by Julia Ward
High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is something that I keep coming back to, time and time again. What is so fascinating yet horrifying to me is the fact that many consumers, if not the majority, know how bad high fructose corn syrup is for their body’s and their health but continue to consume it. But why? Because it makes that soda taste that much better? In the grand scheme of things, I don’t really think it does. I have (for the most part), completely eliminated sugary soft drinks from my diet partly due to the absurd amounts of high fructose corn syrup that are found in each glass of soda.
But really what is high fructose corn syrup? It is basically a byproduct of corn that it is extremely cheap. While the corn is being grown, it is subsidized and turned into a sweetener. And although high fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar, concerns have been raised because it is processed. In an experiment done at Princeton University, it was found that the subjects, which were rats, who had access to high fructose corn syrup gained a significant more amount of weight compared to those that had access to table sugar. This is because our body processes this sweetener differently than regular table sugar.
Excessive amounts of high fructose corn syrup can lead to numerous health problems. These include cavities, increased risk of a heart attack, weight gain, poor nutrition, and diabetes. In a study of 1,400 middle school students, it was found that nearly one-third of their caloric intake was added sugars, instead of the sugars that are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, which do not count when discussing sugar intake.
Consider these tips to cut back on consumption of high fructose corn syrup: stay away from sugary soft drinks and try to drink water or other beverages instead. Choose your breakfast cereals wisely; stay away from the sugary, non-nutritious cereals at all cost. Try to cut down on the amount of processed and packaged foods you eat, and stick to the fresh and local food products. Overall, start reading the labels of the items you pick up in the grocery store to see what you’re really eating. You’ll be shocked to see how much of the food you buy and consume has high fructose corn syrup in it.