High Fructose Corn Syrup: Killer Sugar

High fructose corn syrup is the subject of debate these days. Proponents and opponents of this substance, so common in our food and beverages, are fighting to control what you think and feel about High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS. Because it has been the subject of so many studies and disparaging media, the makers of HFCS are even trying to change its name to ‘corn sugar’.

So what is the deal with HFCS? Why is it different from sugar, different from regular fructose and bad for our bodies? The answer is in the way HFCS is made, and what its molecular structure looks like and acts like in our bodes.

HFCS is harmful, and likely related to increases in cancer, diabetes, and poor reproductive health. Here’s why:

HFCS has a different molecular structure than honey, sugar, or fructose found in fruit. It is actually a clear liquid made from corn in a process that converts some of the glucose in corn syrup to fructose. The conversion process produces a sugar structure that our bodies have a very hard time metabolizing.

Fruit contains fructose naturally, but it also contains fiber and other nutrients that offset the fructose and make it easy for us to process. Glucose is another natural sweetener, but it is not as sweet as fructose, nor as dangerous to our blood sugar levels. Sucrose is the naturally sweet substance found in table sugar and is made of glucose and fructose

HFCS is also glucose and fructose, but unlike sugar, the HFCS molecules of glucose and fructose are split, which poses problems for our metabolism and causes our blood sugar to sky-rocket. Unlike regular sugar, HFCS can only be processed by the liver, where, studies suggest, it causes liver damage equivalent to heavy drinking.

A recent, independent study at Princeton University found that despite what we are told by the food industry, HFCS does not act at all like sugar in our bodies! Researchers found that rats and mice fed HFCS well below the amount found in soda were becoming obese and sick.

The Princeton study showed that weight gain noted in rats didn’t occur with sugar, and did not even occur at the same level when rats were fed foods high in fat. This suggests that HFCS acts in a very different way in our bodies than most other substances, even those like fat and table sugar, which we have previously attributed to heavy weight gain.

The Princeton study goes on to note that rats fed HFCS were not just getting fat.  They were showing characteristics of obesity such as increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides. Increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides, when observed in humans, are known risk factors for diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

No matter what you are being told by the corn industry, thousands of independent studies reveal that HFCS is not just making you fat. It is killing you slowly and surely. HFCS is certainly linked to obesity and diabetes, may cause heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure, and may even be linked with infertility due to diabetes and tissue damage to reproductive organs caused by carbonyls, another side effect of HFCS.

Avoiding this killer is difficult if you eat refined foods or fast foods. It is imperative that we fight to keep it out of our foods, and the best way to do that is to stop buying products that contain it. Eating natural foods and cleansing are the best way to get and keep this toxin out of your body forever.

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