High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that is often used in soft drinks, juices, processed foods, baked goods and cereals. It is often substituted at least partially in honey syrups and artificial maple syrups. It can be found in a number of products including ketchup, marinades and salad dressings. In fact high fructose corn syrup is in around 15-30% in the average American diet's foods. Some argue that it is the same as table sugar, but scientists have noted that it has a different chemical composition than regular sucrose (sugar) which we will address later. The way corn syrup is easily extracted from corn stalks makes it a much cheaper sweetener to manufacture than regular sugar. That is why it is used so prevalently. Also the fact that it comes from corn stalks that more than likely are GMO (genetically modified) puts a big question mark on the safety of its use from the start. But that is not all that has been discovered that is disturbing.
So what are some of these disturbing facts--or 'sins' if you will since they go against what is good and healthy for us:
1. First of all, as we have already hinted at, high fructose corn syrup contain contaminates. Chemicals used in the manufacturing process, including mercury, pesticides used on the corn, and other toxins have been found present in high fructose corn syrup.
2. Since its composition is different than sucrose (table sugar), this causes imbalance between elements so it forms a compound that is not a tight, balanced molecule like regular sugar is, making it more readily absorbed in the intestines. When it is absorbed rapidly the sweetener goes directly to the liver, causing triglycerides to sky rocket. Over time this can cause liver failure in much the same way that excessive alcohol does, causing fatty liver disease or cirrohsis.
3. The fact that triglycerides sky rocket in the liver from the consumption of high fructose corn syrup, also causes other health problems. The high fat content in the blood from the triglycerides increases heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
4. As you have likely heard, type 2 diabetes is on the rise in America and striking at much younger ages too. Since high fructose corn syrup is absorbed so rapidly, it fails to stimulate the production of insulin, needed metabolically to be in balance. This causes a hormonal imbalance, and with the lack of insulin, blood sugar soars which contributes to diabetes.
5. The toxins and other contaminates often found in high fructose corn syrup can help cancerous cells to take root. It is also known that cancers feed on sugar, causing more rapid growth of cancerous tumors.
6. Toxic elements found in high fructose corn syrup have also been discovered to cause litual "holes" in the lining of the intestines which causes "leaky gut" where bacteria is leaked into the bloodstream compromising the immune system and causing inflammation in any part of the body. When this inflammation is present in the brain, it effects memory and may result in dementia problems and other brain malfunctions.
7. Lastly, but likely the most important is that, high fructose corn syrup has been definitely linked to obesity, and obesity is what's usually the main problem which first exists and leads to many of the health concerns listed above. In America obesity has been on the rise while high fructose corn syrup has been widely used and added to foods. It is more of a problem now in the USA than it has ever been. In Europe and Asian countries this is not the case, and it is also true that high fructose corn syrup is rarely found in their diets. This is not a coincidence, for studies have also proved that high fructose corn syrup, due to its rapid absorption fails to give one the feeling of fullness, leading to overconsumption. This is mainly due to the imbalance it causes of the hormone, leptin which tells you when you have had enough food. Because it hinders leptin from doing its job, people are constantly eating more, and unfortuately consuming more and more high fructose corn syrup in the process.
So what can be done about this continual "poisoning" of our food sources from this particular sweetener that is argued to be a mere sugar? True we do need to limit our consumption of all sugar to be healthier US citizens, but we must do more than that. We need to make a habit of reading labels to check for the presence of high fructose corn syrup, and eliminate these products from our grocery lists and our American diet. If we successfully boycott these products containing high fructose corn syrup, eventually the manufacturers and the government that sanctions its use, just might note how opposed we are to its use. We can also make our feelings well known, which is my main reason for writing this article. I welcome your feelings and comments on this topic whether you agree with me or not.
Submitted by Carol Waite