Friday, August 13, 2010

Making grape jellyImage by Steven Vance via Flickr
With the obesity epidemic, Americans are trying to overcome the sugar addiction by using a number of sweeteners that supposedly are healthier and lower in cost. An example would be high fructose corn syrup(HFCS). But what is it and does it have dangers of its own?


Let's consider some facts about HFCS, how it was discovered and health considerations for the users.

What is HFCS?

In the 1970s, Japanese scientists discovered a process wherein cornstarch could be turned into HFCS. The result was a genetically modified product containsing 55% fructose (fruit sugar) and 45% glucose (the sugar that is used by the body). During the 1970s sugar became very expensive, so the food and beverage manufacturers began using high fructose corn syrup. ("Danger of high fructose corn syrup" healthmad.com)

Nowadays, HFCS has become widespread since the government provides subsidies to manufacturers who produce it. It is the main sweetener in most carbonated beverages. HFCS can be found in cake mixes, cookies, sauces, breakfast cereals and baked goods.


Why is HFCS dangerous?

Once HFCS is consumed, it travels straight to the liver where it is converted into fat. HFCS does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin, which also signals hunger satisfaction to the brain. So, to summarize , we are eating foods that are converted into fat and never getting the full feeling.("Dangers of high fructose corn syrup" healthmad.com).


How to avoid HFCS

Look at some of the processed foods on the supermarket shelves and you will see that the list of foods containing HFCS is nearly infinite. Ketchup, cookies, relish, soda and many other foods contain the sweetener. Look for HFCS, modified corn starch for clues. Avoid processed foods and eating out. Cooked foods are notorious for everyting from increased sugar, fat, sodium to being prepared with too seasonings. Best to cook and eat at home.
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