High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is made by the enzymatic process of converting corn syrup's glucose to fructose to produce a more intense sweetness. For the most part HFCS is 24% water and 76% sugar. HFCS is highly processed and is used in the United States because it is far cheaper than sucrose or table sugar. HFCS has a similar makeup as honey. Some honey companies have added HFCS to their product to make honey go further. Honey is more expensive than HFCS and with a similar taste and composition makes it hard to tell them apart. HFCS was introduced into the food industry in the 1970's and has been slowly gaining a controversial name for itself (coincidentally)as the trend in obesity, diabetes and heart disease has been increasing.
Why is HFCS bad?
Health concerns such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have been alleged effects of too much HFCS in a person's diet. There have also been possible traces of Mercury, which is a neurotoxin, found in HFCS. So are we being slowly poisoned by this genetically modified and highly processed food item?
The American Medical Association has not been completely convinced that HFCS is any worse than sugar but it does support a reduction of HFCS in foods and is also requesting more research. High amounts of sugar in the diet have been linked to dental cavities, weight gain, poor nutrition, elevated triglyceride levels and heart disease risks. Although studies have not specifically singled out HFCS as the proven to be evil sweetener per se, the recommendation is to limit the amount of sugar or processed sweeteners in a diet.
What's the future hold for HFCS?
Have you seen the terminology "corn syrup" being advertised lately?
The FDA has recently warned the corn industry to stop using this terminology to describe HFCS (currently it is on the track for approval at FDA, but has not been approved yet). The corn industry is looking for a makeover for the bashed HFCS and the studies that have been controversial for being linked to rises in obesity and healthy issues.
How do you avoid HFCS?
1. Avoid baked goods that you don't make yourself from known ingredients.
2. Snack on fruits and vegetables and foods that are not refined or need to be sweetened.
3. Read labels..read labels...read labels.