Wednesday, January 5, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)- 
   Not my favorite topic, but it is such a media buzz, and is one of the first things I eliminated from our diets, so I feel I should put it in a nutshell for my readers. 
   It's almost impossible to find any prepackaged food that doesn't contain HFCS and it even disguises itself under other aliases (ie; corn sugar). Strangely enough people think they are avoiding sugar and being more healthy when they consume HFCS, however, it contains higher fructose amounts than regular sugar. Ironically it was introduced 30 years ago and in the past three decades childhood obesity rates have tripled.
So what's all the buzz?

What is HFCS?
Blogger extrodinaire the "Almighty Dad" explains it well:

sucrose_1"Table sugar is a combination of fructose and glucose which are both simple sugars produced naturally by plants.  The combination is called sucrose.   Corn syrup is mainly glucose produced from corn starch.  There is no naturally occurring fructose in corn which is why corn isn’t sweet.  But, in the 1950’s, scientists found a way to convert the glucose in corn into fructose.  The resulting concoction is 90% fructose (and therefore very very sweet).  That fructose is mixed with the corn syrup, which is glucose (and not sweet), until a 45/55 balance is reached (fructose being the higher percentage).   And, presto, HFCS!  Later, in the 1970’s, the process was scaled and we saw the birth of the HFCS boom."

Why is HFCS in practically everything we consume?
The government heavily subsidizes corn, it's cheap, and acts as a preservative.

What's so bad about HFCS?
* Sometimes processed with Mercury-Mercury is toxic.
* Linked to Obesity
* Acts as a hunger trigger (the more you eat the hungrier you are)
* It's not natural. Your body cannot break down HFCS as it can more natural sugars such as honey.

HFCS foods that surprised me (note that this is just the surprises...):
Soups, whole wheat breads, tortillas, yogurt, applesauce, canned fruits/beans/veggies, infant formulas, liquid medicine
    I strongly encourage you to make an effort this new year to avoid all things HFCS. It is doable. Make an effort to read labels and chose brands that do not contain the ingredient. Even if it's not possible all the time at least you reduce your exposure!

King Corn- This is a great documentary to watch if you want HFCS in a nutshell

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