Maybe you have heard of the bad press around high fructose corn syrup. This substance, extracted from processed corn starch, is manufactured by breaking down the starch into glucose syrup. Some of the glucose is further converted to fructose after adding some enzymes.
Why do food manufacturing companies not just use regular sugar? High Fructose Corn syrup is relatively cheaper and cost-effective for production. But everything comes with a price, they say.
WHY IS HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP BAD FOR HEALTH?
Right now, there is no claim that high fructose corn syrup is healthier than other artificial sweeteners. Similar to regular table sugar in its fructose to glucose ratio, studies have shown quite the opposite.
1. CAUSE OBESITY AND DIABETES
High fructose corn syrup is a direct contributor to obesity and diabetes when taken excessively. It is commonly found in soda and beverages. A typical 8 ounce of drink with high fructose corn syrup can contain about 7 teaspoons of sugar.
Over the counter juice boxes are common and some are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. If a child is given one of these juice boxes several times per day, he or she might as well be given a pound of sugar to snack on.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup might be worse than sugar
Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are both sweeteners, but your body processes them differently.
Sugar contains a 50-50 ratio of glucose and fructose. High fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, has a 55-45 ratio, with fructose having a higher number.
Fructose is not used by your body directly, and the liver needs to convert it to glucose. Excessive intake of fructose means your liver stores it resulting in higher cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
Over time, ingesting more fructose than glucose will be worse for your health.
3. High Fructose corn syrup can be contaminated
A research was carried out on multiple samples of the syrup and contaminants such as mercury was found. The syrup itself is bad enough for our health, but in addition, they contain impurities. As a reminder, high fructose corn syrup is found in many products that kids and even babies consume such as popsicles and other treats.
4. High fructose corn syrup can be in anything
It is not surprising that high fructose corn syrup shows up in unhealthy foods such as popsicles, candies, sodas. After all, no one eats these things for their health content.
But, do you know that high fructose corn syrup can be used in foods you wouldn’t expect? For example, pre-made chicken dinners, whole wheat bread, and virtually any food can contain this syrup.
Just be sure to read your label on anything you buy.
HOW DOES HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP END UP IN PRODUCTS
It is usually used as a sugar substitute in products, usually as a means to increase profits. High fructose corn syrup is cheaper than the alternatives. When food is produced on a massive scale, the savings of using a cheaper ingredient is profound.
PRODUCTS THE SYRUP IS USUALLY FOUND IN
As mentioned earlier, the products that contain high fructose corn syrup is unlimited. There are the obvious, sodas, juice boxes, ice creams and such. But health foods such as yogurts, canned fruit, and even meat can contain the syrup.
Items such as salad dressings, ice creams, frozen yogurt, and boxed dinners are good candidates.
Not only are they in food but in medicines as well. In many cases we cant chose what medicines we need to take, but feel free to ask your doctor or pharmacist about options. Over the counter, medicines will clearly list the ingredients as well.
HOW TO IDENTIFY HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN PRODUCTS
The consumer should look out for names on labels like maize syrup, glucose syrup, tapioca syrup, crystalline fructose, and fruit fructose but in most cases, it is spelled out as high fructose corn syrup.
The use of high fructose corn syrup has been known to be one of the greatest contributors to obesity and heart disease. It is advised to limit its use. When you can’t completely avoid an ingredient, then you can strive to reduce it.
To compare high fructose corn syrup with corn syrup you can read this article.