If you listen to the commercials, high fructose corn syrup is the same as white table sugar and has no adverse health consequences. But is that true? For years now, I just avoided foods that had high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient. Not easy to do as manufacturers love to sneak this sugar into everything from bread to catsup. Many manufacturers know there are consumers that are like me and try to avoid high fructose corn syrup so they make a catsup without it then charge more.
Why high fructose corn syrup? Manufacturers love it as it is easy to ship, has a long shelf life and is cheaper than sugar. It improves the texture of cookies, and browns better in breads.
What is HCFS? It is comprised of fructose and glucose and manufacturers use it in place of sugar. It has the same caloric value of sugar, 4 calories per gram.
Is HCFS Bad for our Health? Many researchers would say no but more recent research raises a lot of questions. The New York Times reported on a study this week and found HCFS can lead to a variety of health problems:
- Fructose in HCFS is metabolized mostly in the liver and can leave fatty acids to build up in our livers, which can contribute to fatty liver disease.
- Fatty Acids can also go to our bloodstream and cause high blood sugar levels, problems with insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes.
- HCFS has been linked to more fat around our middle and who wants more belly fat?
- Can you combat the adverse health effects of HCFS? Maybe. The best thing seems to be to avoid it if you can. But the study above found that students who exercised 12000 steps a day were able to negate the bad effects of HCFS. Those who didn’t walk and consumed 2 sodas with HFCS a day had higher cholesterol and blood sugar levels and an increase in body inflammation. A similar study found those consuming HCFS and not exercising had insulin resistance, a step towards Type 2 diabetes.
So if you do have foods, soft drinks with HCFS, at least move more and sit less. These students really didn’t go on long walks but rather parked farther away, took stairs instead of elevators and sat less and moved more.
Sources: Why HCFS?, Drink Soda? Take 12,000 Steps, Physical Activity Offsets the Negative Effects of a High Fructose Diet,Effect of increased physical activity on fructose-induced glycemic response
Image source: HCFS
Image source: HCFS