High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is used as a sugar substitute. I bet you guessed, it’s made from corn. I just watched a movie this week called, King Corn. It’s about 2 guys who decided to rent an acre of land in Iowa, and grow corn. But not just that, they also wanted to follow it’s path to see where it ended up. A staggering number that I got from that film… 70% of the corn the US produces each year, eventually makes it’s way into a beverage.
Studies have shown, that our highest caloric intake in this country is High Fructose Corn Syrup (Taken from video below). But How? Why? And, why is it bad? I mean, it’s corn, right? No. When you drive by a corn field, you may see rows of corn, but in fact you’re basically looking at sugar (substitute anyway). HFCS is a man made product, and Critics of the extensive use of HFCS in food sweetening argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions, and that in some foods HFCS may be a source of mercury, a known neurotoxin (according the wikipedia page).
Now, is it our fault? Look at what you buy next time you go to the grocery store. I bet 90% of the products you purchased, has HFCS in it. What does that mean?
“due to governmental subsidies of U.S. corn and an import tariff on foreign sugar, raising the price of sucrose to levels above those of the rest of the world, making HFCS cost-efficient for many sweetener applications” (also from the wiki page) and “it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods” per an article by the Mayo Clinic.
Now, there are conflicting results from different research, of course, corn growers/conglomerates trying to clear their name. And I agree with the corn growers. They aren’t the only bad guys. We shouldn’t be eating so much sugar, not just HFCS!
Now look, I’m not on some high horse. I eat foods with HFCS. It’s hard not too. But, I do try to limit the products that I do get that have it. I try to eat fresh foods. I rarely shop in “the aisles” of a grocery store. I try to buy organic products when available (and if I can afford them). I READ LABELS ALWAYS! I NEVER DRINK SODA (well, I do have organic ones sometimes, but they don’t have HFCS). We have to take control of what we put into our bodies. We don’t buy products with HFCS, those products go away, or get changed (use Gatorade as an example).
For more reading, you can check out this nice little blog: http://www.highfructosecornsyrup.org/