HFCSHigh frustose corn syrup (HFCS), also labeled as glucose-fructose or glucose-fructose syrup is the leading preservative and most common sweetener found in processed foods and drinks (such as soft drinks, cereals, sauces and yogurts).  It is also something you should watch out for and AVOID at all cost!   Be sure to read your labels, and if they include “high fructose corn syrup”, “glucose-fructose” or “glucose-frustose syrup” then return that product to the shelf where it belongs.  HFCS is a concern for adults and children alike, it’s likely a major cause of childhood obesity and earlier onset diabetes in our North American society (it’s estimated that for the average teenager, HFCS intake is 15% of their total calories…this number is alarming!).

WHY is HFCS such a concern?

Reason #1: It makes you fat!
Studies comparing consumption of HFCS (glucose-fructose) to regular sugar (glucose), prove that abdominal fat increases at a much greater rate in the HFCS group (14%) versus the regular sugar group (5%).  This happens because of the differing ways they are metabolized by the body (i.e. HFCS does not cause insulin to spike after a meal the same way that glucose does, leading to a higher amount of triglycerides (a fancy word for fat) to be deposited in the abdomen).

Reason #2: It contains mercury!
During the manufacturing process, HFCS is treated with mercury grade caustic soda to separate the corn starch from the kernelNote: caustic soda is also used in drain cleaners and petroleum production and it is produced through a method that exposes it to mercury. 

Reason #3: It increases your risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure!
Observational studies have shown that countries with higher HFCS availability (like the US and Canada) had 20% higher prevalence of diabetes compared to countries where availability was lower (like Germany and Poland).  As well, HFCS stimulates the accumulation of triglycerides (fat) in the liver, lowers HDL (good cholesterol) and increases systolic blood pressure which are all risk factors for heart disease. 

So then why is it added to so many commonly consumed products?  Because it’s CHEAPER… the consumer price of corn and its byproducts are 25-30% less than the cost of other more natural sweeteners.

In order to avoid HFCS, stick to whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible and read your labels when you do buy anything packaged or bottled.  I promise you will be doing yourself and any family members you are feeding a huge favour!

Well, I think that’s it for this rant, but please watch out for this scary ingredient!

Have yourself a wonderful HFCS-free weekend 🙂