Article by Dr Suren Baskaran
High Fructose corn syrup(HFCS) is a combination of fructose(in high quantity) and glucose, that is manufactured from corn. The controversy is that critics say that HFCS unlike table sugar (sucrose) is more damaging to our health. However others oppose this opinion saying that there is no evidence that HFCS is worse than sugar.
HFCS was only produced in the 70s. The fact is, since 1970 we are eating much more HFCS than ever before in human history. This is because it is cheaper to produce and very versatile. HFCS is so ubiquitous, it is virtually impossible to avoid. It is found in soft drinks, packaged biscuits, condiments, jams, fast foods, low fat packaged food, cereals etc.
Critics of HFCS point out that there is an increase in diabetes and obesity which correlates with the rise of HFCS use. There are several studies in rats and humans that suggest that HFCS increases obesity and have worse blood tests outcomes compared to sucrose. Some suggest that HFCS when taken does not give a sensation of fullness and so we can consume more of it. However the studies are not conclusive and many studies also come up with different conclusions. The American Medical Association says that the evidence of HFCS being worse than sucrose is not confirmatory and more research is required.
Whether or not it is worse than table sugar is not that important. There is no dispute that HFCS is bad news. We take so much of it daily that it causes a major shift of our lipid levels to the dangerous form which includes high triglycerides. Such a lipid profile increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke. HFCS can cause liver abnormality, called `fatty liver' or NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease). We now know that NAFLD can be a serious disease than can causes scarring of the liver and liver dysfunction. HFCS also causes insulin to be less effective (insulin resistance) and a condition called metabolic syndrome. Even gout is an effect of HFCS.
Too much of HFCS and even glucose has caused so much preventable health problems. I urge you to look after yourself and your family by avoiding foods with HFCS such as sugared drinks, fast food, processed biscuits and sweets. Read food labels.
For more info on HFCS, please click here.