Finally, we are in full swing of summer! After the spring we had, I know I’m hoping for a long, rain-free summer full of barbeques, fun times, and sunshine. Usually, in the summer, especially when I was a kid, I remember going to the lake quite a bit and eating unhealthy things, which, let’s face it, is a common thing to do in the summertime. This brings me to my topic of discussion for this month, High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is in a TON of processed foods. If you’ve ever taken the time to look at the nutrition label and read the ingredients, it just might astound you. Some other sweeteners on food labels are fructose, fruit juice concentrates, sugar, syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, and honey.
I have seen HFCS on ice cream, bread, cookies, crackers, deli meat, juice, soda, breakfast bars, cereal, yogurt, peanut butter, ketchup, jellies, cheese, and literally hundreds of other products. High Fructose Corn Syrup is cheap. It has a longer shelf life and is sweeter than sugar.
High Fructose Corn Syrup really took off in the 1970s when food manufacturers began replacing it with sugar in their products. Since its inception, obesity has risen dramatically from the 1970s to today. [i] Now, this will really open your eyes.
When High Fructose Corn Syrup is heated, it produces Hydroxymethylfurfural or HMF for short. This chemical has been found to kill honey bees. Beekeepers have been using HFCS to feed the bees instead of sugar because it’s cheaper and longer shelf life. For HFCS to have some of the chemical HMF, it needs to be cooked to 120 degrees. [ii] Not very hot, is it?
HMF has been shown that causes substances that may be more harmful when broken down by the human body. HMF may cause damage to DNA. Now, to process HFCS, it has to be subjected to heat.
Therefore, HFCS may already have HMF before you’ve purchased it off of the shelves. Plus, we cook the food AGAIN. Therefore, exposing HFCS to another round of temperatures over 120 degrees.[iii]
A recent study was done at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) with rats. They trained rats for five days to traverse a complex maze. After this, they split that group into two groups.
One group of rats was fed High Fructose Corn Syrup in their drinking water for six weeks. The other group was fed flaxseed oil. After six weeks, the same rats were then tested to see how they performed at navigating the maze.
They discovered that the rats fed with HFCS had reduced synaptic function of the brain. Meaning the brain cells of the rats could not signal each other properly. Thus, they could not remember the correct route they learned six weeks earlier.
Not only that, but the researchers discovered that when the rats weren’t supplemented with DHA and Omega 3s, the fructose lead to insulin resistance because it affected the brain’s neuronal function to absorb insulin. This is a cause of Diabetes. [iv]
Remember them claiming it’s “all-natural” and “just like sugar?” If what I listed above hasn’t changed your thoughts about High Fructose Corn Syrup, consider this. Renee Dufault did another recent study from the Food Ingredient and Health Research Institute or (FIHRI) and her colleagues.
They looked at how some food and environmental factors affect children’s development, particularly neurodevelopment, and how these factors change the body’s ability to eliminate heavy metals and toxins from the body. This research involves how the body responds to diet, environmental, and genetic factors. What they found was HFCS depletes the body’s natural mineral of Zinc. [v]
Zinc is responsible for ridding the body of Arsenic, which is extremely common in well waters in Maine, Cadmium, Aluminum, Mercury, and other toxins. In 2009, HFCS was found to be a source of heavy metal poisoning as well. The heavy processing required to form HFCS requires the use of Mercury and caustic soda chemicals.
Because they are used in the process, ultimately, those two brain-destroying chemicals are left in the final product. [vi] Imagine what our children eat. Juices, crackers, cookies, bread, sodas, even ketchup, among many others, have HFCS in them.
Not only does HFCS affect zinc levels in our bodies and children, but it also depletes calcium and other vitamins and minerals. [vii] Now, since our bodies are depleted of important vitamins and minerals, our immune systems are weaker. Not to mention the other toxins we come in contact with every day from pesticides and flame retardant material in bedding and clothing. [viii]
Recently, the HFCS industry asked the federal government if they could change High Fructose Corn Syrup’s name to just “Corn Sugar.” [ix] Now, I don’t know about you, but from a consumer’s standpoint, “Corn Sugar” makes a processed sweetener seem better than High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is mostly because the HFCS industry is worried about the bad rap that HFCS has been getting recently due to these recent findings. Also, 7UP had to drop its “all-natural” ingredient claim because it had HFCS in its product. [x]
In closing, I know this newsletter was a bit longer. However, I thought this information was just too important not to share. Some good natural alternatives to sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup are organic honey and Stevia.
Stevia is an herb from South America estimated to be 150-400 times sweeter than sugar. Millions of people have used it for hundreds of years with no apparent bad effects. [xi] In short, please be aware of what you’re putting into your bodies.
Have a great rest of July! Enjoy the warm weather, because we all know it doesn’t last nearly long enough! As always, keep this in mind, you are what you eat.