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A Not So Sweet Look At High Fructose Corn Syrup

While HFCS may have some of the same properties as sugar, its long-term affects have not been studied nearly as much. Yet it is still finding its way into a bevy of our food products.

The Corn Refiners Association has recently been running ads saying that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is just another form of sugar and that it is completely safe. Well let’s take a closer look at some of the facts and you can be the judge.

Sugar and HFCS do share many of the same properties.

They are both the main choice of beverage companies when using a sweetener with calories. 

Both have been shown to increase weight gain (most markedly fat gain). 

HFCS and sugar are carbohydrates, which have been linked to type-2 diabetes. 

Finally, according to the Food and Drug Administration, both can dawn the title “natural” on their labels because both are said to contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives.

Although they may share many of the same qualities they are in no way the same product. 

High fructose corn syrup is made by treating corn syrup with enzymes to convert a portion of the glucose into fructose. For those of you who are not science buffs, all that means is that the chemical structure is altered to give it some of the same properties that sugar has. 

The byproduct of the chemical reaction is HFCS, which is about 50% fructose (sugar found in fruit) and 50% glucose (the simplest form of sugar).

Some of you may be thinking “well fruit is good for you, how is this sweetener bad?”

Well, it’s still a sugar, a sugar without all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals found in fresh fruit, not to mention the quantity of sugar found in a piece of fruit is far less than what is found in the products typically loaded with HFCS.

In the weight-loss category fructose is not necessarily our friend either. Fructose is very demanding for our livers to digest and in turn the body produces extra enzymes to trigger fat storage. 

This is why many bodybuilders remove all fruits from their diet during the last few weeks before a competition.

Although not enough research has been produced for the FDA to outright say that HFCS is bad for us, there has been some interesting research coming out.

In March of last year, Princeton University published a study in which rats were given either a normal diet or their normal diet with high fructose corn syrup added to their water. 

Each group consumed the same amount of calories daily, but at the end of the 6-month study the HFCS group had gained 48% more weight than the group whom had a normal diet.

The main weight gain in the HFCS group was abdominal fat, which has highly been linked to impaired health and diminished longevity.

This leads me to believe that we do not fully understand how we metabolize HFCS and we may not know the long-term effects of this sweetener until it is too late.

Recently, High Fructose Corn Syrup has received such a bad wrap that the Corn Refiners Association has decided to disguise this nasty product by another name: “Corn Sugar”.

This should raise an eyebrow for everyone.

You may be surprised to learn that almost all sugary products are made with HFCS in some capacity these days including breads, soft drinks, and candy.

In the meantime, I suggest everyone start reading labels and stay away from high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and corn sugar. Your body fat, blood profiles, blood pressure, and body will thank you.

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