High-Fructose Corn Syrup

878 words | 3 page(s)

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been touted as a “super sugar”, but it is very different to cane sugar and has both physiological and biochemical differences. It contains the heavy metal mercury, along with other contaminants which are not measured or regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Specialists in nutrition and medicine are against HFCS in the diet, and are against the publicity drive of the corn industry who generate a publicity spin that claims corn sugar and cane sugar are the same. HFCS is generally one of the ingredients in extremely poor quality low nutritional food which is loaded with chemicals, fats and unhealthy compounds. Unfortunately, the general public are confused by the corn industry’s statements, perplexing ads and online media assurances that the industrially manufactures HFCS and real sugar are the same, and as research had indicated that the consequences of consuming HFCS are highly detrimental to health, they need to be able to read an in-depth magazine article presenting the facts on how high-fructose corn syrup perpetuates obesity (Hyman, M., 2014).

The HFCS issue has great significance to the US public because the average American is over-consuming it simply due to its omnipresent in everyday processed food. In fact, the situation is so grave in the US, that a large number of health experts have predicted an upcoming outbreak of metabolic disease brought on by the over consumption of HFCS and its role as a huge contributing factor. Up to the 1970s cane sugar was America痴 number one sweetener, but that all changed when manufacturers discovered a new way to bolster their profits by utilizing the far cheaper sweeteners derived from corn. These included HFCS and maltodextrin. Sucrose, which is common table sugar contains 50% glucose

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and 50% fructose, whereas HFCS may have only 20% glucose, and a whopping 80% fructose, and it is the huge amount of fructose that makes the difference. And although per gram, both products incorporate four calories, the problem is the excess quantity of glucose that has to be metabolised by the body (Flavin, D., 2008). Another negative aspect is that HFCS free fructose needs more of the body’s energy in order for the gut to be able to absorb it, so owing to the lack of energy in the intestinal lining, it is not protected the way it should be, and both bacteria and food can get across the gut wall into the bloodstream, and an immune reaction is generated, culminating in inflammation all over the body and various diseases (Hyman, 2014).

The factors I propose to explore in my investigation for the article include:
Investigating the disturbing point that the consumption of products (mainly processed food and sweetened drinks) containing HFCS in the average American’s yearly diet rocketed up from nothing to in excess of 60 pounds, and asking if people realize why.
Getting more information on why HFCS is a huge contributor to a seven fold increase in diabetes as well as a tripled obesity rate over the same period, and asking why the government is not doing anything about changing it.
I want to investigate the notes made by Hyman, (2014), when he points out that despite the multi-million dollar misinformation media machine of the corn industry, even when HFCS is used moderately, it is the main cause of a number of diseases including: cancer,  obesity, heart disease,  liver failure, tooth decay, and dementia, and ask why the government is not banning misleading advertising.
I also want to investigate the point Hymen makes regarding the corn industry deflecting and confusing the harm to health by stating that HFCS is “natural corn sugar”, when it is nothing of the kind. Hyman brings up the crucial point that far from being “natural”, HFCS which makes products even sweeter than standard sugar, is made by secret process which extracts sugars via the stalks of the corn and these are subject to an enzymatic chemical process which generates novel biological and chemical compounds, in other words, HFCS. The problem with HFCS is all down to the body’s biochemistry: fructose, which makes up a large part of HFCS, triggers the generation of certain fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides (lipogenesis) because when it is digested it enters the liver right away. And a large percentage of 70 million Americans who suffer from a disease called “fatty liver”, do so as a direct result of HFCS. In addition, the glucose part of the HFCS is speedily absorbed by the body, and is responsible for triggering huge insulin spikes (insulin is the hormone responsible for storing fat (Hyman, 2004). I want to ask the FDA why this product is allowed to be marketed.

In summary, American’s consumption of HFCS is an interesting, complex issue involving multiple factors. It is very pertinent due to the very serious obesity epidemic and other diseases which are largely attributed to HFCS in America at this time, and I think it is crucial that I write an article clearly and concisely explaining the misunderstanding that people have about standard sugar and “corn sugar”, and how the body ‘s biological functions are different in each case. Due to the spin and millions spent on advertising by the corn industry, they are totally confused, and need a clear understanding so that they can look after their health and well being.

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