High fructose corn syrup is one of the biggest contributors to obesity and a myriad of other diseases in the United States. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but the Food Industry has long tried to conceal this fact, because HFCS saves manufacturers a lot of money. Not only is this “alien sugar” cheaper to produce, but it also keeps food fresher for longer, adding to a product’s shelf life which saves them even more moolah.
You may think, “So what. I’ve never even heard of the stuff, so I probably don’t eat it.” Yes you do! The worst thing about high fructose corn syrup is that it’s in just about every food and drink that isn’t a fruit, vegetable, or water.
Try this experiment: If you just had a snack, are drinking something other than water right now, or are just close by the kitchen, grab anything in a box or a bag, and check the ingredients. There’s a very high chance that you see those four dreaded words: high fructose corn syrup. The higher HFCS is on the list, the more of it there is in the product, and it’s not uncommon at all to find it front and center, leading the way in all it’s unhealthy sweetness.
Even worse, since the FDA hasn’t provided any firm definitions for the term, manufacturers are allowed to slap an “all natural” label on products loaded with high fructose corn syrup. Read this excerpt about how HFCS is made, and you be the judge as to whether or not there is anything “natural” about it:
Produced in large manufacturing facilities scattered mostly across the flat, golden expanse of the American corn belt, high-fructose corn syrup is not a product that anyone could cook up at home using a few ears of corn. The process starts with corn kernels and takes place in a series of stainless steel vats and tubes in which a dozen different mechanical processes and chemical reactions occur â€” including several rounds of high-velocity spinning and the introduction of three different enzymes to incite molecular rearrangements.
The enzymes turn most of the glucose molecules in corn into fructose, which makes the substance sweeter. This 90 percent fructose syrup mixture is then combined with regular corn syrup, which is 100 percent glucose molecules, to get the right percentage of fructose and glucose. The final product is a clear, goopy liquid that is roughly as sweet as sugar.
There is a whole list of complications and reasons to avoid HFCS, but the Food Industry’s response has always been, “There’s no proof or conclusive research.”
Until now! In one of the most conclusive studies proving the link between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes (among other harmful effects), researchers have broken new ground and reported their findings to the American Chemical Society.
“People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country,” says Ho. “It’s in way too many food and drink products and there’s growing evidence that it’s bad for you,” says Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., one of the leading researchers.
The specific study was conducted on carbonated sodas, but the implications can be applied to high fructose corn syrup in all products. It may be nearly impossible to avoid it completely (which is very sad and probably the reason Americans are in the shape they’re in), but you should cut your intake as much as you can.
Hopefully, this will help provide more mainstream attention to this problem, and will force the Food Industry to find a safer, more natural alternative to poisonous high fructose corn syrup!