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The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

<p>The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 5 min read

Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

You may have noticed recently there have been a lot of reports coming out on the dangers of too much sugar in our diets. Sugar can take many forms, but one of the most common is high fructose corn syrup. It also happens to be the most dangerous form of sugar. Over the course of only a few decades since the introduction of high fructose of corn syrup the rate of obesity has tripled in the United States. Diagnoses of diabetes are seven times more common than they were before the introduction of high fructose corn syrup. Each year, the average American consumes 60 pounds of high fructose corn syrup. That's 60 pounds of something that's linked to obesity, liver failure, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer. This troubling substance is having a major impact on the health of people in the United States and around the world.

There is a lot of misinformation regarding high fructose corn syrup

There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to high fructose corn syrup. Some articles or advertisements have been printed claiming that high fructose corn syrup is no more dangerous than any other form of sugar. Unfortunately, virtually all of these claims are made by the corn industry that produces high fructose corn syrup and their representative. Huge amounts of money is poured into research by the industry that will back up their claims. Ultimately, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that high fructose corn syrup is indeed far more dangerous than other forms of sugar.

There are several differences between HFCS and cane sugar

There are some big differences between cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is created by an industrial chemical extraction process that makes it not nearly as natural as the name corn syrup might imply. While cane sugar is also unhealthy when consumed in all but the smallest amounts, it is better than high fructose corn syrup in that it is absorbed slower. High fructose corn syrup releases sugar into the bloodstream almost instantly, giving your body no time to process it and even causing damage to the liver. The rapid release of sugar from high fructose corn syrup spikes insulin levels and can cause big problems with a person's metabolism, which regulates how weight is controlled. The stomach has a harder time processing the instantly-released fructose, and so becomes less effective at processing other foods. The way your stomach handles high fructose corn syrup specifically leads to belly fat. So if you want to keep your figure, start by cutting out soft drinks. High fructose corn syrup actually creates holes in the intestinal lining, something that natural fructose (like from fruit) doesn't do.

HFCS is sweeter than other types of sugar

Another danger behind high fructose corn syrup is that it is both sweeter than other other forms of sugar and cheaper to produce. People like sweet flavours generally, it's just how our taste is wired, so the extra sweetness high fructose corn syrup provides in foods is enticing to people. With high fructose corn syrup having extra sweet flavour and being cheaper to use compared to cane sugar, food companies are far more likely to use high fructose corn syrup in their products. Soda, one of the biggest delivery systems for high fructose corn syrup, is a great example. Since high fructose corn syrup was introduced, the size of the average soft drink has exploded. Before 1970 the average soft drink was 8 ounces, compared to 20 ounces that it is today. That's more than double the amount of sugar, in a form that's more dangerous than it was before -- and it's cheaper to produce. It's no wonder that so much of our food contains high fructose corn syrup and no wonder that the average American's daily caloric intake contains so much -- 15 to 20 percent!

There are often toxic chemicals in HFCS

The process of creating high fructose corn syrup is not fully regulated by the FDA, and some studies on industrial vats of high fructose corn syrup have found high levels of toxic chemicals, including mercury. Because the industry is allowed a great deal of secrecy when it comes to the process of refining high fructose corn syrup, it's difficult to know just how many and which toxic hazards are in high fructose corn syrup.

One thing high fructose corn syrup IS good for is finding out which foods you should avoid. Almost every food product that contains high fructose corn syrup is nutritionally void, highly processed, poor quality and full of empty calories. A good first tip for someone looking to improve their diet would be, "€œif the label says high fructose corn syrup, don't eat it"€. There are things we should try and include in our diets, like fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals -- most of the time, you aren't going to find these nutrients in any item that also contains high fructose corn syrup.

Sugar increases your risk of heart disease

So we know high fructose corn syrup is just about the worst form that sugar can take. But why is sugar so bad for us? Well, let's start with the big things. The risk of heart disease, America's number one killer, is massively increased by a high sugar diet. The flood of insulin that is caused by sugar makes your body more susceptible to the creation of cancer cells. High sugar diets have been linked in studies to a lower rate of cancer survival, as well. The liver failure caused by sugar (and especially high fructose corn syrup) has been shown in research to be the same as the kinds of liver failure caused by alcohol. Sugar is linked to obesity, accelerated aging and an overall shorter lifespan. Sugar is killing us and high fructose corn syrup is the worst of the sugars.

High fructose corn syrup has been shown to be thoroughly dangerous and bad for our health in almost every way that something can be. It can be tough to cut something that's so common in so many items out of our diets, but it's definitely worth the effort. There are effective and natural replacements for sugar that can be used for sweeteners. Avoiding foods with lots of high fructose corn syrup will help keep your diet away from other bad things, like high fat content. Keeping your diet healthy is keeping your whole body healthy, so get started now and you'll find yourself feeling better and healthier!


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.