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Friday, September 9, 2011

HFCS: Sweet, Slow Death

HFCS stands for high fructose corn syrup. It is a common ingredient in many processed foods, like soft drinks, fruit drinks, cereals, cereal bars, cakes, cookies, crackers, breads, cough syrups.

Actually, it would be easier to give you a list of products that don't have HFCS in it.  A great deal of fast food has HFCS in it as well. Regardless of what food it comes in, the average American consumes about 70 pounds of HFCS a year.
It has been marketed mainly by beverage companies and the Corn Refiners Association as a "natural" product, one that is "equal" to sugar and honey and that is okay to consume in "moderation". It is basically designed to be a sugar replacement and it is extremely cost effective for manufacturers to produce and they usually pass that saving on to the consumer, making it cheap to buy for people living on a tight budget.

However, there is nothing natural about it. In 2005, a pilot study was conducted and 9 of the 20 samples of HFCS tested contained measurable amounts of mercury. This apparently comes from the caustic soda and hydrochloric acid chemicals that are used to process HFCS. High consumption of HFCS can lead to mercury poisoning.

And in this country, high consumption is not hard because HFCS is in so many foods. Another study on HFCS that was conducted on rats in 2007 adds to the already present health concern over this product. This study found that rats being fed a diet that was high in HFCS were not as able to determine when they were full after eating and so they consumed large amounts of food. Four weeks into the study, these rats were showing early signs of type ll diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Further studies have found that soft drinks that are sweetened with HFCS contain 10 times as much of a toxic substance known as methylglyoxal. It is a carbonyl compound that is elevated in people with diabetes and it is this toxic substance that is largely responsible for serious diabetic complications such as foot ulcers and diabetic neuropathy (eye and nerve damage).

If this information scares you, it should. However, you can search online for websites that maintain a list of food products that do not contain HFCS if you are concerned about this health issue.

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