High fructose corn syrup raises insulin levels leading to diabetes and obesity
f you Google High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) you’ll get a million plus results mostly vilifying it’s consumption. If you find favorable articles most likely they are sponsored by the food or sugar industries. According to how you conduct your search you may find articles on both sides of the isle. There is no conclusive scientific evidence to disprove or approve high fructose corn syrup.
Most against articles HFCS blame the synthetic and toxic byproducts left behind in the syrup during manufacturing. Also an association with obesity due to its widespread use in foods of all sorts. High fructose corn syrup shows up in every food we can think of, in larger and larger amounts.
What is high fructose corn syrup?
The major manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup farm giants Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill and Corn Products International. They say their product is natural because it is made from plain old corn. They fail to tell the public that, some are made from genetically modified corn and also contain synthetic materials and color and flavor additives.
You can’t simply make corn syrup with a couple cubs of corn in your kitchen. Michael F. Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group says that unlike sugar molecules found in sugar stalks and beets, high fructose corn syrup is artificial because it is not found anywhere in corn. So what is the problem in eating foods that are not natural?
Why HFCS is so bad?
The main problem as far as diabetes and obesity are concern, is that because high fructose corn syrup has a weak bond of fructose and glucose it is easily digestible and the body absorbs it too quickly. It requires less energy to be broken down. This affects glucose levels in the bloodstream but some research also show insignificant differences between high fructose corn syrup and regular table sugar as far as absorption is concern.
Research is also inconclusive when it comes to the production of insulin, leptin (a hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism), ghrelin (the “hunger” hormone), or the changes in blood glucose levels it creates. In addition, satiety studies done on high fructose corn syrup and sugar (sucrose) have found no difference in appetite regulation, feelings of fullness, or short-term energy intake.
Other problems are the presence of mercury due to its manufacturing. Again it all depends on who you ask. My other post “The bitter taste of high fructose corn syrup” goes into more detail. The bottom line is that too much time is spent in deciding whether high fructose corn syrup is bad for you or not. The devil is perhaps on how much we consume HFCS.
What should we paying attention to who much HFCS we eat
The problem is that while we discuss how bad or not so bad the sweet stuff is, the food industry is stuffing it in every food we eat. The primary recipients are the sodas. A single 12-ounce can of soda has as much as 13 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. The amount of soda we drink has more than doubled since 1970 to about 56 gallons per person per year, so has the amount of high fructose corn syrup we take in.
In 2001 we ate 63 pounds of it per person according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because it is so inexpensive and a versatile sweetener it has crept in so many other foods. A low fat fruit-flavored yogurt has 10 teaspoons of fructose-based sweetener in one serving. The list of food containing high fructose corn syrup is long, very long which include sauces and salad dressings; breads; fruits and vegetables (canned items); breakfast cereals; snack foods; all candies; yogurt; “natural” juice; nutritional bars.
These foods have doses of high fructose corn syrup that are increasing with time and even those not normally associated with sweetness; this have helped boost overall sweetener intake by 19 percent since 1970. As a result, Americans now eat about 523 more calories each day. And about 76 of those extra daily calories come from sugars and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. At last count in 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that Americans eat 79 pounds of corn sweetener per year—a four-fold increase from 1970.
So what’s the problem?
With more sweeteners available in the food system, and with more high-calorie, sweetened convenience foods than ever before, Americans are becoming overweight. The largest nation of sweetener consumers on the planet, the U.S. faces what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call “a growing obesity epidemic.” So it’s about time we switch the focus of our discussion to how much we eat of glucose/fructose because when you’re drowning on sugar we have to first stop the flood then take care of the rest. At the end of the day, it all turns into sugar; one just might be a little worst then the other. Probably is
- Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity1,2
- High Fructose Corn Syrup and diabetes prevalence: a global perspective
- Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup:
Frequently Asked Questions
- High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body
weight, body fat and triglyceride levels
- High Fructose Corn Syrup:
- Sweetening the Pot
Implicit Subsidies to Corn Sweeteners and the U.S. Obesity Epidemic