When it comes to high fructose corn syrup, I do search every product that we bring into our home to ensure that it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. By doing this at home, it allows us to worry less about what we are consuming when we aren’t at home.
First of all, what is High Fructose Corn Syrup? It is any group of corn syrup that has undergone the enzymatic process to convert glucose into fructose. It entered the US Food System in the 1970’s – 1980’s. It is just as sweet as table sugar (sucrose), acts as a preservative, and is also much cheaper to use than other sweeteners such as sugar.
The difference between table sugar and high fructose corn syrup is that table sugar is comprised of glucose and fructose that are chemically bonded together. The body must break down the sugar before the glucose and fructose enter our bloodstream. When it comes to high fructose corn syrup, glucose and fructose are only blended together. This makes it so there is no need for our body to break down the sugar. It can be absorbed into the bloodstream faster than table sugar.
Now that you know a little more about high fructose corn syrup, what are the dangers?
- Obesity has been on the rise for the last 30-40 years. This is no coincidence that it has been on the rise since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup. The body is able to absorb this much faster than sugar, and our bodies do not need to break it down for it to enter the bloodstream.
- The average human consumes upwards of 60lbs of high fructose corn syrup per year!
- High fructose corn syrup has been found to contain harmful contaminants such as mercury.
- High mercury intake has been linked to memory loss, high blood pressure, fertility issues, and more.
- High fructose corn syrup favors fat production in the liver.
- High fructose corn syrup is typically found in low quality, processed foods. Next time you are at the grocery store, compare brands (one containing HFCS, the other does not). You’ll typically find that the higher quality foods do not contain high fructose corn syrup.
In recent years, the FDA rejected a name change for high fructose corn syrup. The Corn Refiner’s Association is pushing to change the name to corn sugar, due to the bad name that high fructose corn syrup has received recently. However the FDA did reject that name change based on the fact that they say it implies that the product is in fact a solid, crystalized sweetener, and not a syrup which it is. The FDA believes this name change would cause confusion amongst consumers.