Public Enemy #1 - High Fructose Corn Syrup July 04 2015

You may not know this dreadful foe on a first name basis, but be assured that he sneakily makes his way into most foods in your kitchen and pantry.

High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener and preservative.  It’s a highly processed chemical that is scientifically made by changing the glucose molecule in cornstarch to fructose.  This man-made product extends the shelf life of processed foods.  Voila!  All of a sudden a food that was naturally meant to spoil in a month or so has increased it’s expiration date to a whole year.  This helps you understand why it is so popular among food manufacturers in the United States. 

Food manufacturers have merrily added it to more and more foods because it never spoils and is cheap.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself!  Go into your kitchen and carefully read the food labels on almost all of the processed, packaged foods found on your shelves.  If these foods have more than five ingredients most likely one of them is HFCS.  The list is endless.  HFCS is found in candy, beverages, cereals, granola bars, breads, cookies, crackers, ice cream, ketchup, salad dressing, pancake syrup, canned soups, fruit juice, soft drinks, and on and on.

Why is it so bad?  The result of a diet loaded with HFCS is that fructose is converted to fat by the liver and when our diets are excessively full of HFCS then there is an excessive concentration of fats and lipoproteins in the body.  Not only that but it is a nutritionally empty and does not contain any vitamins, minerals or phytonutrients.  What it does contain though is calories… empty calories.  And since our brains need good fuel (in the form of nutrient-rich calories) to function, highly processed foods leave you hung out to dry.

Not only do these foods leave you brain dead, but they also increase your waistline.  The percentage of fructose relative to other sugars in a product changes the way the body deals with it.  HFCS is about 80 percent fructose.  Excess intake of any sugar can contribute to obesity, but fructose appears to have less effect on curbing appetitie compared with other sugars.  In other words, you eat lots more of it before feeling full.

Another sad truth is that HFCS is frequently found in low-fat “diet” foods, infant formulas, and kids’ juice drinks.  So it’s best to put any product with HFCS in the first five ingredients back on the shelf or better yet, if you see it in the ingredient list at all, try to avoid bringing it home.