Sunday, September 28, 2008
Recently the corn industry began an ad campaign to convince us that High Fructose Corn Syrup is not so bad for you. Of course if you have a vested interest in promoting corn consumption, you might have that opinion. Please read the following article by my guest blogger Dr.Scott Olson for important information regarding this subject.
Have you noticed how many foods contain high fructose corn syrup? This hard-to-avoid sweetener seems to be in almost every food that we eat. A label checking trip to the grocery store (or especially a convenience store) will have you wondering if you can find any foods that don’t have this sweetener in them, rather than foods that do.
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
It has only taken forty years for high fructose corn syrup to go from a non-existent to ever-present food additive. In fact, the consumption of this high fructose corn syrup has increased over one thousand percent in the last twenty years.
The reason why high fructose corn syrup is so popular is due to its super-sweetness combined with very low cost. High fructose corn syrup is cheap because of a combination of government subsidies to farmers and dramatic jumps in crop yields; these two factors have combined to make corn a very cheap commodity. Processing that cheap corn into high fructose corn syrup has been a boon for the food processing industry.
To make high fructose corn syrup, the corn is processed into 90 percent fructose and then blended with glucose to meet a manufacturer's needs. Most high fructose corn syrup is about 60 percent fructose and 40 percent glucose. High fructose corn syrup is much sweeter to our tastes buds and so manufactures have to use less of this sugar, further increasing their cost savings.
How much High Fructose Corn Syrup are you Eating?
High fructose corn syrup is in the obvious cakes, ice creams, cookies, cereals, but it is also in foods such as salsa, peanut butter, salad dressings, breads, ketchups and almost anything you can sink your teeth in to. Soda manufactures, by far the largest users, use high fructose corn syrup almost exclusively.
If you are a typical American, you are eating somewhere between 60 and 80 pounds of this stuff a year; that amounts to around 10 to 20 percent of all the calories that you eat!
What is Wrong eating that much High Fructose Corn Syrup?
While there doesn’t seem to be much difference between glucose and fructose on a molecular level, there is a great deal of difference in how the sugar is treated in your body. Scientists have discovered that fructose acts very differently in our bodies:
• The body doesn’t use fructose, so it has to somehow convert fructose before it is used. The conversion of fructose takes place in the liver. The liver has two different conversion possibilities for fructose. The first is that it can change fructose into glucose and use it for energy and the second is it can change fructose into fat. There is increasing amounts of research that shows the liver finds it much easier to change fructose into fat. This is how high fructose corn syrup makes us fat.
• Consuming high fructose corn syrup appears to lead insulin insensitivity easier than other sugars. Insulin insensitivity, along with added weight gain, is a recipe for diabetes.
• Fructose also appears to create harmful proteins in the body called “glycated proteins”. These proteins are damaged proteins and may lead to a wide variety of diseases such as kidney disease, heart disease, macular degeneration and other diseases.
• Fructose may also contribute to high blood pressure, hypertension and a variety of other diseases.
We are just beginning to discover how harmful high fructose corn syrup really is for our bodies. While you have an almost impossible task ahead of you, you should avoid this sugar in any way that you can. A good first step towards health is to stop drinking sodas in any form; this alone will dramatically cut down on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in your life.
Dr. Scott Olson is a Naturopathic doctor, expert in alternative medicine, author and medical researcher. Spurred on by his patients’ struggles with sugar addiction, he was determined to discover just how addictive and harmful sugar can be and ways to overcome that addiction. The result of that study is his groundbreaking book Sugarettes, which details the addictive qualities of sugar and the harm that sugar does to our bodies.
Dr. Scott also maintains a blog (www.olsonnd.com) which highlights the latest in health and healthy living.