High Fructose Corn Syrup, also known as HFCS, was introduced in 1970. Today corn syrup is found in almost everything. It is in most candy, soda, fruit drinks, baby foods, applesauce, ketchup, condiments, canned fruits, ice cream, yogurt, jellies, sauces, salad dressings, fast food, coffee creamers, cereals, baked products and many foods marketed to children. Reports show the average American eats 41.5 to 60 pounds of high fructose corn syrup every year!
Corn syrup is made from the starch of corn. It contains maltose and oligosaccharides. It is used in food to add volume, enhance the flavor, soften the texture, and to prevent the crystallization of sugar.
In 2010, a Princeton University study found that rats given a high fructose corn syrup diet gained significantly more weight than rats that were fed table sugar, even though both groups were fed the same caloric intake. They also found that the rats weren’t just getting fat, but showed characteristics of obesity, including accumulation of abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides. In humans, these characteristics are risk factors for diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and cancer.
A 2012 study conducted by UCLA reported that high fructose corn syrup sabotages learning and causes memory problems. Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. and co-author Rahul Agrawal, studied two groups of rats. Both groups were fed a corn syrup solution as drinking water for six weeks. The second group also received omega-3 fatty acids. The animals diet’s also included standard rat chow. Before starting the experiment, the rats were trained on a maze twice a day for five days. The UCLA team assessed how well the rats were able to proceed through the maze, which had many holes but only one exit. Visual landmarks were placed throughout the maze to help the rats remember the way. After six weeks, the researchers found that the second group of rats, who were fed omega-3 fatty acids, were much faster than the rats who were not. The rats who were not fed the omega-3 fatty acids were slower and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, affecting their ability to recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier. The rats also began to show signs of resistance to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates synaptic function in the brain. Pinilla concluded by saying “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.”
In 2009, a study of high fructose corn syrup found detectable levels of mercury in 9 of 20 samples of commercial high fuctose corn syrup. A second study by the IATP -Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a nonprofit watchdog group, found 1 in 3 of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in condiments, dressings, and dairy products containing high fructose corn syrup.
Corn syrup has a connection to diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It lies in the way our bodies react to it. High fructose corn syrup does not enhance leptin production or stimulate insulin secretion both of which are key processes in fat storage and appetite regulation. Instead it causes elevated levels of triacylglycerols which prevent leptin from reaching the brain. The brain won’t send out the signal to stop eating. There is no caloric difference between the two sugars, but glucose is quickly absorbed and allows the brain to signal that we have had enough food. Fructose has our bodies to store calories as fat, and this causes us to overeat because we don’t feel full.
Almost all corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn.
So are you still wondering “Is corn syrup bad for you?” It is!
Here’s how you can eliminate it from your diet.
- Read labels carefully.
- Remove and discard items from your kitchen pantry and fridge that contain corn syrup.
- Find healthy alternatives for dressings and sauces.
- Avoid sodas. Drink filtered water and unsweetened beverages instead.
- Steer clear of processed and packaged foods.
- Choose breakfast cereals and store bought baked goods carefully.
- Eat a variety of different fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, baked goods and candies.
- Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to help repair damage, like walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds!
It will make a huge difference in your health and you are worth it!