Today’s health-conscious consumers often feel like they’re on a wild goose chase trying to consume only foods made of natural, wholesome ingredients. Companies are constantly masking what they put in their products and misleading customers. You know the industry is in a sad state when food companies brag about using ingredients as basic as real sugar!
Any time you’re shopping in the grocery store, you’re likely to find hundreds of products that contain high fructose corn syrup, and very few that are sweetened with sugar. This is because high fructose corn syrup is far easier to obtain and cheaper to use.
But high fructose corn syrup is also a dangerous ingredient, linked with all kinds of health problems and other problematic implications. Keep reading to learn about the questionable ingredients in high fructose corn syrup, how it’s made, and why you should avoid it.
The industry uses multiple toxic chemicals to create cornstarch, such as those used to sterilize medical equipment and kill living cells in water systems. High fructose corn syrup also contains glutaraldehyde, a chemical used for embalming that can also cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. The chemical even comes with a warning that it could burn a hole in your stomach if ingested!
Unbelievably, many of these chemicals used to make corn syrup may have traces of mercury, which is another highly toxic chemical. For this reason, half of the food products containing high fructose corn syrup also test positive for mercury contamination, according to a 2009 study.
How is High Fructose Corn Syrup Made?
High fructose corn syrup gets its name because it originally derives from corn. What could be so bad about corn, you wonder? Corn in itself is fine for your health, but the process of turning corn into cornstarch is a complicated, dangerous process.
After the corn is turned into cornstarch, it must be turned into corn syrup by mixing the cornstarch with water, plus an enzyme to produce shorter glucose chains. Another enzyme, derived from fungus, breaks down these chains into glucose molecules. This creates regular corn syrup.
Next, the glucose molecules in the corn syrup are turned into fructose with the help of another bacteria-derived enzyme. This syrup is what we know as high fructose corn syrup.
Why is Fructose Bad?
Fructose is sweeter than any other type of sweetener, beyond glucose, sucrose, and dextrose. This type of sweetener is not harmful when it is naturally occurring, such as the fructose found in fresh fruits and vegetables. However, processed high fructose corn syrup has many negative health effects, including increased body fat, risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammation.
Consuming high quantities of high fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance and greater food intake, since high fructose corn syrup does not make people feel full or satisfied.
How Much Fructose Are You Consuming?
Many people may not be as worried about their fructose consumption as they should be. If you drink soda, you could be getting a far higher dose of fructose than you imagined.
Beverages like Sprite, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew all have 50 percent more fructose than glucose. Some of these sodas even contain more fructose than listed on the product label. Even soda that claims to use natural sugar often contains more than 50 percent fructose.
Moral of the story: be careful and thoughtful about your diet and consumption of soda and other processed goods. Look for products made with all-natural sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup to greatly reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other health risks.