This is part of a series on sugars and sweeteners of all kinds – the good, the bad, and the toxic.
I’m sorely tempted to make this a one-sentence post, and this is the sentence: Don’t ingest high fructose corn syrup. Period.
But I guess it would be more responsible to explain why it’s not so good, so here goes.
First some history. Corn has been subsidized in the U.S. for over 80 years. Corn is cheap. It pays to make foods out of it. That’s why practically all processed foods on your supermarket shelves are full of ingredients derived from corn and that other heavily subsidized crop - soybeans. And that’s why manufacturers found a way to sweeten food not with sugar derived from beets (expensive) or sugar cane (more expensive), but from cheap, available corn. The process for making high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was developed in the 1970s and skyrocketed in popularity.
Why you should avoid it
Dr. Robert Lustig puts forth a compelling argument that HFCS is a poison. Not just empty calories, like white sugar, but an actual poison. I suggest you watch the video for the complete story, but here are a few of the points he makes about HFCS:
* It does not suppress the hunger hormone. In other words, after you eat it, your body still thinks it’s hungry.
* It is processed in the liver like alcohol.
* Chronic HFCS use alone causes metabolic syndrome (which is a combo of coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes).
* Consuming it generates much more fat than a similar amount of sucrose would.
That’s not all. Over 80% of the corn manufactured in the United States is genetically modified. While it is possible that there is nothing wrong with genetically modified corn, there certainly isn’t any concrete proof that it’s safe. No long-term tests have ever been carried out. Since I prefer not to be a human guinea pig, I make it my policy to avoid GMO foods, including high fructose corn syrup.
Not only is the corn genetically modified, but two of the enzymes used in the processing of high fructose corn syrup, alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase, are also genetically modified.
Where is it lurking?
Most people know that HFCS can be found in soft drinks. But did you know it is often found in
It’s even hiding in cough syrup. The above is a partial list. If you real the labels of processed foods, you’ll find that it is everywhere!
It can be labeled: High fructose corn syrup, HCFS, or corn sugar.