This sugar is called high fructose corn syrup. I'm sure you've seen the commercials touting that your body can't tell the difference, but guess who paid for that commercial. That's right the CORN INDUSTRY, who's profits come from the sale of the same high fructose corn syrup. The corn industry is also in the process of changing its name on food labels to corn syrup in an effort to escape the bad press circulating on "high fructose corn syrup". Name changes are rare, but the FDA has allowed them in the past from low erucic acid rapeseed oil, prunes, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) to canola oil, dried plums, and 25 different names including natural flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, caseinate, and gelatin. This name change could make reading food labels and picking healthy options for your family even harder.
The New York Health Department is starting a movement to decrease the sugar consumption of their state from soda and other sugary drinks specifically. Here's their most recent commercial campaign below:
Harmful side effects from high fructose corn syrup have been in the news for years and new studies are being funded for researchers to further delve into the effects of this highly processed additive in our food. Researchers from the University of California have found that pancreatic cancer cells have a particular liking for highly processed fructose and grow at a much more rapid rate when exposed to processed fructose over glucose. The fructose in fruits is not implicated in this study because the enzymes in your body begin to break it down as soon as it enters your mouth into glucose for easy metabolism. Read more here. These University of California researchers have also done another study where they took two groups of volunteers and fed them a strict diet of either high levels of glucose or fructose. After 10 weeks, testing revealed that the fructose group had produced new fat cells around their heart, liver, and other digestive organs and also showed signs of abnormalities in food processing linked with heart disease and diabetes. Weight gain rates were similar but the researchers claimed they thought weight gain in the long run. So how does fructose do all that in 10 weeks??? Fructose bypasses the digestive process that breaks down most sugars and travels straight to the liver to cause a variety of reactions including metabolic changes that cause the body from burning fat normally. Check it out here.
Princeton researchers have done two separate studies on the effects of HFCS on rats. The first extended the long term weight hypothesis of the researchers from the University of California in that it studied weight gain among fructose or sugar consuming rats. Rats given water sweetened with fructose in addition to their normal rat chow gained much more weight than their counterparts that were given water sweetened with table sugar. The concentration of sucrose was comparable to that found in commercial soda while the amount of fructose used was only half as that of commercial soda. Their second study looked at long term effects of the high fructose diet and found that the increase in body fat in the fructose group was 48% higher than those eating a normal diet. In addition, there was an not only an increase in weight specifically around the abdomen but there was also elevation of triglycerides and development of a condition known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases risk for multiple health conditions including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Read more here.
In 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared that soda should not be offered in schools due to the high HFCS content. A study from Clinical Epigenetics has linked the obesity epidemic and rising autism rates to HFCS consumption in children siting the loss of zinc and calcium related to HCFS can cause problems with heavy metal elimination and brain or muscle development. Read the full study here.
So what can you do?
1) Read the labels on your food. The ingredients list can be a very confusing study but knowing what is truly in your food can save your family's health.
2) Opt for water over sugary juice or soda. 70% of Americans are dehydrated already and water is the most deficient nutrient in your body. It is needed for every process and function in your body including weight loss, digestion, joint function, and even healing.
3) Avoid sugary drinks and foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. There's no need to put yourself at an unnecessary risk when there's many alternative products that don't have that dangerous additive.
4) Shop at the local natural food store such as Naturally Yours or Essential Wellness Pharmacy for great alternatives or healthier choices.