Ever notice high fructose corn syrup is in an ingredient list of any of your favorite foods and wonder what it is?

In this article, we will explore what high fructose corn syrup is, how your body digests it, and why you should avoid it. 

What is high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener made from the process of converting starch. 

As the importation of cane sugar became increasingly expensive, multiple manufacturers started using high fructose corn syrup to lower production costs and increase profits.

High fructose corn syrup and government subsidies

High fructose corn syrup production receives government subsidies making it a great product for manufacturers, as well as consumers, as it helps lower costs.  

Government tariffs on imported sugar (these sugar tariffs cost the U.S. businesses and consumers 3.86 billion dollars annually) make high fructose corn syrup even more tempting for businesses as the high demands/costs of sweeteners would raise prices substantially if sugar cane were used.

What foods are high fructose corn syrup in?

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener found in nearly all kinds of different foods, including baking ingredients, cereal, bread, soft drinks, pastries, waffles, bars, candy, children’s treats, condiments, cookies, cakes, crackers, soups, chocolate, dairy, canned fruits and vegetables, ice creams, spreads, salad dressings, chips, and granola bars.

The top 5 high fructose corn syrup dangers


High fructose corn syrup danger #1: High fructose corn syrup is processed differently than cane sugar in the body

Regular sugar, called cane sugar, is made up of the sugar molecules, glucose and fructose, bound together in equal amounts.

The digestive tract enzymes break down the sucrose into the glucose and fructose molecules to be absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, high fructose corn syrup is broken down into glucose and sucrose as well, but in a 55-45 glucose-to-fructose ratio.

There is no chemical bond between the 2 sugars in high fructose corn sugar, which allows for the rapid absorption of them into the blood sugar.

The rapidly absorbed glucose causes spikes in insulin, which is the major fat hormone of the body.

The rapidly absorbed fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis, causing a condition that affects 70 million Americans called Fatty Liver.


High fructose corn syrup danger #2: High Fructose Corn Syrup depletes our energy storage!

Research is done at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from high fructose corn syrup requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source).

This causes the energy stores in our gut to be depleted, which is required to keep the intestinal lining intact.

To put into simpler terms, high doses of high fructose corn syrup consumption has been shown to literally rip holes in our gut, which allow nasty gut bacteria and partially digested proteins to enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation that has been known to cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, dementia, accelerated aging, and heart disease.

This is one of many high fructose corn syrup dangers that could cause harmful effects on our bodies.

High fructose corn syrup danger #3: Mercury found in products containing high fructose corn syrup!

In a report published at the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy located in Minnesota showed detectable levels of Mercury in 17 of 55 products tested that were rich in high fructose corn syrup. 

These products included Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce, Quaker Oatmeal to go bars, nutra-grain strawberry cereal bars, and many more. Mercury exposure at high levels can cause brain, heart, kidney, immune system, and lung damage.

This is one of many high fructose corn syrup dangers.

High fructose corn syrup danger #4: High fructose corn syrup has been linked to obesity.

High fructose corn syrup represents more than 40% of sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in beverages in the United States.

The average American ages 2 and up consume approximately 132 calories daily from high fructose corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production (insulin and leptin play a key role in the regulation of food intake and bodyweight) and thus, dietary fructose may have a big role in increased energy intake and weight gain as well as caloric over-consumption.

Obesity is a huge problem and the likelihood of obesity is increased with high fructose corn syrup dangers.

High fructose corn syrup danger #5: High fructose corn syrup is a sign of poor nutrition.

Most products, if not all, that contain the ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, are a sign of nutrition depleted, processed, unhealthy industrial food full of empty calories and artificial ingredients.

These products will not be whole, real, fresh foods and will not contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber.


The verdict

If you want a healthy diet, stay away from products containing high fructose corn syrup.

Real, fresh, whole foods will not contain high fructose corn syrup and the associated high fructose corn syrup dangers.

Daniel Maman

Daniel Maman's two biggest passions in life are health and fitness. He is a certified personal trainer, has a degree in exercise science, and spends his free time keeping up to date with the latest research. In his free time, you can find him playing basketball, bouldering, and spoiling his dog, Luna.

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