Have you ever turned the to the label on the side of your food or drink to see what’s actually in what you’re putting into your body? We all have of course, and chances are that every now and again you even recognize a phrase or two like natural flavors or sucrose. One of the things you’re likely to see if you look at many items is high fructose corn syrup. You’ll find it in canned meals, soda pop, and even in energy drinks (along with a huge amount of caffeine). High fructose corn syrup is legion in food and drink… but what makes it so bad is a question that has yet to really be answered.
Now, high fructose corn syrup is very similar to sucrose which is natural sugar. There are claims, though the research has been sketchy as of now, that because of how the body processes high fructose corn syrup it is a much bigger health threat than natural sugar. Since the human body has evolved over time to absorb and use sucrose easily, that same system may not be able to accept the artificially made sweetener as easily and this could lead to problems over time. This is only a theory right now, but research is ongoing.
Also, high fructose corn syrup is often pointed at when people start discussing the “obesity epidemic” in America. High fructose corn syrup is legion in products, but the blame may not be solely on this sweetener. Ingesting large amounts of any sugar or sweetener will lead to cavities in the teeth, gaining fat and a general decline in health if that imbibing isn’t brought under control. Whether it’s a single can of soda with 9 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup in it, or it’s a glass of iced tea that you spiked with an equal amount of regular table sugar. So to answer this claim the best thing you can do is cut back on the entirety of your sugar intake, and not just to watch how much high fructose corn syrup makes its way into your system. Something easier said than done when even your bread has sweetener in it (check the label, see what it says).
This argument of chemicals versus natural food is an ongoing one that at the moment is stalemated. On the one hand, the human body is evolved to accept food and nutrients in a specific way. On the other hand, if science can improve on that while still managing resources then that can improve your health as well as your nutrition. As with anything else, take your health information with a grain of salt and remember to keep an eye on everything you eat with an eye to your health as concerns the vitamins, minerals and sugars that you’re taking in.
“What are Health Concerns About High Fructose Corn Syrup?” by Jennifer K. Nelson at Mayo Clinic
“Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad For You?” by Joyce Hendley at Eating Well