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Fructose can have a detrimental effect on our health, as we have seen in an earlier blog post : Fructose – The sweet sugar with bitter consequences!
In this article, we’ll look at how High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) compares to the regular table sugar we consume and how it can have a damaging impact on our body.
White table sugar v/s high fructose corn syrup
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved HFCS as a safe ingredient for use in food and beverages. In fact, the FDA based its decision in part on the substantial similarity between HFCS and sucrose (table sugar).Table sugar/ white sugar (sucrose) High Fructose Corn syrup Composition 50% glucose + 50% fructose 45% glucose + 55% fructose Source Prepared from sugar beet juice, sugar maple sap or sugar cane juice, which is evaporated, treated with chemicals Obtained from corn starch Nutritive value Undergoes processing and hence retains relatively lower amounts of nutrients (e.g. Calcium – 1mg/100g) Contains only carbohydrates in the form of sugar and other nutrients are absent Cost and commercial use Used for commercial manufacture of white table sugar Low-cost sugar available in liquid state hence is used in most beverages.
In order to lower our risk of buying and consuming HFCS-containing products when we shop, we need to keep in mind the following:
What are the harmful effects of High Fructose Corn Syrup?
Weight gain: HFCS interferes with regulation of food intake and body weight and hence leads to weight gain. Fructose helps in fat synthesis and is therefore related to high triglycerides
Diabetes: HFCS increases insulin resistance (a condition wherein insulin is present in the blood but cells do not recognize it). Insulin resistance can promote an increase in fats in our bloodstream. Fructose has also been found to react with protein molecules in blood to form “toxic, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).” These AGEs play a role in the onset of complications associated with diabetes.
Damage to immune system: Immune system problems such as Asthma, hay fever, eczema, food allergies, lupus, and multiple sclerosis have greatly increased in recent years. Fructose has been found to inhibit the action of white blood cells, one of the key elements of our immune capability. HFCS dulls the immune response for upto 5 hours making us more susceptible to germs, viruses, parasites, etc. Studies have shown that cancer cells may use fructose for proliferation
A load of dangerous mercury poisons: HFCS has now been found to contain mercury. In January 2009, the Journal of Environmental Health reported that mercury had been found in nearly half of all tested samples of commercial HFCS. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy conducted its own batch of tests and found mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverages (e.g. Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft, and Smucker’s). High levels of mercury ingestion have been linked to conditions such as autism, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
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