I went to Target this week and noticed more food products are now being label with the “No High Fructose Corn Syrup” label. It made me wonder, how many people really know what this means? And why now is it now being exposed as something not so good on many products after 45+ years of being on the market…
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup, HFCS, anyway?
Simply put, HFCS is a chemical processed sweetener and food preservative made from cornstarch (corn, genetically modified, that is). HFCS is cheaper than sugar and actually make food last longer and still maintaining a great taste.
Do you consume syrup or jelly on your pancakes? Pack the kids with Capri-Sun Juice or sodas? Use Stove Top Stuffing? How about Kellogg’s and Nabisco products? What do you and your kids take when feeling sick, Vicks NyQuil or Formula 44? Do your kids eat those practical Oscar Mayer Lunchables? How about ketchup, oh yes, and that yummy Ben & Jerry’s or Dreyer’s ice cream? Look at the ingredients and you will see their main ingredient is highly likely to be High Fructose Corn Syrup.
What is the big deal with HFCS?
HFCS is a chemical process to start with, meaning it is done in a lab, and it is not natural. Sugar, on the other hand, comes from cane or sugar beets, both natural products, from earth, no lab involved.
HFCS is made from genetically modified corn (GMO), which studies have linked to tumors, damaged immune systems, birth defects. It is not permitted for consumption in the European Union….mmhhh… wonder why?
Since it is not a natural sugar, HFCS does not trigger the release of the hormone leptin, part of the body’s natural system that creates the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. If you and your family have HFCS in the food you eat, you are more likely to overeat. And not only that, what happens when you eat something that tastes great? Again, you are very likely to eat more of it, lots of it.
The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” actually links food containing HFCS to obesity. It also believed that HFCS increases blood fats more than the same amount of table sugar, causing rise in bad cholesterol which has been linked to heart disease.
Road to Better Health
If you want to improve your family’s health, I suggest start by decreasing the consumption of food products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS as part of their ingredients. Your goal is to eventually eliminate it from your diet completely.
My suggestion would be to eat fruits and vegetables only, but I know how hard that can be specially when your kids are savoring those yummy Oreos or sodas their friends are having for snacks.
What can you do? Read labels! not just the labels on the front of the food product, but primarily the ingredient label. Start decreasing the consumption of products with HFCS and let your kids try out other snacks and talk to them about HFCS and the effect on their health. Here are some suggestions, although these are healthier alternatives to some ‘not so healthy’ snacks, limit how much your kids eat.
Some food items to watch out for
Better alternatives, but limit
Online Stores such as Thrive Market carries snacks that are healthier and cheaper than other places, check them out.
Additional information on HFCS:
This is your brain on sugar: UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory
Peer-reviewed study published in Clincal Epigenetics, makes the link between high fructose corn syrup and autism.