Today we are going to discuss high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is presently ubiquitous in processed foods and therefore significantly consumed by people all over the world. HFCS is found in most sweet beverages such as juices, sodas and also in packaged food products such as bread, cereals, breakfast bars, yogurts, soups, condiments and dressings. The average American eats 150 lbs of sugar per year and a large percentage comes from HFCS. Many of you have heard the recent TV ads say, “Your body can’t tell the difference between corn sugar and cane sugar.” What is corn sugar you might ask? It is HFCS. The manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup asked the federal government for permission to sweeten its image with a new name: “corn sugar.” Why do you think that they are saying that? Because they need to trick you and change the name on labels because many health advocates like me inform people to stay away from products with HFCS if they want to be healthy.
In this two part series we will discuss it why the statement, “HFCS is no more or less unhealthy than any other kind of sugar,” is certainly a myth.
Why is it so bad?
Mercury is used to produce high fructose corn syrup.
An article in Environmental Health published research on High fructose corn syrup samples that were collected from three different manufacturers and analyzed for total mercury. The samples were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. This may not sound like much but considering the Average daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup is about 50 grams per person in the United States, these authors estimate that the potential average daily total mercury exposure from HFCS could be as high as 28.4 micrograms mercury. To put that into perspective “Canada and other countries do not recommend the use of mercury amalgam in pregnant women or children.” Because Mercury is a danger to unborn children who’s developing brains can be damaged if they are exposed to low dose microgram exposures in the womb.” And those levels in the amalgams are between 0.79 to 1.91 micrograms.
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms it is essential to minimize exposure as it can affect many aspects of development, in particular brain maturation. Don’t take my word for it, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that minimizing mercury exposure is essential for optimal child health. Given how much high fructose corn syrup children consume, it could be a significant additional source of mercury.
Keep in mind; mercury is only one reason why HFCS is unhealthier than other forms of Sugar. Stay tuned for part 2.
Source: Environmental Health (January 26, 209; 8:2)