High Fructose Corn Syrup Doesn’t Grow on Trees
HFCS: Unhealthy in ANY Amount
In a 2009 television commercial sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association, one concerned mom is made to look the fool when she fails to respond as to why she should avoid giving her children high fructose corn syrup. She, like many of us, has heard that the seemingly omnipresent sweetener is unhealthy. She’s absolutely correct.
The multimillion-dollar advertising campaign launched by the CRA is a result of growing awareness of the dangers of HFCS and the desire to keep concerned health-seekers in the dark about the truth. Unlike the stunned mom in the commercial, readers of this editorial will be armed with a clear response when confronted with HFCS proponents.
The website accompanying the CRA’s television ad series, www.sweetsurprise.com, claims that HFCS is natural because it is made from corn. By that logic, consuming ethanol, also made from corn, should be as safe as sugar and “fine in moderation.” The fact is, however, that there is nothing natural about HFCS - there is no tree or plant producing it; it does not sprout from the earth. HFCS is the result of a complicated manufacturing process which breaks down cornstarch and treats it with three different enzymes, two of which are genetically modified organisms, according to Linda Forristal, in a 2001 article appearing in the Weston Price Foundation quarterly magazine. In addition to the GMO enzymes used, the majority of corn in the United States is also genetically modified, thereby yielding a product (HFCS) highly foreign to the human digestive and nervous systems.
The CRA claims HFCS is nutritionally the same as sugar, yet the man-made substance does not metabolize in the body the same way table sugar (sucrose) does. The main difference between the two is that HFCS contains unbound fructose (which, among other concerns, has been found to interfere with the heart’s use of key minerals,) and glucose molecules, while sucrose is a larger molecule that metabolizes into glucose and fructose. According to research by renowned food expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, as well as by Dr. Meira Fields at the USDA, HFCS metabolizes into fat more rapidly than any other sugar, especially when consumed in liquid form, such as in sodas, soft drinks and juices.
The idea that HFCS is safe “in moderation” is also problematic. Other than the belief that consumption of GMOs in any amount is unsafe (evidence of the dangers of GMOs is well documented), there is the undeniable reality that HFCS is difficult to avoid, as it appears in a vast multitude of foods and beverages, from bread and cereals to ketchup and cough syrups. Indeed, it is an arduous task to consume HFCS only in moderation. The startling fact that HFCS is the #1 source of calories in the United States speaks to the virtual assault on Americans that has been taking place over the last 20 years.
In any regard, to claim HFCS is nutritionally the same as sugar is not exactly high praise for the processed sweetener. Refined table sugar is not healthy, either. What else would have caused the need for the development of so many artificial sweeteners, but for the detriments of sugar? Substances that have been processed and stripped of whatever nutrients they may have had to start are thereby depleted of enzymes that could have been used to assist in digestion. Without these vital catalysts from food, the body is forced to use its own, limited store of enzymes. Processed foods including either refined sugars or HFCS are, therefore, truly empty calories, as they provide the body with little or none of the nutrition it requires.
The need for sweetness can be met through natural sweeteners with real ingredients that come from nature’s perfect recipes for exactly what the human body craves. Unrefined sugar cane and sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup can substitute the refined sugars and provide the body with nutrients along the way.
If HFCS were not inexpensive and profitable for its manufacturers, the CRA would not be spending millions to promote the very unnatural sweetener which has become a staple of the American diet. There is no real concern for the health of the American public behind the HFCS campaign; its sole motivation is profit.
The retort, then, when confronted with advocates of the cheap, ubiquitous sweetener, is simple: high fructose corn syrup is not natural, it is genetically modified and it does not offer the body any nutritional benefits; on the contrary, it robs enzymes and turns quickly to fat.
There are no controversies surrounding foods that the earth provides; there is no debate over whether or not fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and herbs are “natural.” Nature holds everything the body requires. Maybe in returning to simpler, more basic sources of nutrition, Americans can finally find the sweetness they have been missing.