High Fructose Corn Syrup

What danger do picnics, barbecues, camping, cool movie theaters,
& swimming pool, birthday and beach parties have in common?

Carbonated Soft Drinks
Soda Pop Part 1: High Fructose Corn Syrup

eathajohn.JPGTo beat the heat, we often reach for an ice-cold can of soda pop! Today, more than a quarter of ALL drinks consumed in the U.S. are carbonated drinks.

Most parents are in denial about the amount of soda pop their children regularly drink. Studies have found over half, 56 percent, of 8-year-olds down soft drinks daily. Even picky eaters love sodas.

Would you allow your child to eat 17 teaspoons of sugar? Never!… unless your child drinks a soda. During summer it’s easy to let down our guard, because a can of pop is so refreshing (and easy). Soda has been dubbed, “liquid candy” and rightly so, as soda pop is the number one source of sugar in our kids’ diets.

Ethan and John beat the heat in the sprinklers.

According to government data, carbonated drinks contribute about 10 percent of the calories in the American diet. Carbonated drinks have replaced fruit juice, milk, and even water in our daily routine. Studies have linked soda to obesity, tooth decay, osteoporosis, and even heart disease. Carbonated drinks contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). There are so many problems with HFCS that it’s hard to know where to begin. Yes, there’s a huge campaign to try to undo the negative aspects of the High Fructose Corn Syrup, but don’t be fooled.

According to the Corn Refiners Association, there has been a misunderstanding about HFCS. They say, “High fructose corn syrup meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s requirements for use of the term natural. It is made from corn, a natural grain product and contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives.” They also say that HFCS has the same number of calories as sugar, so it’s okay to eat.

Sounds like HFCS is really a health food! Not so fast. According to physicians Mehmet Oz and Michael Roisen, high-fructose corn syrup is the worst sweetener added to our food supply. In their book, You: The Owner’s Manual, they state: “One of the biggest evil influences on our diet is the presence of high-fructose corn syrup, a sugar substitute that itself is a sugar found in soft drinks and many other sweet, processed foods. The problem is that HCFS inhibits leptin secretion, so you never get the message that you’re full. And it never shuts off gherin, so, even though you have food in your stomach, you constantly get the message that you’re hungry.”

Other studies by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Michigan have shown that consuming fructose, which is more readily converted to fat by the liver, increases the levels of fat in the bloodstream in the form of triglycerides. And unlike other types of carbohydrate made up of glucose, fructose does not stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin.

Peter Havel, a nutrition researcher at UC Davis, who studies the metabolic effects of fructose, has also shown that fructose fails to increase the production of leptin a hormone produced by the body’s fat cells. Both insulin and leptin act as signals to the brain to turn down the appetite and control body weight. And in another metabolic twist, Havel’s research shows that fructose does not appear to suppress the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger and appetite. “Because fructose in isolation doesn’t activate the hormones that regulate body weight as do other types of carbohydrate composed of glucose, consuming a diet high in fructose could lead to taking in more calories and, over time, to weight gain,” he says.

Researchers are finding new problems with high fructose corn syrup. A study in Journal of the National Cancer Institutesuggests that women whose diet was high in total carbohydrate and fructose intake had an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Dr. Mel Heyman, chief of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at UCSF, is seeing sick children whose bodies have been overloaded with fructose from naturally occurring fructose in fruit juice combined with soda and processed food.

“The way the body handles glucose is different than fructose, Heyman says, “It can overload the intestines’ ability to absorb carbohydrate by giving it too much fructose. That can cause cramps, bloating, and loose stools.”

If you were to avoid only one sugar, HFCS would be the one! Replace sodas in your family’s diet with healthful alternatives: water, milk, 100 percent fruit juice (then dilute), homemade lemonade and fizzy drinks (half fruit juice and half carbonated seltzer water with no added sugars).

Look for Thursday’s blog: Part 2 Soda Pop: Phosphoric Acid


4 thoughts on “High Fructose Corn Syrup

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