Are you wondering if high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is bad for you? High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS for short, is a popular sweetening ingredient used in processed foods of all sorts. You have probably heard a great deal about it in the news in the past few years. Food manufacturers have started switching from sugar to HFCS due to its cheaper cost from the 1970s. Some say it is okay to eat and others say it is not. We say, why risk it?
Below is a sample list of foods that frequently contain high fructose corn syrup. Keep in mind that HFCS is found in all types of foods, so always vigilantly check your labels!
- Soft drinks (most common)
- Salad dressings
- Ice cream
- Cookies, chocolate bars
- Some “diet” foods
High Fructose Corn Syrup, Why Risk It?
There have been so many studies done on the negative consequences of consuming HFCS. Despite what some people or organizations say to defend high fructose corn syrup, why risk it? If you want to eat something sweet, you are better off eating something made with ordinary sugar.
Here is a list of reasons why high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is bad for you:
Studies have detected mercury in HFCS
Did you know that high fructose corn syrup can contain mercury? A recent study of foods containing large amounts of high fructose corn syrup found that one in three samples contained detectable amounts of mercury. Mercury can cause neurological problems in high enough quantities. Babies and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to mercury poisoning.
Most HFCS is made from genetically modified corn
Genetically modified foods can cause major damage to your immune system or even cause cancer.
HFCS causes more weight gain than ordinary sugar
A study at Princeton University showed that rats that were fed HFCS gained a lot more weight than those fed table sugar, even though their caloric intake was the same.
HFCS interferes with leptin
High fructose corn syrup interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, which as a result causes you to overeat. When you are eating food, leptin is the hormone that gives the signal that you have eaten enough. When the brain does not get this signal, you will keep eating since you do not feel full.
HFCS turns to fat faster than any other form of sugar
The way the body processes HFCS is different from other forms of sugar. Without getting into the details of the biology, the liver metabolizes the sugar from this syrup faster than any other known sugar form. That means it converts to fat quicker as well. This also creates a type of fat that concentrates around your stomach area.
Where Can You Start?
Start by dramatically cutting down fast foods and processed foods, since these usually contain high amounts of HFCS. If you want to buy sweet snacks or drinks, make sure to check labels and avoid the ones made with HFCS. Nowadays with increased consumer awareness of the dangers of HFCS, there are cakes, cookies, and drinks produced with regular sugar. This in itself will go a long way.
Ultimately the goal is to cut down dramatically on all forms of fructose. However eliminating high fructose corn syrup should be your first priority. After that, try cutting down on all forms of fructose including:
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Table sugar (sucrose)
- Corn syrup
- Agave syrup
- Fruit juice
Stevia, which is a natural herb, is a great alternative to all fructose, since it has zero calories and no known side effects. It tastes great especially in liquid or semi-liquid foods including almond milk, coffee, tea, and yogurt.