High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) made a bad name for itself in recent years as it has been linked to many health problems, from obesity to autism. Because of this consumers began to steer away from foods containing this harmful ingredient. What did the food companies do, did they take out the harmful ingredient? No, they just changed what they called in on the package to fool us.
HCFS is now being disguised under the names “fructose syrup” or, simply, “fructose”. It is a processed chemical sweetener that you will find in products such as bread, cakes, cookies, condiments and soft drinks. It is cheaper to use than sugar and extends the shelf life of products, so naturally the food companies are inclined to use it, but at the detriment of their customers’ health.
The food companies don’t want to change their money-making ways, so they found an ingenious way to get around the food labeling laws. HFCS is sub-categorized based on its fructose content. Normal HFCS – HFCS 42 or HFCS 55 – contains either 42 or 55 percent fructose. The term “fructose” is now being used when foods contain the ingredient previously called HFCS-90, which has 90 percent fructose. Identifying HFCS-90 as “fructose” makes it possible for them to label the product as ‘not containing HCFS’ when it actually does.
CRA’s have said: “A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [anymore], they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”
What is the real danger of eating HFCS? Here are some scientific sources to help you understand the danger of this ingredient:
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests.” “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” – Bart Hoebel, psychology professor at Princeton University (source: Princeton.edu)
“The study adds to a growing body of scientific literature that indicates HFCS consumption may result in negative health consequences distinct from and more deleterious than natural sugar.” – Dr. Michael I. Goran (source: Huffington Post)
“Consumption of HFCS may lead to mineral imbalances, including Zn [Zinc], Ca [Calcium] and P [Phosphorus] loss and Cu [Copper] gain and is a potential source of inorganic mercury exposure.”– Dufault et al. Clinical Epigenetics, 2012
“Data show that consumption of added sugars, particularly HFCS-55, negatively impacts hippocampal function, metabolic outcomes, and neuroinflammation when consumed in excess during the adolescent period of development.” – Hsu et al Hippocampus, 2014.
“In the United States, food ingredient information is written for regulators and scientists, not for the average consumer.” – Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder of the nonprofit advocacy group Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
While there has been no direct link between HFCS an certain diseases, the circumstantial evidence speaks for itself, and the link between highly processed sugar-laden foods and ill health cannot be disputed