High-Fructose Corn Syrup
SO WHAT IS IT PEPSI, HFCS OR NO HFCS?
In the 1970s, the Corn industry passed a subsidy bill through Congress to subsidize corn with tax dollars. Within few years, the US was producing a lot more corn than the public consumption, so the corn industry decided to exploit the subsidy law, in order to keep billions of dollars of subsidy that they received every year. They found a new way to convert corn into corn syrup and keep the final product which is High fructose corn syrup, HFCS.
What is HFCS?
High-fructose corn syrup is a type of Artificial sugar made from corn syrup.
HFCS is derived from corn starch. Starch itself is a chain of glucose (a simple sugar) molecules joined together. When cornstarch is broken down into individual glucose molecules, the end product is corn syrup, which is essentially 100% Glucose.
To make HFCS, enzymes are added to corn syrup in order to convert some of the glucose to another simple sugar called fructose, also called “fruit sugar” because it occurs naturally in fruits and berries.
HFCS is ‘high’ in fructose compared to the pure glucose that is in corn syrup. Different formulations of HFCS contain different amounts of fructose.
The most common forms of HFCS contain either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose, as described in the FDA Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 184.1866), and these are referred to in the industry as HFCS 42 and HFCS 55. The rest of the HFCS is glucose and water.
HFCS 42 is mainly used in processed foods, cereals, baked goods, and some beverages. HFCS 55 is used primarily in soft drinks.
Here are 5 reasons you should stay away from any product containing High Fructose Corn Syrup.
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Regular Sugar
There are only tiny differences between the most common type of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS 55) and regular sugar.
First, In terms of chemical structure, the fructose and glucose in high fructose corn syrup are not bound together like in granulated sugar (sucrose). Instead, they "float" separately alongside each other. These differences do not affect the nutritional value or health properties in any way.
Second, high fructose corn syrup is liquid, containing 24% water, whereas table sugar is dry and granulated.
In our digestive system, sugar is broken down into fructose and glucose, so corn syrup and sugar end up looking exactly the same.
Gram for gram, HFCS 55 has slightly higher levels of fructose than regular sugar. The difference is very small and not particularly relevant from a health perspective.
Of course, if we were comparing regular sugar with HFCS 90 (90% fructose), then regular sugar would be far more desirable, as excessive consumption of fructose can be very harmful.
However, HFCS 90 is rarely used, and then only in tiny amounts due to its extreme sweetness.
2. HFCS and Sugarcane are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body.
Regular Sugarcane (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body.
HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. Fructose is sweeter than glucose. Since there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream.
Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of Liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people.
The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.
Free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source), was Found in a Research done by Dr. Bruce Ames and his team at the Children’s Hospital, Oakland Research Institute. This Free fructose from HFCS depletes ATP in our gut required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining. Little “tight junctions” cement each intestinal cell together preventing food and bacteria from “leaking” across the intestinal membrane and triggering an immune reaction and body-wide inflammation.
High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your bloodstream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging.
Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in “Corn sugar”.
3. HFCS contains contaminants including Mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA.
HFCS often contains toxic levels of mercury because of chlor-alkali products used in its manufacturing. Poisoned sugar is certainly not “natural”. When HFCS is run through a chemical analyzer or a chromatograph, strange chemical peaks show up that are not glucose or fructose. What are they? Who knows? This certainly calls into question the purity of this processed form of sugar. The exact nature, effects, and toxicity of these funny compounds have not been fully explained, but shouldn’t we be protected from the presence of untested chemical compounds in our food supply, especially when the contaminated food product comprises up to 15-20 percent of the average American’s daily calorie intake? Good question.
4. HFCS Contains No Essential Nutrients
Remember in previous blogs we talked about the many Nutrients contained in Dehydrated Sugarcane juice(Panela)? Well, on the contrary like other added sugars, high fructose corn syrup is "empty" calories.
It contains plenty of calories, but absolutely no essential nutrients.
Eating HFCS will, therefore, decrease the total nutrient content of your diet. The more you eat of HFCS, the less room you have for nutrient-dense foods.
At the end of the day, avoiding high-fructose corn syrup may be one of the easiest and most effective ways for you to improve your health and lower your risk of disease.
5. Added Sugar is Bad, Fruit is Not
It's important to keep in mind that none of this "fructose is bad" talk applies to whole fruit. Fruit are whole foods, with plenty of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. It is very difficult to overeat fructose if you're only getting it from whole fruit.
This only applies to added sugars, when consumed in large amounts, in the context of a high calorie, Western diet.