(Natural News) Most processed food products and drinks today contain either sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFSC) as sweeteners. According to researchers, the increased consumption of such food products and beverages could be linked to the widespread development of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
While most researchers would agree that consuming food and drinks rich in sugar has adverse effects on the body, studies specifically exploring the negative effects of HFSC are not as well-defined. Despite the apparent lack of studies on the substance however, it is becoming increasingly clear that people are better off not consuming food products and beverages containing it, such as the following:
- Sodas and sweetened drinks
- Processed sweets and commercially-baked goods
- Condiments and packaged salad dressings
- Packaged fruits and fruit-based snacks
- Commercially-produced and pre-packaged granola and nutrition bars
What is HFSC?
High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener created from corn starch. And while it has the word “corn” in it, it is the farthest thing from natural. Manufacturers introduce enzymes to corn starch to turn its glucose into fructose, the compound responsible for the sweetness of fruits. HFSC is commonly comprised of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose.
The body needs glucose for energy. It can easily be broken down and used by the body’s cells. However, too much fructose is a problem. Unlike glucose, it turns into different compounds before it can be used. Several studies have shown that consuming too much fructose has negative effects on the body.
Risks associated with HFCS
Food products rich in HFSC and sugar are available everywhere, including grocery stores and markets. Before putting these products in your grocery cart however, take some time to find out why they are better off on the shelves.
Here are some of the health risks of eating foods rich in HFSC:
1. Weight gain
The high amount of fructose in foods with HFSC may contribute to a person’s weight gain and consequently, obesity. Fructose contributes to the buildup of visceral fats in the body. These refer to the harmful fats that surround the body’s organs. They are linked to several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
2. Tooth decay
People experiencing coughs, cold, or flu usually turn to medication to soothe their condition. This includes cough drops and sweet liquid medications. However, these substances contain ingredients that may contribute to tooth decay; one of which is HFSC. The bacteria inside the mouth feed on HFSC and sucrose, causing them to break, and produce harmful acids. These acids wear down the teeth’s protective enamel, making them more susceptible to tooth decay.
Consuming foods rich in HFSC may contribute to the development of diabetes. Daily excessive intake of HFSC can result in insulin resistance, one of the hallmarks of diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When a body develops resistance to it, it causes blood glucose levels to increase, along with the risk of heart disease.
HFSC and sugar are known as boosters of inflammation, which means eating too much of them increases the risks of developing inflammation-driven health conditions. This includes obesity, heart disease, and even cancer. (Related: High-fructose corn syrup increases risk of heart failure.)
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should limit the amount of sugar, including HFSC, in the food they eat every day. It recommends that men should not eat more than 150 calories, or 9 tablespoons, of sugar or HFSC. Women, on the other hand, should limit themselves to only 100 calories, or 6 tablespoons, per day.
Cooking food at home and choosing organic produce from the local farmer’s market are one of the few ways to limit HFSC intake. If ever you have to buy pre-packaged food or related products from a grocery store, make sure that HFSC is not listed among the first few ingredients — a sure sign that the product has them in high amounts.
Learn more about which foods to avoid and which foods are safe to eat at Food.news.