(NaturalNews) It is amazing how ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become. Most of the products that you purchase from the grocery store contain HFCS, including the ones you would least expect.
It has the same sweetness and taste as an equal amount of sucrose from cane or beet sugars, so most people can't tell the difference. And since it tastes good they continue to eat it anyway, oblivious to what they are eating and the impact it may have on them, and the planet.
In spite of it being much more complicated to produce, HFCS is actually cheaper to make than regular sugar from beets or sugar canes. It's also very easy to transport, meaning lower costs and higher profits for food producers. That being said, there is a con to mass producing this cheap sugar.
HFCS "may be cheap in the supermarket, but in the environment it could not be more expensive," says Michael Pollan author of "In Defense of Food An Eater's Manifesto."
How exactly is HFCS made? And what is the carbon footprint?
The production of HFCS involves vats of murky fermenting liquid, various enzymes, fungus and chemical tweaking, all of which take place in one of 16 chemical plants located in the Corn Belt.
HFCS is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. Basically, white starch is turned into crystal clear syrup. The process is much more complicated of course.
Most of the corn is grown as a monoculture, meaning that the land is used solely for corn, not rotated among crops. Monocultures can deplete the nutrients in soil and lead to erosion, so they require more pesticides and fertilizer. Then of course, add to the mix the fact that it stems from GM corn and you have the ultimate Franken-syrup sweetener.
"The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide," Pollan says. "Look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf [of Mexico], an area the size of New Jersey where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt."
By now the terms organic, all natural and fair trade are symbolic words used by food manufacturers to persuade shoppers to purchase their products by insinuating that their product is safe, and a better alternative. Most shoppers rarely take the time to actually read the labels to know what exactly they are buying. And sadly most either don't know the dangers contained therein, or even worse, don't care.
But for those of us who do read labels, food manufacturers have cleverly replaced the name "HFCS" with the names Inulin, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Iso Glucose, Chicory and Fruit Fructose, and you'll be surprised as to where all your efforts to avoid HFCS, may have been overlooked.
The following items often (surprisingly) contain HFCS: Cottage cheese, salad dressing, steak sauce, canned soup, cough syrup, breakfast cereal, yogurt, bread, pastries, jelly and jam.
The most alarming part of the entire HFCS devolution is that once again money and convenience was placed ahead of the people and the planet. Major food giants did what they do best and paid huge amounts of money to condition the masses in believing that there is nothing to be concerned with, and that we are safe from yet another man made concoction labeled as food that's safe to eat, all for the sake of profit.
It would appear that since these man made concoctions have surfaced the sicker and more obese the population has become. Today Americans consume more HFCS than sugar. One can assume there is indeed a correlation.
Fructose should come from eating whole fruits, in moderation. Everything that the human body needs to be healthy and vibrant is already in nature. No one can replace, or improve, the perfect balance of nature.
It is the people that control the outcome of every intention brought forth by the food companies and government officials. It really comes down to the consumers demanding pristine foods. And the best way to "demand" is by boycotting all foods containing HFCS, and GMO's.