Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The High Fructose Corn Syrup Debate

Is HFCS really the new crack of sweeteners that media contends, or is it a harmless natural product?
True, high fructose corn syrup comes from corn, and is roughly half fructose and half glucose - not unlike ordinary table sugar. It is quickly broken down in the body into - half fructose and half glucose. In recent studies, HFCS had the same impact on blood glucose as sugar, insulin, ghrelin and leptin (hormones that stimulates/curbs appetite).
However, that is not to say that HFCS is harmless. Like sugar, it undermines our diets because it supplies empty calories. The potential harm is in the fact that is included in almost every processed food item on the market - from crackers to cream soups, salad dressings, meat marinates, peanut butter, bagels, even whole grain cereals that claim to be "all natural"; not to mention the obvious - soft drinks and cookies. The use of HFCS jumped ten-fold from 1970 to 1990. Researchers suspect the increase in obesity and type II diabetes could be linked to the increased use of HFCS. Furthermore, these "hidden carbs" can often go unoticed to diabetics who are trying regulate their insulin, and people with sugar sensitivity as in Reactive Hypoglycemia.
Simple sugars do not provide lasting energy as do more complex carbohydrates. The brewing hysteria is over the fact that otherwise healthy food items or items that don't really need sweetened are now being laced with this sweetener. It undermines our efforts to make healthier food choices.

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