High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a man-made sweetener derived from cornstarch. Enzymes are added to corn syrup to change some of the glucose into fructose. It’s found in a wide variety of products, and can go under the names glucose/fructose, isoglucose, and glucose/fructose syrup.
With this product being in the majority of processed foods, it’s highly likely you have consumed a fair amount of it in your lifetime without even thinking about it. It’s found in pop, candy, cereals, sweetened yogurts, salad dressings, juice, granola bars, and sports drinks, to name a few.
HCFS has a number of negative impacts on your health; below are a few of the major ones.
1. It may lead to excess weight gain; putting you at an increased risk for obesity. Studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup does not increase leptin production or insulin secretion, which are important regulators weight and food intake.
2. Samples have been found to contain mercury.
3. It leaves you hungrier and wanting more, causing an increased calorie intake in the hopes to curb the appetite.
4. Studies have shown the high fructose corn syrup promotes cancer growth.
5. Moderate to high intakes of high fructose corn syrup have been shown to increase risks of high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
High fructose corn syrup can be detrimental to your health, and I would highly recommend trying to cut down or eliminate it from your diet. This can be down by cutting back on the amount of processed foods that you consume. Focus your meals and snacks on whole, natural foods and you will notice a difference in your health, physically and mentally, quite quickly.
At Princeton University in 2010, researchers did a study proving that not all sweeteners are equal. One group of rats were fed water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and a second group of rats were fed water sweetened with table sugar. The rats that consumed the high fructose corn syrup water gained more weight than the rats given table sugar water, even though both groups were ingesting the same number of calories per day. This study helps to show the importance of paying attention to what you are putting in your body. Not all calories are created equally.
Stephenie Sutherland is a Fort St. John student studying nutrition and food sciences. She can found at the gym, hiking local trails, and serving up a hot cuppa joe at Whole Wheat and Honey. Have a question? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.