High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Why Aren’t We Upset That it is IN There?

Someone recently told me that they didn’t approve of something being banned in order to make people adopt healthy behaviors/be healthy, in this case High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Let’s talk about that.

HFCS is a manufactured food product not found in a natural state. HFCS became popular in the 1980’s and is used in MANY food products as a sugar substitute (I was shocked to see it recently in Yoplait 99% fat-free yogurt, a highly recognized and touted “diet” food) and as a preservative – increasing the shelf life of a product.

There are two schools of thought: those who believe that consuming HFCS is contributing to the obesity epidemic, and those, including medical professionals, who believe that HFCS is relatively the same as table sugar. The reality is that HFCS IS artificial, is used in concentrated – sweeter, more caloric – amounts, and is found in MANY of the foods and beverages that have become part of daily diets for many families: sodas, cookies, candies, bread, boxed and canned soups, boxed juice drinks, jellies and yes, even yogurt.

The reality is, this is an issue of equity. Processed foods – more affordable and more available to lower income families – often have a higher ratio of calories (“empty calories”) to other essential nutrients than unprocessed foods. And the reality is, these products are far less expensive than eating an all-natural diet. The groups least likely to afford an all-natural diet, likely consuming higher amounts of processed foods containing HFCS, are also the ethnic and socioeconomic groups that are seeing rapidly increasing numbers of overweight and obesity in their communities.

Manufacturers of all-natural products have returned to using alternatives to sweeten their products such as cane sugar and its juice, beet sugar and honey. It’s being done, and it’s being done while still maintaining flavor. So why can’t these all-natural alternatives be used for every product calling for HFCS (leaving out the fact that the federal government heavily supports the corn industry so they have a stake in the results)?

Healthy food alternatives should be available to everyone, not just those who can afford to buy a more expensive product. Isn’t EVERYONE’S life as valuable as the next person’s? Shouldn’t everyone be afforded the same access and availability to practice healthy behaviors? And isn’t it up to those who may know or understand how to read a nutrition label and the dangers/benefits of the ingredients, to educate others and then allow them to make informed choices regarding their health? Because I guarantee you, no one is given the choice to pay for health care costs associated with chronic diseases related to obesity, yet tax-payers feed into the system and we are all affected in some way.

Finally, I just want to know: why is it that no one cried when the artificial ingredients were being put INTO our foods? The voices are so loud when the health industry wants them removed…

Visit The Center for Science in the Public Interest for a list of food additives and their safety ratings.

Resources

-“The Third Report on Nutrition Monitoring in the United States: Executive Summary” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“The Health Effects of High Fructose Syrup, Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health (A-08)” The American Medical Association http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/443/csaph3a08-summary.pdf

-“Metabolic Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup.” Dana Flavin MS. MD, PhD. Life Extension Magazine

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15 Responses to “High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Why Aren’t We Upset That it is IN There?”

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  10. Amy Stone says:

    ABSOLUTELY Reema!!! If the move was more towards organic…the growers/farmers/producers would have more demand…and be able to up their supplies…which would mean they could make a living without charging body parts for the products.Honestly, I just think that along with changes for climate control, we-as a society need to return to not having the expectation of food outside of it's natural season.Live more in harmony with the Earth and her cycles and what those cycles produce. Just my 1/2 a cent.:)

  11. Reema says:

    I would think that the cost of the alternative products would even out as more supply is made to meet the demand… It would also require (and inspire?) competition between manufacturers to offer a wider range of all-natural products that are more affordable. How long that would take is the question. However, (and I need to check actual research) it wasn't very long after the movement to remove/reduce partially-hydrogenated oils that more and more trans-fat free products became available. Of course, it's important o read and understand labels here to because the FDA calls "zero" anything less than .5g of trans fat per serving …

  12. Kelly says:

    You go, girl. Love a gal with convictions. I'm with you, I would not shed one tear if we ditched the stuff entirely. But wouldn't forcing makers of products with HFCS to switch to a healthier alternative drive the price of the product up to the point where it's not helping the people groups that need it most? I don't know what the answer is. But I am not a fan of HFCS. Good job bringing us the facts, ma'am!

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