High Fructose Corn Syrup - Is It Safe?
If you have ever read the ingredients label on food items such as candy bars, chips and snacks, soda, fruit juice cocktails, jams and jellies, ice cream, yogurt and even white and whole wheat breads, chances are you have wondered what high fructose corn syrup is. High fructose corn syrup is an artificially created sweetener that is most often derived from corn starch, a combination of sucrose and fructose. It is manufactured using an enzyme treatment that changes glucose into fructose. Corn is made up, mostly, of glucose and is the most widely used material in making high fructose corn syrup. To process glucose into fructose genetically modified corn is most often used, along with genetically modified enzymes, because of their stability.
Learn more about how to read and understand food nutrition labels at Good Cook Recipes.
High fructose corn syrup, in its liquid form, helps to keep foods moist and retards spoilage, but its primary use is to provide sweetness. There are several reasons why food product manufacturers in the United States favor it over sugar. The United States subsidizes the production of corn, whereas sugar imports are taxed. This make sugar more expensive to use than high fructose corn syrup for U.S. based food producers. For example, Coca Cola and Pepsi use sugar in their products made outside the U.S. If you were to taste Coke made in Europe or Mexico you would definitely notice a difference in the flavor. That difference is a result of sugar being used as a sweetener instead of high fructose corn syrup.
You may find it surprising to know that people in Europe and Australia consume more sugar per capita each year than do people in the United States. The average American consumes a little more than 44 pounds of sugar and about 42 pounds of high fructose corn syrup per year, while an Australian, on average, consumes 123 pounds of sugar per year.
High fructose corn syrup poses a threat to the health and well being of Americans for several different reasons. It is in most of the foods that we and our families eat. Even if we try to buy so-called healthy foods like whole wheat bread and fruit juices we often find oursleves consuming large amounts of high fructose corn syrup. John Bantle, a University of Minnesota professor, says that triglycerides are increased by 32% when compared to using sugar as a sweetener. According to the U.S.D.A. laboratory mice, which normally have a life span of about two years, died after five weeks when fed a diet rich in high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup can pose considerable risks to people who suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, and postmenopausal women. High fructose corn syrup does not generate enough leptin, a hormone found in fat cells that reduces the appetite and helps to manage your body weight.
As more people become concerned about their health and that of their children they see that the old saying, "you are what you eat" holds a lot of truth. And while it may be perfectly harmless to consume high fructose corn syrup in moderation we find that we are eating it in ever increasing amounts. Take steps to help increase the health and well being of you and your family. Read those food labels and learn what they mean. Maximizing good nutritious foods while limiting the bad can go a very long well to providing you and your children better health and quality of life for tomorrow.