“The dose makes the poison.” - Famous quote by Renaissance Physician Paraclesus
How many of you have heard the buzz in the news or online about high fructose corn syrup? How many of you know what it is?
Let me define it for you. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)is a sweetener made from corn. It is an industrial by-product extracted from corn stalks through a chemical process. It was introduced into the food supply about 30 years ago. And obesity rates have sky rocketed since then!It is not “natural” as some advertising may have lead you to think and HFCS and table sugar are not bio-identically equal or processed the same way by the body.
HFCS is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar (sucrose) and is in most processed food and drinks sold today. On average, Americans now consume 150 lbs of sugar per person, per year- a lot more sugar than in previous decades.For example, the original glass bottle introduced by Coca Cola in 1915 was only 6.5 oz. Now we have super size sodas at 20 ounces-(a tripling in size.) And the average 20 ounce soda contains 17 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. And when you eat sugar in those doses, it becomes a toxin. The average American consumes over 60 pounds of HFCS per year in the form of sweetened drinks and processed foods.
Eating a lot of sugar is, as most of us know, unhealthy .But eating high fructose corn syrup is even worse. And here’s why. High fructose corn syrup does some interestingly bad things to the body. As part of the chemical process of making it, the glucose and fructose, which are normally bound together, are separated. This allows the fructose when ingested to go straight to the liver as no digestion is needed to break it down , turning on a factory of fat production (triclycerides and cholesterol) in your livercalled lipogenesis. This leads to fatty liver disease, the most common disease in America, affecting up to 90 million Americans. The rapid rise of glucose causes a spike in insulin leading to metabolic disturbance, a bigger appetite, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and type 11 diabetes. And the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that HFCS caused a leaky gut in intestinal cells leading to body- wide inflammation.
Besides high fructose corn syrup containing pure fructose, it contains other chemical toxins. Chlor-alkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup and contains mercury. This might not be a problem if consumed once in a while. But the average person consumes more than 20 teaspoons per day of HFCS ( from all sources) and the average teenager who is drinking most of the sodas, energy drinks and prepackaged snacks, is consuming 34 teaspoons a day. These heavy metals accumulate in the body over time, causing health problems and disease according to Dr. Mark Hyman, The Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
And for those of you who wonder why you are having trouble losing weight? You may be interested to learn that HFCS causes your body to have trouble reaching satiety, as it affects the hormone (leptin) that tells you when you’ll full. So, when you drink that super sweet soda with HFCS, you are actually training your taste buds to want sweeter foods so that you are not content with a regular piece of fruit. And you experience greater hunger that forces you to gorge on food, consuming more calories that you intended to eat, thereby gaining weight.
Foods like crackers, pastries, sodas, bread, condiments, pasta sauce, protein bars, salad dressings, fruit drinks, canned fruits, jellies, cookies, some diary and most sweetened beverages contain it. And studies at Princeton University showed that rats fed HFCS gained significantly more weight that ones fed water sweetened with regulartable sugar.
So when you see high fructose corn syrup listed in a product’s ingredient list, you know that it’s an inferior food, and best to leave on the grocery shelf.
And if you see websites on the internet touting anything different, consider the source. The Corn Refiner’s Association and Food Industry has a lot to lose by your knowing and acting on this. In an effort to sway public opinion that HFCS is healthy, they have launched a advertising campaign (See CORN REFINERS ASSOCIATION HFCS COMMERCIAL- PARTY video on youtube) as well as sending brochures to U.S. doctors, dieticians, researchers and professional organizations. The corn industry’s websites “sweetsurprise” and “cornsugar.com” are further attempts to regain lost consumer confidence.
So once again, getting informed, reading ingredient labels and eating organic will help you avoid toxic ingredients like HFCS.