flavoured creamers
- When you do drink soda, buy from small bottlers who use sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Some smaller brands have switched to pure cane sugar. Additionally, Mexican and some Canadian soft drinks are HFCS-free. Additionally, the foods in the Passover section of your supermarket are often free from High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Change your snacking habits and choose whole foods like nuts, dried fruits, fruit and raw veggies.
- Don’t eat fast food.
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar is on the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) list of safe foods.
They both contain about 16 calories per teaspoon and while sugar can be used in moderation, High Fructose Corn Syrup can be eliminated from your diet with a few changes.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars in your diet. They recommend reducing all added sugars including high fructose corn syrup. Their recommendations are as follows:
- Women should get no more than 100 calories per day from sugar (about 6 teaspoons of sugar)
- Men should get no more than 150 calories per day from sugar (about 9 teaspoons of sugar)
Changing your diet and shopping habits is just the beginning. You can also make societal change. Let’s explore how you can easily get involved in changing policy in your community and global policy too.
How You Can Help Get The Word Out
If all of this information on the prevalence of High Fructose Corn Syrup has you concerned, there is something you can do. Actually, there are many steps you can take to make a change not only in your life but in the lives of your loved ones and people around the world.
#1 – Money Talks
You are a consumer and as a consumer you have a vote. Every time you spend your moony, you’re voting. If you spend it on items without High Fructose Corn Syrup in them, manufacturers and food processors will take notice.
They already are. When you’re shopping, leave the items with HFCS on the shelves and choose those with natural sugar. To stay competitive, and remain in business, manufacturers will have to make changes to their processing. Your money really does have power and influence.
#2 - Make Phone Calls and Send Letters
Connecting with companies and politicians is easier than ever. In fact, you simply have to get to the right website and send an email. Let people know that you want HFCS out of your food.
Talk to your schools. In 2004, the American Academy of Paediatrics stated that schools should not offer soda due to the high sugar and HFCS content. Since that time, numerous districts have followed that advice and they’ve removed soda machines from their facilities. If your schools still serve food and beverages with HFCS, give the superintendent a call.
#3 - Sign A Petition, Or Create One
Change.org is a place where you can create a petition or find petitions for causes that you’re passionate about. The petitions are open for a limited time. Visit Change.org and search for petitions related to High Fructose Corn Syrup or create a petition to change a practice in your community. For example, there’s a petition asking the Girl Scouts of America to stop using HFCS in their cookies.
The Website FoodPolitics also lists petitions related to the food industry including this one:
“Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) held a press conference this morning to announce that 10 health departments, 20 health and consumer organisations, and 41 health professionals to:
- Initiate a rule-making proceeding to ensure that the content of sucrose and HFCS in beverages is limited to safe levels consistent with authoritative recommendations.
- Revise the “Sugars” line on Nutrition Facts labels to address “added sugars.”
- Set targets for lower levels of added sugars in other foods that provide significant amounts.
- Conduct a public education campaign to encourage consumers to consume less added sugars.”
You can find information about this petition here - http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/Letter-supporting-CSPI-sugar-petition-2-12-13-Final.pdf
The studies on High Fructose Corn Syrup are just beginning. You can likely expect many studies to be produced over the next few years. As these studies are released, pay attention to where the information comes from and who is conducting the studies. For example, if the corn industry produces the study then the study is likely biased. If the cane sugar industry produces the study it’s also likely biased. Studies from institutions like Princeton and global health organisations don’t have the same investment in the production of food. They’re less likely to be biased.
As the data continues to be sorted out, many quality studies have already shown that there are great risks to your health when you consume High Fructose Corn Syrup. Fortunately, you’re not alone. People around the world are taking action. They’re using their dollars to vote and they’re buying products without HFCS. They’re signing petitions and asking their community to take initiative and remove High Fructose Corn Syrup from their shelves, community buildings, and learning institutions.
You are in control and you’re armed with the knowledge and power to make change. Now that you understand the dangers and effects of HFCS you will be more motivated to cut it out of your diet.
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High fructose corn syrup's not-so-sweet surprise: mercury! — http://www.iatp.org/blog/2009/01/high-fructose-corn-syrups-not-so-sweet-surprise-mercury
Autism, Environment and Diet: Questions and Answers
Why We Love the Sweet Life
Meredith F. Small http://www.livescience.com/2276-love-sweet-life.html
A Breakdown of Sweeteners and Sugars
How bad is fructose? George A Bray http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/4/895.full.pdf
High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Diabetes By Brenda Goodman, MA
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD Nov. 27, 2012
A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain Posted March 22, 2010 by Hilary Parker
High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Diabetes Brenda Goodman, MA
Nov 27, 2012 http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775139
F as in Fat. How Obesity Threatens America’s Future http://healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2010/Obesity2010Report.pdf
Global High Fructose Corn Syrup Use May Be Fuelling Diabetes Increase
By Katherine Harmon | November 27, 2012 | http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/11/27/global-high-fructose-corn-syrup-use-may-be-fueling-diabetes-increase/)
Soda Warning? High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study Suggests http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm
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Renee Default Walter J Lukiw3, Raquel Crider, Roseanne Schnoll, David Wallinga and Richard Deth http://www.clinicalepigeneticsjournal.com/content/4/1/6
Sugar May Be Bad, But This Sweetener is Far More Deadly January 02, 2010 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx
7 Alarming Reasons to Avoid High-Fructose Corn Syrup By Chiara Fucarino
Mercury in high fructose corn syrup By Marion Nestle http://www.foodpolitics.com/2009/01/mercury-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup/