The Dangers And Harmful Effects Of High Fructose Corn Syrup
The story of high fructose corn syrup is filled with the pitfalls of government negligence and the paranoia of a public that is skeptical about the motives of politicians. It is also a story that indicates the current interest in health matters. The public is no longer interested in leaving things to chance. They will do everything in their power to ensure that the providers of food products are kept honest in their practice. The sector that is responsible for creating this product has also not been lazy. They have hit the waves with a series of publicity leaflets that are intended to convince the public that there is nothing wrong with this product.
Perhaps there is an element of unfairness in the way that the product has been attacked. Nevertheless a closer examination will indicate that there are really serious concerns about the product and this is not some sort of fool’s errand that is not responsive to the situation on the ground. There are many experts that are only too willing to give their biased opinions on the product without considering the devastating effect that the whole thing has on the market in general. On the other hand it would appear that there is indeed a legitimate case to determine the validity of the pertinent points which have been raised by the public and health experts.
The Clever Use Of Natural Branding
Many products include the word “natural” in response to the modern obsession with everything organic. In reality there are very few products which are truly organic. Many of them will have some sort of an element of synthetic additives. That is part and parcel of the way that things are done in this part of the world. It must be understood that corn is a grain and not a vegetable. A grain is subject to all sorts of processing which could change its organic status. Grains typically call for quick metabolism which in turn can require high insulin output. That will strain the pancreas and can eventually lead to type II diabetes.
The use of high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, has been in the ascendancy since the early 1970s. That was the age of processed food and cheap tips to enable the housewife to break even. Of course in these times we look at 1970s food with disgust. It was really appalling food by any stretch of imagination. Nevertheless profits always overtake public health in terms of priority, therefore we are stuck with high fructose corn syrup for the foreseeable future.
A Link To Serious Health Conditions
Research suggests that products which are made from corn tend to increase Osteoporosis. At a time when budgets for healthcare services are being cut in almost all developed countries, this is not the place to promote the use of high fructose corn syrup. It is a risk that is not necessary for the dietary requirements of the general public. The Native Americans across the Atlantic were exposed to this condition when corn based diets were introduced by the European invaders. It must also be understood that corn is a really poor source of certain essential nutrients such as protein and minerals. It is deficient in three of the eight essential amino acids. Corn also has too much Phytate. This is a chemical that binds iron making it difficult to absorb within the digestive system. All these issues can lead to serious diseases of deficiency such as anemia.
The corn which is such a strong component of high fructose corn syrup is deficient in Niacin, the B3 vitamin that is essential for normal body function. It is also a very poor source of tryptophan. This in turn will lead to Pellagra, a condition characterized by: diarrhea, depression and dermatitis. Apart from these deficiencies, high fructose corn syrup is capable of causing very high blood sugar levels. That will then lead to obesity and its associated conditions. In some experiments this product has been linked to heart disease, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
To make matters worse, the product tends to increase cholesterol and fat content in the diet. That can inhibit micro circulatory activities through the brain. Therefore a person can face instant death because the vital organs of the body are starved of nutrients and oxygen. This product is cleverly included in different items that are on sale so that the public is not even aware that they could be inadvertently participating in a huge poisonous expedition. The public is therefore warned to be vigilant when assessing food labels so that they can keep away from high fructose corn syrup.
The Landscape For High Fructose Corn Syrup Effects
Using high fructose corn syrup is a health risk. The manufacturers of these products seem to understand these problems. However their response is not to protect the public but to create even more persuasive advertising. There has been research conducted by a member of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in relation to high fructose corn syrup. The results indicate that this product is contaminated with the highly toxic heavy metal mercury. In the light of such findings, it seems outrageous that this product is still on the shelves. It should have been ditched ages ago. The most worrisome thing is that this ingredient is hidden within ordinary products such as salad dressing, candy bars, fruit drinks, pizza sauces and even bread.
The presence of mercury within high fructose corn syrup understandably must be a cause for public concern. Mercury is linked to high grade neurological disorders. Sufferers tend to experience loss of teeth and hair. They are subject to chronic muscle fatigue and unreliable kidney functionality. The presence of emotional mood swings can have serious social implications for these patients. In one study it was found that each gram of high fructose corn syrup contained about 0.57 micrograms of mercury. To make matters worse it has been found that the average American consumes no less than twelve teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup in every twenty four hours. The EPA should really be alarmed about this trend.
The Questionable Process Of Creating High Fructose Corn Syrup
The public has been kept in the dark about the actual process that is used to construct high fructose corn syrup. At one stage of the manufacturing process, a toxic brew of caustic soda is electrified using mercury. The breakdown process is bizarre enough to cause alarm in even the most naïve consumers in the world. The process of creating this ingredient will use Glutaraldehyde which is capable of burning the stomach lining. In a rather ironic twist, the chief publicists for the Corn Refiners Association are based in Chicago. One can only hope that they do not do things “the Chicago way”.
Of course we have to remember that about forty billion US dollars has been earmarked for subsidizing corn growers. They hope that high fructose corn syrup will eventually replace cane sugar. Such a significant amount of money is not going down without a fight. The vested interests will ensure that they get their pound of flesh. Moreover high fructose corn syrup has been found to be deficient in the hunger hormone Ghrelin. That means that the consumption of the ingredient does not diminish hunger. In any event customers will continue to return for more food regardless of the consumption levels. At the expense of increased obesity, the manufactures of high fructose corn syrup will be guaranteed a constant stream of purchases.
The Culture Of Disbelief In The Harmful Effects Of High Fructose Corn Syrup
The manufacturers of this product have managed to convince the public of its efficacy and “natural’ status. If anyone dares to create an opposing food, then the PR machine will quickly run to the website and request the article to be taken offline. Of course these are signs that deep down, the manufacturers understand the harmful effects that can arise from the product. The big investments notwithstanding, there is a need to protect the public from serious conditions such as Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. These are conditions that can reduce the quality of life that the patient enjoys. They also put an unnecessary strain on the healthcare budgets of developed nations.
Consumers have to be very wary of products that have dubious manufacturing processes. They also need to ensure that they clearly understand the content of the food that they purchase from traditional stores. Seemingly harmless products such as bread could contain unacceptable levels of mercury. They should also read the information that is available online. This will enable them to understand some of the risks which are hidden through the enforcement of a strong PR machine. This is a health issue that concerns every single member of the public. It extends beyond the United States of America to developing nations where state authorities do not treat these issues with the seriousness that they deserve. In doing so, the public will be able to take back the debate concerning high fructose corn syrup.
Part II: A History of Stringent Scrutiny Concerning High Fructose Corn Syrup
The story of high fructose corn syrup began with the need to create products that would add convenience and affordability to the public diet. One might be forgiven for believing that this is a symptom of an extremely lazy society that is not able to go out and cook food in the normal way. Nevertheless it must be said that sucrose has been part of the human diet for significant periods of time. It is the manipulation of the basic ingredients that has caused so many headaches to the health conscious section of the public. The development of high fructose corn syrup was partly linked to its amazing stability in liquid products. Furthermore the raw material, corn, could be cheaply produced across the United States of America.
Research then began to criticize this ingredient with increasing stridency. In 2004 Bray worked with other publishers to create a hypothesis of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a causative element in chronic obesity. The study looked at the rates of incidence between 1960 and 2000. Scientific circles were increasingly wary of high fructose corn syrup. Nutrition journals took up the battle cry against this product. The five assumptions that underpinned this hypothesis were as follows:
1. High fructose corn syrup and sucrose are different.
2. High fructose corn syrup uniquely promotes obesity.
3. High fructose corn syrup was predictive of obesity in the United States of America.
4. High fructose corn syrup was predictive of global obesity.
5. Obesity could be reduced by removing high fructose corn syrup from the diet.
Debunking The Myths Surrounding High Fructose Corn Syrup
Some research indicates that in fact high fructose corn syrup is not all that different from sucrose. Therefore the assumption that sugar cane is better than HFCS is not entirely accurate. Perhaps the problems will arise during the manufacturing process. In fact HFCS has a component of 42% fructose elements numbered HFCS-42 and about 55% of another type of fructose that is numbered HFCS-55. The rest is free glucose and bound glucose. Additionally, there are traces of maltose and maltotriose. The higher fructose content of HFCS-80 and HFCS-90 is only found in highly specialized products that are not readily available on the market.
In some instances commentators have confused high fructose corn syrup with common corn syrup or even pure fructose. This confusion might allocate some elements to HFCS which are not entirely accurate. At another angle the emotive word “high” can create public alarm about possible harmful effects. Realizing that the name for high fructose corn syrup does not help its cause, you now have a campaign to rename it to corn sugar.
The aim is to make the link between high fructose corn syrup and obesity obscured and questioned thus they can make it seem that independent analysis of content as well as disease prevalence is not entirely clear. In other words they try to make it seem that obesity is caused by other ingredients other than high fructose corn syrup. But as we read above the science has another view. Of course factors such as the bovine growth hormone in meat, other types of sweeteners, high consumption of sugar, poor diet and lack of exercise just to name of few factors also have a role to play.
What Is Said In Support Of High Fructose Corn Syrup:
American Medical Association:
“Because the composition of HFCS and sucrose are so similar, particularly on absorption by the body, it appears unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose.”
American dietetic Association:
“High fructose corn syrup is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable.”
Ph.D., M.D., David S. Ludwig Associate professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, NBC Nightly News:
“High fructose corn syrup is one o the most misunderstood products in the food supply”
Joy Bauer, M.S. R.D., C.D.N., Nutrition and health expert for the TODAY show:
“In many ways, high fructose corn syrup in not all that different from the regular, white table sugar we add to coffee or homemade baked goods”
Marion Nestle, Ph.D,. Paulette Goddard Professor of nutrition, food studies and public health, New York university, food politics blog:
“The public now puts HFCS in the same category as trans fats: poison (it’s not; it’s just sugars).
Emily Fredrix, AP Marketing Writer, Associated Press:
“But sugar and high fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same and there’s no evidence that the sweetener is any worse for the body than sugar, said Michael Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the public interest. “The bottom line is people should consume less of all sugars,” Jacobson said.
Alleged simple facts:
High fructose corn syrup is simply a kind of corn sugar that is processed by your digestive system the same as sugar or honey.
When high-fructose corn syrup and sugar are absorbed into our bloodstream, the two are indistinguishable by the body.
Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Redbook, June 2010:
Many people do not realize that high fructose corn syrup is composed of the same simple sugars found in table sugar and honey, namely glucose and fructose, in virtually the same ratios.
“White sugar, brown sugar, sucrose, honey, maple syrup, even high-fructose corn syrup are all roughly the same mix of the simple sugars called glucose and fructose.”
Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., Nutrition and Health Expert for The TODAY Show, Woman’s Day, May 1, 2010
For the most part, you’ll find high fructose corn syrup in the same kinds of products in which you would find sugar or other sweeteners.
“HFCS is a useful ingredient because of its sweetness and ability to blend with other food and beverage ingredients. When methods for producing HFCS improved, food and beverage companies replaced other sweeteners with HFCS.”
International Food Information Council, Questions and Answers about Fructose, September 29, 2009
High fructose corn syrup, also known as corn sugar, has been used in the food supply for more than forty years to make high fiber foods palatable, maintain freshness and enhance flavors in foods and beverages. Additionally, high fructose corn syrup keeps our foods affordable.
“HFCS was developed in the 1970s when the food industry began looking for alternatives to traditional cane sugar that could provide similar sweetness, taste and quality for a fraction of the price. All forms of HFCS come from corn starch and are mixtures of the natural glucose and fructose that exist in the starch itself. No artificial ingredients are used in the manufacturing process. The resulting HFCS product is extremely similar to table sugar (sucrose) and has a similar taste.”
A sugar is a sugar whether it comes from corn sugar or cane sugar. All are safe and natural. Your body can’t tell the difference.
“Regardless if it’s honey, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup or just plain sugar, we metabolize it the same.” Carrie Taylor, R.D., L.D.N., Registered Dietitian for Big Y Foods, ABC 40 News at 12, April 8, 2009
Like all foods, sweeteners should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
“… consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations as well as individual health goals.”
American Dietetic Association, Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, February 2004
Break down from the “Supporters” of HFCS:
1. The composition of high fructose corn syrup is very similar to other seemingly benign fructose and glucose sweeteners such as fruit juice concentrates and sucrose.
2. The consumption of high fructose corn syrup cannot be wholly blamed for the increase in calorific intake since 1970. This increase is partly explained by the increase in the consumption of flour, fats and cereals.
3. It is unreasonable to blame high fructose corn syrup for the worldwide increases in obesity. Although it takes about 50% consumption in the USA, the world figure is just 10%.
4. It is possible to metabolize high fructose corn syrup using the same pathways that are available for other fructose-glucose sweeteners. Therefore HCFS does not represent a uniquely challenging dietary requirement.
5. The link to obesity that has plagued high fructose corn syrup is debunked by a recent decline in proportional consumption. Meanwhile obesity rates continue to rise unabated.
As expected these conclusions are furiously disputed by people who do not believe in the benign capabilities of high fructose corn syrup. The researchers and their supporters are open to personal attack.
The consequences of consuming high fructose corn syrup
1. Consumers can age quite rapidly if they continue to take high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Of course this leads to the increased paranoia about the use of high fructose corn syrup in a normal diet. The community is particularly concerned that the mistakes of youth will come back to haunt individual members at a later stage in life.
2. It is possible to develop insulin resistance due to the disruptions of the metabolic and digestive systems. That would be a great challenge for diabetic consumers. The advice from experts is to consume a specialized diet that strictly limits the inclusion of this ingredient. Therefore only errors would affect the client.
3. The reckless consumption of high fructose corn syrup can lead to type II diabetes. The resultant complications include retinopathy or blindness, nephropathy or kidney disease, dialysis, neuropathy, impotence, speech impairment and loss of bladder control. These are very serious problems that could require extensive clinical intervention in order to overcome them.
4. People that subsist on a diet of high fructose corn syrup could develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This has a high fatality rate in most communities. Of course the fact that it is preventable makes it imperative that the community is aware of all the ingredients that are put in the food chain.
5. Consumers can develop high levels of uric acid or hyperuricemia which could lead to the ancient disease of gout and a metabolic syndrome. Some people assume that these diseases died with the aristocracy. In reality, they are very much alive and can cause significant havoc within the community.
6. Some studies link high consumption of high fructose corn syrup to high triglyceride levels in the body as well as atherosclerosis or even cardiovascular diseases. The first symptom that the individual will likely experience is when they collapse and are taken into an emergency room.
Conclusion to the High Fructose Corn Syrup Story
There is plenty of debate surrounding high fructose corn syrup. Some people say that it is responsible for obesity and mercury poisoning. They point to the calorific content as one of the principle reasons for the objections that they have. On the other hand there is a school of thought that disputes the relevance of the assumptions that lead to the negative stereotyping of the ingredient. The manufacturing process that includes mercury poisoning is not strongly disputed. Instead we have arguments that high fructose corn syrup is just as bad as other sugars. This does not take public health to the place where it needs to be. It has been made quite clear that high fructose corn syrup is harmful to your health. Therefore the regulatory authorities need to ensure that the products on the market are carefully vetted to prevent HFCS. It is the responsible thing to do and will greatly enhance the safety of our world. For more please visit the independent media and alternative health blog wholenews.org.