Tami Canal | The Anti-Media
A massive 30 million dollar ad campaign by the Corn Refiners Association claims that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a “natural” sweetener made from corn, equating it to table sugar and honey. The ads insinuate that high fructose corn syrup has been unfairly portrayed and that this truly American ingredient is fine in moderation. Image credit: poolie
First of all, there’s nothing natural about high fructose corn syrup and it most definitely does not exist in nature. The process starts off with corn kernels, true, but then that corn is spun at a high velocity and combined with three other enzymes: alpha-amylase, glucoamylase, and xylose isomerase, so that it forms a thick syrup that’s way sweeter than sugar and super cheap to produce. That’s why it’s poured into a huge majority of mass produced processed foods.
In the 40 years of high fructose corn syrup’s existence, rates of obesity in the US have skyrocketed. In 1970, around 15% of the US population was obese. Now, that figure has more than doubled. Roughly 33% of the US population is now obese.
In America today, record numbers of sugar are being consumed. In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America. The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup. When sugar is consumed in such high doses, it becomes a toxin.
As part of the chemical process used to make high fructose corn syrup, the glucose and fructose — which are naturally bound together — become separated. This allows the fructose to mainline directly into your liver, which turns on a factory of fat production in your liver called lipogenesis. This leads to fatty liver, the most common disease in America affecting over 90 million people. High fructose corn syrup is the true culprit of the current epidemic of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, Type 2 diabetes, which is a result of fatty liver.
Another big problem with HFCS consumption is the interference it causes with the body’s metabolism. It’s truly hard to control cravings because high fructose corn syrup slows down the secretion of leptin in the body. Leptin is a crucial hormone in the body that tells you that you’re full and to stop eating. That’s why HFCS is closely associated with obesity in this country. It’s like an addictive drug.
And what about the rumors of mercury being found in corn syrup? Chloralkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup. Chloralkai contains mercury. And there are trace amounts of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup-containing beverages. In one study, published in the Journal of Environmental Health, former Food and Drug Administration scientist Renee Dufault and colleagues tested 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup and found detectable mercury in nine of the 20 samples.
“We went and looked at supermarket samples where high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label,” Dr. David Wallinga, a food safety researcher and activist at the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy said. These 55 different foods included barbecue sauce, jam, yogurt, and chocolate syrup. “We found about one out of three had mercury above the detection limit,” Wallinga said.
Luckily, there are a lot more options when it comes to avoiding this frightening ingredient. The Corn Refiners Association wouldn’t spend $30 million on advertisements if they didn’t feel threatened and that’s because more and more alternatives are becoming available. Read labels on every processed food that you buy. Stores like Whole Foods and Earth Fare carry tons of foods without it. If you want to stay healthy, lose weight easily, get rid of chronic disease, and help reduce the obesity epidemic, the single most important thing you can do is eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet and from your children’s diet. If you want to have some sugar, do so in moderation. Have a little sugar, but add it yourself. Don’t eat food made with added sugar. Cut the high fructose corn syrup from your life forever. You’ll be healthier and we’ll have a healthier generation of children.
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