High Fructose Corn Syrup, also known as “HFCS“, has become a very controversial topic within the health community. There is much researched and documented facts regarding the dangers of this product. In recent years, high fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar in many processed foods. HFCS is made from corn which is genetically modified, making it even more unhealthy. It began being used in the early 1970’s as a sweetener. There are several dangers that have been associated with high fructose corn syrup. It has been debated on both sides. Many opponents believe it can cause damage to the human body while supporters say that these claims are not based on any actual facts.
What is it: High fructose corn syrup is derived from corn and is a combination of fructose and glucose. Because it is very inexpensive to produce, it is the sweetener of choice by the majority of manufacturers of food products. Glucose is what the body uses for energy. Fructose is considered a fruit sugar. What does fructose do once it is in the body? It has been known to stimulate weight gain. This is because unlike other carbohydrates, it does not go through “glycosis”. You should limit your consumption of fructose to that found in natural fruits. Avoid the HFCS especially if you are diabetic.
Deceptive Labeling: Reading food labels is very important to your health. Food labels tell you the nutritional profile of the product. You can view such things as the number of calories, percentage of vitamins and minerals and all of the ingredients contained in the product. This is helpful particularly if you are health challenged such as diabetes and cannot consume certain ingredients, such as sugar. Unfortunately, high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar and many people fail to recognize this because it is not called sugar. Over 40% of all food and beverage products now use HFCS instead of sugar.
Weight Gain: HFCS has been linked to weight gain in some people. Studies have compared HFCS consumption versus other sugars. Animal study results indicate that weight gain is much more significant in those that consumed high fructose corn syrup versus regular sugar.
Diabetics and Weight Gain: If you are diabetic you need to avoid sugar consumption. Many of the popular energy drinks, sodas and processed foods all contain high fructose corn syrup. This is just as unhealthy as sugar to a diabetic. Diabetes is a disease that can usually be controlled with a healthy diet. Diabetics must control and monitor their blood glucose and insulin levels carefully. Because fructose doesn’t create stimulation of leptin in the body, you do not experience the feeling of being full. Since you don’t get the full signal, this can be dangerous and lead to overeating and weight gain. Since since many foods now contain fructose in the form of HFCS, one can see why the population as a whole is more overweight than several decades ago.
High Cholesterol: Consuming too much HFCS has also been linked to elevated cholesterol levels. High cholesterol over time can be dangerous and damaging to the heart. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, and plaque build up.
Liver Damage: When you consume high fructose corn syrup it may have damaging effects on your liver. There has been research indicating that HFCS can cause scarring of the liver. If you sustain liver damage it can create more health problems down the line because this is the organ that processes toxins out of the body. If it is malfunctioning in any way, your body cannot be optiminaly healthy
Sensible Alternatives: There are several choices you can make instead of eating products that contain HFCS. Natural alternatives includes stevia and agave syrup.
Healthy Tips: Always look and see if HFCS is listed on the label. Be more selective about the foods you eat. Your best choices are whole foods; fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Try to limit or better yet completely avoid eating processed foods. Remember that many of the fast food products also contain HFCS. Some of the worst culprits include condiments such as ketchup, canned soups and pastas, soda and breakfast cereal. Remember whenever beginning any dietary or lifestyle changes, always consult with a medical professional, particularly if you are taking prescription drugs or suffer from any disease or ailment.