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High Fructose Corn Syrup: America’s Sweet Enemy

High Fructose Corn Syrup: America’s Sweet Enemy


Various studies have proven High Fructose Corn syrup contains unhealthy amounts of mercury and has contributed to increased obesity in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirms that High Fructose Corn Syrup is made by granulating corn to produce corn starch, once it is processed into corn syrup (glucose), enzymes are added to convert the glucose into fructose. The fructose produced is actually sweeter than the glucose and does not replace, but combines sweetness with the glucose, making HFCS much sweeter than sugar.  Due to high prices on imported sugar, HFCS was produced as a cheaper alternative for industries to sweeten their product. According to the US Department of Agriculture High Fructose Corn Syrup consumption increased 1000% between 1970 and 1990, and they conclude that vast increase exceeded “the changes in intake of any other food or food group.”

High Fructose Corn Syrup is an ingredient that is found in various foods which are consumed daily by American citizens of all walks of life. Daily consumed items such as Soda, Juice, Chips, Candy, Breakfast Bars, and even sliced loaves of bread contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. Often disguised as “Fructose,” the companies profiting off societies poor diet are the ones who are attempting to manipulate consumers so that they may continue to purchase these goods, at a bargain price. That’s where the average consumer at the grocery store is lured in, prices. Bargain shoppers of lower income families are often persuaded by the lower sale prices and neglect to even read the ingredients.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy concluded that almost a third of 55 common food and beverage brands contained High Fructose Corn Syrup. Food and beverage items you possibly consume on a daily basis include HFCS as a main ingredient to sweeten the item to the consumers liking. It is shocking and disappointing to find out some of your favorite name brands are making and selling such items which are literally destroying our bodies. The list of products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup is endless. HFCS is also in the ingredients of many cold & cough suppressants. Dr. David Wallinga, co-author of the study warns citizens about the toxicity of High Fructose Corn Syrup, and is concerned for the over consumption by children.

Numerous studies have proven Mercury is Toxic and can directly affect the cognitive development of children. High Fructose Corn Syrup is known to contain high levels of Mercury due to the chlor-alkali products used in its creation, which can result in permanent brain and nervous system damage. A Study conducted by the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute confirms that High Fructose Corn Syrup requires more energy to digest and can causes fatigue, depletes our intestinal lining, and allows toxic bacteria and proteins to enter our bloodstream. The research also suggests HFCS also triggers inflammation in the body which is known to be “the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging.”

Developing minds and bodies of young children are at risk because of the many children’s foods and snacks loaded with HFCS. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High Fructose Corn Syrup makes up around “40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States.” Maintaining profits has overshadowed the health risks, many name brands are putting out various products at competing prices. Many consumers remain unaware of the toxicity of HFCS, but the opposing argument will remain the choice of the consumers, and the options are out there. These options do cost more, but that extra buck on a safer products made with raw cane sugar, stevia, honey, or agave could prolong your life.

Researchers at Princeton have concluded that High Fructose Corn Syrup does in fact contribute to considerable weight gain. Their research includes demographics which show that in 1970 only 15 percent of Americans were considered obese, today approximately one-third of U.S. adults meet the definition of obesity. One reason the rate of obesity is continuing to rise is due to the accessibility to HFCS, and the bargain sale price that attracts consumers looking to save a buck, not realizing they are putting their entire family’s health at risk. Also, a lack of awareness can play a role especially for lower income families whom may not have access to such information, or local organic health food stores. Opposition from the Corn industry or advocates of fructose will argue these studies are irrelevant because they were done on mice, who gained considerable weight when exposed to high amounts of High Fructose Corn Syrup, and no human will consume that high amount in one sitting. While they could make a case in the amounts in one particular meal, it is consuming many products with high amounts of HFCS over time will do damage to your health, and that is the main concern for these studies.

A study conducted by the University of California at Davis  was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, revealed within two weeks in the study “those consuming fructose or high-fructose corn syrup had increased blood concentrations of three known risk factors for cardiovascular disease: LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and a protein known as apolipoprotein-B, which can cause plaque buildup in arteries.” High Fructose Corn Syrup was distributed to the subjects within the Federal Dietary Guidelines, which indicates added sugar should only make up 25% of their diet. The study found that the subjects consuming fructose as a part of that diet intake produced new fat cells around their liver, heart and issues with the digestive system that are directly linked to heart disease and diabetes. What is even more interesting about this study is not what they found in subjects consuming the recommended amount of sugar in the form of fructose, but what they did not find in the subjects who consumed sugar in the form of glucose. These subjects did not have these problems with their livers, heart, blood pressure, weight gain, or abnormal cholesterol levels.

The results from these experiments are based on adults with stronger immune systems and already developed bodies. The major concern for this article is the overall health and wellness of society, but the focus should be on parents out there who need to nourish their children properly, and avoid artificially flavored foods that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. The bottom line is the results of such studies are all recognizing the health hazards involved with over consumption of HFCS, and the demographics and scientific evidence being presented continue to prove it has tipped the scale in society, and is contributing to health problems for adults and children across the country.

We know the risks of potential heart disease, diabetes, liver damage, high blood pressure, and damage to your digestive system that is result of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Let us not forget the toxicity due to high amounts of mercury which could lead to issues with cognitive development in children and cerebral issues later in life. High Fructose Corn Syrup is dangerous to our health. The evidence is already out there, and numerous studies at some of the best research facilities in the world are confirming the health risks from overconsumption of HFCS. What will it take to get HFCS banned as a sweetener and off the shelves in local markets? Common food brands pumping in profits while using cheap ingredients is an issue only the Federal Food and Drug Administration can resolve. With various options and organic foods at steeper prices, the FDA will turn the other cheek and let consumerism determine what products are on the shelves. Unfortunately, the cheaper, faster, unhealthy food loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup will remain the primary option for a budgeting family, college students, and every kid in the lunch line.


About Robert Lara

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Robert Lara studies at the University of San Francisco, College of Arts and Sciences, Political Science program. Robert has chosen FootballandFutbol.com and Baysportsreport.com as his outlets to give back to the Sports Communities, Foreign and Domestic. Robert is a proud United States Navy Veteran, and also the Co-Founder and Public Relations Officer for the United Veterans of USF.

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