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Think about the nutritional labels on beverages, fruit juices, cookies, confectionery, and possibly on any bread, pasta sauce, or breakfast cereal found in your diet. Chances are you’ll see High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
There are some that say that high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is no worse for you than regular table sugar. On the other hand, there are others that say HFCS is detrimental to your health. So why are there such serious health risks with fructose corn syrup?
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
HFCS is one of the cheapest sweeteners around and is used widely by processed food companies as a way to flavor food and boost profits. Unfortunately, high fructose corn syrup destroys the metabolism and is detrimental to weight loss. It seems to be in everything you eat nowadays.
It is a cheap replacement for sugar and makes everyday things taste sweeter. Invented in 1957 by removing glucose from corn syrup it became an instant hit with the public and food manufacturers alike.
It has made billions for the corn industry who spend millions on advertising, Brochures and websites touting the benefits and trot out report after report showing that it is just like sugar. That alone is enough to make one cautious.
There are commercials that say that HFCS and sugar are the same, but this isn’t true. Here are a couple of reasons why:
1. High fructose corn syrup has been proven to contribute to the development of dangerous health issues like diabetes, obesity, and more. In a study done at Princeton University, rats that had access to HFCS gained a dramatic amount of weight in comparison to the ones that only had access to table sugar. This remained true even when both groups consumed the same amount of calories.
2. In another study, conducted over a period of six months, it was shown that rats that consumed high fructose corn syrup showed an abnormal amount of weight gain, an increase in the amount of triglycerides (which prevents the hormone leptin from telling your brain that you are full), and a significant increase in the amount of fat around the belly.
3. In addition to these studies, there are many health-related organizations that have been able to find a link between the increased use of high fructose corn syrup in food and increased obesity rates.
Although nothing has been proven indefinitely, there are too many studies that point to the negative effects of HFCS for them to be easily dismissed.
4. The biggest problem concerning the consumption high fructose corn syrup is that when ingested it prevents you from feeling full. At the very least, although somewhat harmful, regular sugar will help calm that hungry feeling.
HFCS can be found in a variety of foods; from baked goods to beverages. When we ingest this food, the high fructose corn syrup somehow tricks the body and tells it not to release the hormones that indicate that you are full.
Therefore, eating or drinking high fructose corn syrup will actually contribute to you eating more; a factor that is detrimental to diets and weight loss.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Where is it used?
HFCS is used in almost all food that is manufactured today. The word manufactured is a correct one for if you saw how much processing goes into the food you buy at the grocery store to allow products to sit on the shelf for months and also that are almost addictive in the amounts of sweetness that is employed to get you to consume the products and come back for more.
Foods With High Fructose Corn Syrup
According to some experts, high fructose corn syrup goes a long way toward addiction, thereby setting up a cycle of overeating similar foods. Here is just a short list of products that you consume regularly that contains HFCS:
- Kellogg’s cereals
- Nabisco products
- Kraft Mac and Cheese
- Cocktail nuts
- Salad Dressing
- Canned fruits
- Peanut Butter
- Philadelphia cream cheese
- Frozen Pizzas
- Campbell’s soups
- Steak sauces
- Oscar Meyer products
- Heinz Ketchup
- Hunt’s Catsup
Pros and Cons of High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS wouldn’t be used unless it had some distinct benefits to Big Business.
- Increases energy to your muscles the same as sugar
- Tastes good and makes other things taste better(some say it is addictive)
- Inexpensive when compared to sugar
- Ease of storage and shelf life
- Keeps prices of food low
There are some serious drawbacks though, all you have to do is look around you and see the results of the current diets practiced by Americans today.
Fast Food only makes the problem worse and now it gets most of the blame. It’s not Fast Food fault per se, it’s the additives like HFCS that are the true culprits.
HFCS has been linked to the rise in Obesity among the young and adults alike. HFCS has also been linked to liver problems. Hypertension is on the rise along with plaque buildup in the coronary Arteries.
Hosts of metabolic-related issues are coming to light in recent studies. We consume almost 140 pounds of HFCS and Sugar each year.
What You Can Do
Begin an exercise program and weight loss program if you are overweight. Start eating more healthy foods. Drink more water. Read the labels of what you are putting into your body. Cut back on your soft drink consumption.
Cut back on Fast Food. Cut back on processed foods. During World War II Victory Gardens provided much of the food to people living at the time. A home garden is an ideal way to start living a healthier lifestyle.
Many apartment dwellers, however, do not have the amount of land available to do that nowadays, Container Gardening or use what is called Square Foot Gardening, which can be adapted to rooftops or a balcony to supplement your diet.
You have to take charge and be responsible for your health and lifestyle. Working to become more self-sufficient, is one way of doing this, by starting a home garden and growing some of your own food.
It wouldn’t replace all the products that have HFCS in them. But it can help you achieve a more nutritious diet keeping your health on a more even keel.
It is hard, but not impossible to avoid high fructose corn syrup. Although it seems that HFCS is in virtually all foods, there are many healthy foods, like the whole grain or organic versions of baked beans, condiments, applesauce, bread, salad dressing, cereal bars, cracker, protein bars, pasta sauce, peanut butter, soda, fruit drinks, and more that don’t contain it.
To make sure, check their nutrition labels when grocery shopping. In addition, if used in moderation, regular sugar can be used to flavor foods.
This article has attempted to highlight some of the problems associated with HFCS used in our diets today. It is so prevalent in the Fast Food Industry and commercial products that you buy in stores today it is almost impossible to avoid it unless you are vigilant.
The bottom line is: high fructose corn syrup has the ability to boost our fat storing hormones and plays a huge part in the development of obesity, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and more. In other words, high fructose corn syrup should be completely taken out of your diet.