High Fructose Corn SyrupIf you step into any grocery store and randomly pick up a food item from any aisle, it is highly likely that one of the first ingredients that you read on the ingredients list, is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). High fructose corn syrup has been at the center of countless controversies, especially in the past few years. There are longstanding concerns regarding the various effects that consistent consumption has had, and will continue to have, on the overall well-being of the global population. Whether it is a study illustrating its risk of increasing food intake, and by extension, obesity, or its negative effects on your brain’s capacity for learning and memory, HFCS is rightfully a concern for the general population of consumers.
Essentially, from a chemical perspective, high fructose corn syrup is a sweetener derived from corn starch with the help of a glucose enzyme which converts some of its glucose into fructose. Fructose is significantly sweeter than glucose, and with the generous government subsidies being provided to corn farmers, it makes for a cheap, widely-available option for producers of processed foods of all kinds. With HFCS being a cheap sweetener alternative, it is commonly found in the majority of conventionally produced food that is available on our supermarket shelves.
The issues with HFCS are not only focused on its chemical composition, but also, the large amounts that are usually found in one single serving of a food product that is consumed on a daily basis. Soda, for example, not only contains high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient, but in just one can alone, there are at least seventeen teaspoons of sugar found. According to a 2015 study by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, beverages that contain any amount of high fructose corn syrup significantly increases the risk factors associated with developing cardiovascular disease. Even in men and women who have been determined to be healthy, the effects of consuming beverages containing HFCS for just two weeks was significant enough to warrant recommendation for further study and a greater restriction on consumption.
According to a major regulatory body for food consumption in the United States, they are not aware of any evidence that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has the potential to be more unsafe than other sweeteners, such as honey or sucrose (cane or beet sugar). It has also been touted, especially by organizations that hold a stake in the corn industry, that HFCS is not very different from regular cane/beet sugar, and that our bodies cannot tell the difference. Consumers, however, should be more deliberate in making the effort to procure their own information from the various scientific studies and other bodies of research that exist to inform the public about the effects of HFCS. It has been evidenced, time and again, that our bodies do not metabolize HFCS the same way as regular cane sugar, so that should stand as a foundation when researching the possible effects.
Here are four recommendations for eliminating high fructose corn syrup from your everyday diet:
- Make it a habit to read labels consistently.
Nine times out of ten, it is likely that the difference between you purchasing a product that has enormous amounts of HFCS and one that has less of a less processed sweetener, is by paying attention to the label. Being more present while shopping, and not just throwing items into the cart because it is convenient, will greatly decrease the amount of HFCS consumed.
- Consume more fresh produce.
At times, your family may just have a hankering for something sweet, so instead of picking up that packet of cookies that contains the large amounts of sugar and genetically modified ingredients, you can pick up some fresh fruits and create a fun fruit salad.
Swap the ready-made meals with a large list of mysterious ingredients for a simple-to-prepare home-cooked meal.
- Avoid drinking soda and other overly-processed beverages.
Not only is the effect of high fructose corn syrup on your body questionable at best, but the amount found in a twenty-ounce bottle or can rivals the amount recommended for consumption over the period of a few days.
Use the fresh fruits and vegetables that are now filling up your kitchen to make your own beverages. All you need is a blender and a fine-strainer, and you are good to go.
- Be open to trying out new brands.
There are a few big name food-manufacturing companies that we tend to think of first when it comes to any number of food products that we consume daily. Without considering other options, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to consuming ingredients that have been shown to have the ability to negatively impact your health, such as HFCS. Anything from breakfast cereals, snacks for a long day running errands, to condiments for your summer picnic, there are now many companies that create and sell delicious food products, but with more quality ingredients.
78 Brand Co., for example, is a company on a mission to share their delicious, HFCS-free, and GMO-free, ketchup and mustard products with the world. Not only are they affordable, but the care shown to select the finest ingredients for their products, is one of the many reasons why you should consider testing out the food produced by companies that take pride in taking care of the health of their consumers.
On the journey to living a healthier life for you and your family, begin with asking questions and doing research on the things commonly present in the things that you consume. There are numerous options out there, which will not break the bank or add hours to your meal preparation. There is no need to remain stuck in the vortex of conventionally produced cheap, processed food that can quickly take a toll on your health.