If you look at the ingredients of the food you buy, you’ve probably seen high-fructose corn syrup on the list more times than you can count. Following up on a great new corn syrup post by Jeannie, “Corn Syrup May Get a New Name…Nice Try,” and finally catching up on a few articles I’ve been meaning to write on for awhile, I’ve create a list of 7 clear reasons to avoid (or even ditch altogether) high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
High-Fructose Corn Syrup = Evil
Ok, maybe not “evil,” since that would require having abilities of discrimination and such. But high-fructose corn syrup is definitely bad for you. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this information.
1. Cancer Cells Love Fructose & It Has Been Linked to Pancreatic Cancer.
Apparently, cancer cells have a special attraction to fructose, according to recent research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). “Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate,” the study, which was published in the journal Cancer Research, found. This seems to explain what researchers found previously, that pancreatic cancer is linked to fructose intake:
“[These findings] have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.
2. High-Fructose Corn Syrup Often Contains Mercury.Yummy!
Yeah, that’s right, and not just a little bit of mercury. “Mercury was found in over a third of processed food products tested, the source of the mercury is contaminated high fructose corn syrup,” in the Environmental Health Journal last year.
3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Autism and Mental Retardation
Due to the mercury in HFCS, this common sweetener has been linked to “neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation.” Autism has skyrocketed in the U.S. in recent years, and exposure to mercury in vaccines and now HFCS are considered to be some possible reasons why.
“A new study suggests that for those with nonalcoholic fatty liver, drinking a lot of beverages sweetened with fructose may do the same thing as liquor,” a study by Duke University researchers published in March in the journal Hepatology found.
Compared to subjects who drank the least fructose beverages, those who drank the most were significantly more likely to have the hepatic scarring that will more often progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer. And older subjects who regularly consumed fructose beverages showed more signs of liver inflammation. After they stripped out the effects of age, gender and body-mass index, the researchers also found that the heavy fructose drinkers also have lower levels of HDL (or “good”) cholesterol.
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” More info from the study:
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
In one more recent study, published in November 2009, researches from University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center confirmed what others had only hinted at. HFCS intake is independently linked to high blood pressure.
“The recent increase in fructose consumption in industrialized nations mirrors the rise in the prevalence of hypertension, but epidemiologic studies have inconsistently linked these observations. We investigated whether increased fructose intake from added sugars associates with an increased risk for higher BP levels in US adults without a history of hypertension…. [Our] results suggest that high fructose intake, in the form of added sugar, independently associates with higher BP levels among US adults without a history of hypertension.”
7. Solve the Problem, Rename High-Fructose Corn Syrup
! Say What?
Ok, this one could be classified under the category of evil, in my opinion. In an effort to avoid the consumer backlash to HFCS that is developing as a result of all these findings, the Corn Refiners Association is trying to get the FDA to rename ‘corn syrup‘ as ‘corn sugar‘ — horrible!
If you want to do yourself a favor, cut high-fructose corn syrup and (if it gets renamed) corn sugar out of your diet!
Most links found via The Ban of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the U.S. website.