You know what they say about high-fructose corn syrup?

Well it looks like they were right.

Many of us suspected all along that the stuff was unhealthy, many people just didn’t like the way it made their sodas taste, even more were shocked at just how much stuff it was in. Well, now Science has given a definitive reason for avoiding it.

“Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.”

Well, that’s just dandy. I mean, haven’t we been told all along that it’s just like sugar?

Turns out, not so much:
“Fructose bypasses the digestive process that breaks down other forms of sugar. It arrives intact in the liver where it causes a variety of abnormal reactions, including the disruption of mechanisms that instruct the body whether to burn or store fat.”

Well golly, doesn’t that just make you want to run right out and feed it to your kids to show them how much you love them???

Here are a few tips for avoiding HFCS in your diet:
1. Don’t drink soda or processed fruit juices without reading the labels. “kosher” coke and several Mexican brands of soda like Jarritos do not contain HFCS. Neither does our perrennial favorite Jones Soda.

2. Avoid fast food. ’nuff said.

3. READ ingredients labels on any processed food you buy. This includes breads, canned fruits and vegetables, pickles, soups, sauces, you name it. The stuff hides in unexpected places. It doesn’t matter if the foods are labelled organic or natural, as FDA loopholes in both of those classifications allow HFCS to be snuck in. (I’ve read that if the product reads 100% organic, you’re ok, because there’s no way to make 100% organic HFCS, but I can’t seem to find any real documentation of that claim.)

4. Cook from scratch, with real, unproccessed, fresh ingredients.

And here’s a discussion list including some of people’s best choices for products without it.


2 thoughts on “You know what they say about high-fructose corn syrup?

  1. This news story conflates some things badly, and it bugs the hell out of me when they do that — HFCS is **NOT** fructose. Studies into the way fructose works are inadequate to studying HFCS, and cannot be used to derive understanding of the product. And, fructose is NOT derived from breaking down corn — it is a natural sugar found in many sources, like agave nectar (a mostly fructose sweetener nutritionally equivalent to HFCS-90).

    So, what is HFCS? It starts as corn syrup, which is naturally glucose and fructose in combination. For certain forms of corn there is some free starch than can be turned into fructose with the right chemical or enzymatic process. Whent that is done you have HFCS, a sweet syrup. The number after HFCS indicates the percentage of fructose compared to glucose.

    As far as the body cares, it’s a complex sugar, and it carries all the good and bad from that.

    Some things worth knowing:

    1. HFCS is created using an enzyme that arises in the levening process, thus Kosher-for-Passover Coke can’t contain it. However, HFCS *CAN* be created other ways that keeps it Kosher-for-Passover, it’s just too expensive. If that process reduced in cost, it’d be the one that was used.

    2. There is a 100% organic way to create the necessary enzymes that create HFCS at the right ratios. And, the process itself can be done in a completely organic way. Again, it’s expensive now, but should it become viable even 100% organic labels wouldn’t be sufficient. Always read the whole ingredient list.

    3. HFCS-55 (the most commonly used variety) has the exact same fructose and glucose ratio as in honey. And, in studies of the effects of significant influx of natural honey sugars the same metabolic issues were seen as with HFCS. The problem isn’t HFCS, but the ubiquity of it (it’s often used in baking for browning, for example).

    4. The studies that show the metabolic issues with pure fructose are valid (insomuch as they evaluate only a part of HFCS) but the exact same issues arise once sucrose is broken down (the component fructose is generally sent off to the liver then, too, since it is an overage for required energy sources). Again, the problem is the high use, not the ingredient itself.

    HFCS is not the enemy. Our sweet-tooth is.

    • Actually, it is the enemy, for many reasons. One I didn’t even touch on is the fact that studies have shown that almost half of all HFCS samples (and the foods containing them) contain mercury.

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