Tuesday, January 20, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

There have been some recent reports that High Fructose Corn Syrup is not as bad as it has been painted. There have even been commercials on television, which by the way are paid for by the Corn Refiners Association, that tout the safety of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The ads state that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a natural substance. Like that alone makes something safe! Dr. Oz points out that not that HFCS is the equivalent to cyanide, but cyanide is a poison and 100% natural. There are lots of things that are natural that are poisonous to us. Consider snake bites, certain mushrooms, and even the beautiful Daffodil can be fatal if eaten. For some plants only a part of them is poisonous--take the Rhubarb plant--we can eat the stalks but eating the leaves can be fatal. Many common household and garden plants are fatal if ingested.

This isn't an article about gardening but just to point out that being "natural" is not the same as being "healthy" or even "benign".

What the Corn Refiners Association is claiming is that HFCS is no worse for you than sugar. This may (or may not) be true. However, who said sugar, especially in large quantities, is healthy for you?

In a day when we have sky rocketing rates of diabetes and obesity amongst our children, we deserve to look at our personal habits and cut out the empty calories--sugar, high fructose corn syrup, as well as other syrups and sugars. These are found in sodas and other packaged foods. Sodas are the biggest culprit from shear volume but if you read your labels you will find these sweetners are in almost everything we buy--even in the ketchup for you burger!

Eating too much HFCS may also contribute to obesity in another way. An important hormone in our digestive-system, called leptin, signals the brain when you have had enough to eat and that you should stop. Mounting research indicates that having too much HFCS in your diet disturbs the leptin to brain communication, thus allowing us to eat more than we should and gain weight.

Cutting the HFCS from your diet is one of the easiest ways to cut hundreds of calories a day for most people. Every soda, canned (sweetened!) ice tea or fruit drink contains 200+ calories--mostly from high fructose corn syrup and other sugars.

Eliminating these empty calories will help you (and your children) lose weight and also help prevent diabetes!

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