Some amount of sugar is certainly essential for balanced nutrition, but excess of anything is bad. This article gives you details of high fructose corn syrup dangers and its harmful effects on your health.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is commercially used as a sweetener and preservative. During the procedure of manufacturing it from corn, glucose in cornstarch is changed to fructose. HFCS is used as an ingredient in almost all processed and canned foods like pizzas, candies, breads, sweetened yogurts, ketchup, baby foods, cookies, soft drinks, beer, sodas, juices, etc.
It extends the shelf life of processed food, and it is cheaper than sugar. Hence, it is a popular ingredient in all the ready-made food items. It is said to be worse than white sugar, which is bad for health. Scientists are still researching on high fructose corn syrup dangers.
- In the US, most products on the grocery store shelves contain this ingredient. It is mentioned in the checklist displayed on the products.
- According to the ‘U.S. Agriculture Department’, consumption of ‘HFCS’ is far more than the consumption of white sugar.
- The available statistics reveal the facts about its annual consumption. It is estimated that more than 60 pounds per person is consumed as on today, while only 1/2 pound per person was consumed in 1970.
- The food industry is fond of it, because it is cheap and easy to transport in tankers; and it is not susceptible to freezer burn like sugar.
- The government trade policies are responsible for making it cheaper than sugar in the market, and farmers are thus encouraged to grow more corn.
- It increases the shelf life of many processed food products, prevents the food from drying, and gives bread and baked products a wonderful color. So, the fast food chains opt for it in spite of knowing about its possible dangers.
- It is also preferred by the manufacturers of food and drinks.
The side effects of this product are not proved scientifically. They are based on observations and statistical analysis.
- Everyone is astonished by the increased obesity and its association with the increased consumption of HFCS. The beverages and foods containing this syrup are high in calories and low in nutritional values. Various early studies have shown an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages having this ingredient and obesity, though, some recent studies do not hold it responsible.
- As insulin production is not stimulated by HFCS, you tend to eat more. Insulin offers you the feeling of ‘being full’. This can also be the reason behind increased obesity, as this sweetener makes people eat more than they should. Fructose suppresses the sensation of fullness.
- When this syrup is used to sweeten the soft drinks, they are found to be high in harmful carbonyl compounds like methylglyoxal, which can cause complications like foot ulcers and eye and nerve damage in diabetic persons.
- In the US, in 2005, nine of the twenty samples of this product, when tested, did contain measurable amounts of mercury. A pilot study has reported that the concentration of mercury in the samples testing positive ranged from 0.012 to 0.570 micrograms per gram.
- The manufactured fructose in this highly refined and artificial component is digested by our body in a totally different way. As it goes directly to the liver, liver releases enzymes, which instruct the body to store more fat.
- The released enzymes in the liver can also lead to an increase in cholesterol level.
- Sometimes, an increase in triglyceride levels is also noticed.
- Chromium levels are lowered because of the increased consumption of HFCS, which lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Excessive consumption can also lead to coronary artery disease or high blood pressure.
- The low cost encourages more consumption, which is bad for health leading to several diseases.
While the scientific research continues, limited use or avoiding the suspicious product is better. If you can avoid processed food or the food containing added sugar, you can automatically stay away from the high fructose corn syrup dangers. Similarly, you can avoid drinking soda, or you can just reduce the consumption of sodas or soft drinks. You can opt for fresh fruits rather than drinking fruit-flavored drinks or fruit juices. You should never replace milk with sweetened beverages (especially for children).
If you can select the fruits canned in their own juices instead of heavy syrups, you will be successful in reducing the consumption of HFCS. As usual, the consumers are left confused, since most of the information about these health risks lacks scientific merit.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.