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Saturday, October 9, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Why To Avoid It

In my last post, I listed the top 5 ingredients to avoid when shopping.  In my next few posts, I will give you a little insight as to WHY those five ingredients don’t come in my house.  Today, I will discuss High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

What’s the big deal?  Isn’t it just sugar?  No.  It is a highly refined derivative of corn starch.  I won’t bore you with how they remove the starch from the corn, but you can go here and read all about it. Once the starch is removed from the corn, it is then mixed with hydrochloric acid and heat to produce corn syrup.  This process converts the starch molecules into a sugar.  The length of the process determines the sweetness of the sugar.  The longer they allow the procedure (called acid hydrolysis) to continue, the sweeter the syrup will taste.  To make the corn syrup into high fructose corn syrup, it goes through something called enzyme conversion which will result in a solution that has a fructose level of 55%.

Your body metabolizes fructose differently than it does glucose.  I implore you to do some research and learn about what it does in your body.  I will give you a little preview.  The following are a few of the resulting effects that HFCS can have on your body.
  • Destructive to your liver
  • Weight gain
  • Increases triglyceride and HDL (bad cholesterol) levels, leading to heart disease

On top of all that, it is produced using genetically modified corn, which brings a whole new myriad of problems.  It has also been found to have high levels of mercury.  Again, the problems that can cause are numerous.

So, why do companies use HFCS instead of good old sugar? 
  • Longer shelf life
  • It is sweeter than sugar
  • Lower cost (due to how much sweeter it is)
  • Keeps food moist longer

Long story short, it’s just good business.  So sorry if it causes heart disease and adds to the growing obesity rate in the United States!  I’ve heard rumors that HFCS is banned in some other countries, but I couldn’t confirm that with a quick search on the net.  So, feel free to do your own research. then come back here and leave a comment telling me where to find it!

I hope that this helps clear up why you should take HFCS out of your diet TODAY.  Seriously, go through your pantries and check out all your food.  If you don’t want to waste it I understand, but you will at least know for future shopping trips what products to skip.

I know it will be hard to avoid your usual products, but it will be well worth it for your health and the health of your family.  Good luck on your next shopping trip!



Kristie said...

I love this BLOG. We recently saw KING CORN, a documentary, that showed how HFCS was produced. It was all about how cheap it is. As Americans, we need to come to recognize that cheap food will cost us more in the long run with our health. While we can not avoid it totally, we can limit it!

As far as health, the fact that it has NO nutional value should be reason enough not to use it, but in addition your body recognizes it as a chemical not as food which messes up a lot of other stuff.

Thanks for passing that info along!

nicnac said...

Thanks Kristie! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Please pass it on if you have friends that may not already know the info. I've never seen King Corn. I'll have to check it out!