I think its safe to say we have all heard of the ingredient High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Its in most of our cereals, pop tarts, candy and when you walk into a deli for a drink its hard to miss it unless you’re going for water. Why is this ingredient so necessary for companies to add in such a diverse group of foods and drinks? Is this ingredient safe for consumption and the most important question of them all. How does it affect the human body?
Maybe we should start off by uncovering what it is.
What is High-fructose corn syrup? it’s a sweetener made from corn starch. The starch is broken down into glucose by enzymes also known as glucose-fructose, iso glucose and glucose-fructose syrup. Yeah, I know! Tongue twister, huh?!
The most common form of HFCS contains 42% or 55% fructose. Fructose is also known as “Fruit Sugar” as it occurs naturally in fruits. According to the FDA, HFCS 42 is mainly used in processed foods, cereals, baked goods, and some beverages. HFCS 55 is used primarily in Soft drinks.
Companies are utilizing this sweetener for a number of reasons…
- Its cheaper & sweeter than sugar
- Easy to transport
- It’s a flavor enhancement for sweet flavors and spice flavors.
- Enhances texture
- Extends product freshness
- Enhances granola, cereals and breakfast bars
For many years several of the people I have looked up to in the Holistic world from Nutritionist to health coaches and even Doctors have suggested to stay away from this ingredient. I never really understood why. Well for starters as shared its sweeter than sugar, and the body absorbs it much faster. Eating too much of HFCS can lead to insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Inflammation and High Blood Pressure. (Reference “The Diabetes Pandemic” for more info). Still want that Tropical Fantasy soda? Or Pepsi drink? Well maybe you do, but there’s more…
Dr Hyman shares that only liver cells can process fructose, then accumulation starts to build and starts a fat production which can lead to all of the above diseases and more. Including Cancer.
Yes, fruit sugar aka fructose occurs naturally in fruits, but we do not get all of the added affects from the artificial thing. Natural fruit sugar has plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. HFCS does not.
Must Watch overview on HFCS by Dr Hyman…
HFCS began showing up in our products it the 1970’s and today makes up 40% of the sweeteners that are added to our foods and beverages. Sugar disguises itself in so many different words which is why I revert to my rule of thumb…
If you can’t say it or don’t know what it is don’t have it!
There are over 200 different names for sugar and a few examples aside from sugar or High Fructose corn syrup is… Dextrose, Ethyl Maltol, Maltose, & Maltodextrin. Just to name a few.
Like Dr Hyman says… High Fructose corn syrup is a sign of VERY LOW-QUALITY FOOD. You gain absolutely nothing positive from this ingredient. No essential nutrients and its filled with empty calories.
Avoiding added sugars could be one of the most preventable ways to avoid disease.
But how could you identify added sugar vs natural sugar?
It’s simple, if the ingredients have the word sugar added to the ingredients, then its artificial added sugar. Check out the ingredients on this Snapple….39g of Sugar and the word Sugar is listed in its ingredients.
If there is no added sugar but displays 14g besides sugar in the nutrition facts like this juice, then its naturally occurring and not added. As you can see the ingredients here are all plants.
I recently started a 4 week challenge with my girls where we each gave up something we enjoy but know it’s no good for us. My sister in law dropped soda, her guilty pleasure. She said something that stuck to me… “I haven’t drank soda in a week and I’m having withdrawals”.
Forbes released an article stating that diets that are high in HFCS may contribute to opioid dependence. Research has shown that high fructose corn syrup impacts the brain in a way very similar to addictive drugs. The same way sugar does. It triggers a response in the brains rewards system that leads to continued cravings very similarly to that of a drug addict. Smart for companies to use to keep us coming for more, huh?!
(See link to read article)
The key is always awareness. You can’t work towards something if you don’t understand why you react in a way of dependency.
Now that you know
- What it is
- Why companies use it
- How it affects you
Now my question is…What are you going to do about it?
Miss Rehab Ramdass
Disclaimer: Miss Rehab Ramdass website, blog, social media and videos should not be construed as medical advice. Content from this site and blog are not intended to be used as a medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.