The consumption of Fructose -the sweet tasting sugar naturally found in fruits and some vegetables- has increased a quite staggering amount over the last few decades. In fact between 1970 and 1990 consumption has swelled by over 1000%, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. High Fructose Corn Syrup now represents more than 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup and why is it important?

It may come as little surprise to note that the rise in the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages has paralleled the rise in the prevalence of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. It is also associated with the appearance of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This sharp increase in health problems has stimulated research to understand whether current levels of fructose intake in beverages pose a health risk.

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Manufacturers often disguise sugar as something you don’t recognize – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a corn-based sweetener on the market since approximately 1970. Since High Frictose Corn Syrup is so sweet and it is cost effective for companies to use small quantities of HCFS in place of other more expensive sweeteners or flavorings. For these reasons and others, and despite all the health concerns associated with it, HFCS is not going to be going away any time soon.

To best manage your health it is very important to know what HFCS is, where it is and how to identify it in products.

Is all Fructose bad for you?

It is not all destructive and evil though. When Fructose is consumed through fruits, it provides valuable nutrients. However it becomes an issue only when consumed in high levels and that is now unfortunately very easy to do because HFCS is now present in virtually all commercial foods.

If High Fructose Corn Syrup is one of the first ingredients listed on a food label, there is a simple plan of action – just don’t eat it! The more you stick to fresh whole foods and avoid commercial and highly processed foods, the less HFCS you will encounter and consume.

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Common Foods High in HFCS

To help you identify easily some of the worst culprits here is a list for you to be mindful of:

– Regular soft drinks
– Fruit juice and fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice
– Pancake syrups
– Popsicles
– Fruit-flavored yogurts
– Frozen yogurts
– Ketchup and BBQ sauces
– Canned soups- fruits (if not in its own juice)
– Breakfast cereals

Problems Caused by Too Much HFCS

And the reasons we need to be on the look out for this insidious ingredient? Here are some key factors:

– Higher caloric intake & increase in bodyweight
Fools your body into thinking it’s hungry
– May increase insulin resistance and triglycerides

The dangers of high fructose corn syrup are both numerous and sever and must not be underestimated. Always read product labels and avoid those with HFCS. If you are after sweetening properties you definitely don’t need to acquire them through HFCS. Instead replace it with raw honey for sweetening needs. The average soda size ballooning from 8 ounces to 20 ounces thanks to HFCS with little financial cost to manufacturers, and this results in great human cost of increased obesity, diabetes and chronic disease.

 

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