In recent years, there has been a significant amount of attention focused on high-fructose corn syrup because of the research coming out surrounding the side effects of this substance and the ubiquity with which it is found in various foods and drinks throughout society, most notably sodas. Because of the epidemic surrounding obesity and diabetes in this country, it is important for everyone to learn about the ingredients in the foods that they’re eating, starting with this one. High fructose corn syrup is produced by various food industries and is added to foods because it is both cheap and makes them taste good, boosting sales; however, this is also a dangerous ingredient because it can lead to significant health problems which can ultimately kill people for more reasons than one.

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup Leads to Obesity and Diabetes

High fructose corn syrup is, by definition, packed with sugar (the sugar is called fructose). Because numerous beverages are packed with this corn syrup, they are also packed with sugar. In fact, it’s not unusual to look at a typical soda and see over 50 grams of sugar packed into that small volume on the back. When the body cannot process all of this sugar in a timely manner, it is converted into other substances, such as fat. This leads to people gaining weight and contributes to numerous chronic health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure, both of which can kill people. Furthermore, such as rapid and dangerous spike in blood sugar levels on a regular basis can quickly lead to diabetes due to the burnout of the body’s insulin production and the development of insulin resistance. Diabetes can kill people both acutely, in the form of diabetic ketoacidosis from dangerously high blood sugar levels, and chronically, due to kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, and heart disease. High fructose corn syrup leads to chronic health problems.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup is Not the Same as Cane Sugar

Many people have seen cane sugar presented as a healthier alternative to typical sugar sources. This is because cane sugar consists of two glucose molecules chained together, which the body has enzymes to break down naturally. This means that the body is used to breaking down cane sugar and can control the rate of breakdown and absorption in a relatively healthy manner. Fructose is not the same molecule. In fact, high fructose corn syrup consists of both fructose and glucose in an unbound form. Because the two molecules aren’t chained together, they do not need to be broken down enzymatically. This means that the blood sugar spike is immediate and if the human body consumes too much fructose, it can go straight to the liver and trigger lipogenesis, exhaust the body’s supply of ATP, and damage the gut lining of the digestive tract itself. All of these problems can lead to chronic health concerns which can kill people over time.

3. Many Contaminants in High Fructose Corn Syrup Aren’t Regulated by the FDA

Unlike many other areas of the food industry, high fructose corn syrup is not regulated by government bodies. In fact, some forms of high fructose corn syrup contain levels of mercury which may be unsafe for human consumption. Mercury poisoning can lead to the development of neurological problems and kidney damage that can place people in the hospital. While many people have concerns about the levels of mercury in raw fish, the levels of mercury in high fructose corn syrup are often both unregulated and overlooked. With the lack of regulation, perhaps people should consider it a victory that the ingredient is listed on the back labels of foods and drinks.

4. Numerous Scientists have Published Research Demonstrating the Dangerous Effects

A number of researchers from esteemed universities such as Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have performed extensive research studies on both animals and in clinical trials on people demonstrating the dangerous effects of high fructose corn syrup both through the bench research and clinical medicine. They have published detailed, objective evidence that backs up the claims made by doctors. These include the assertions that high fructose corn syrup is not the same as cane sugar, that it is metabolized differently, that it can damage the digestive tract, and that it can lead to obesity and diabetes. Unsurprisingly, the corn industry disagrees and states that all sugar can be harmful if taken in excess. While this is true, not all sugar is the same and high fructose corn syrup can harm people more rapidly and at lower levels per unit volume than other forms of sugar.

5. High Fructose Corn Syrup is a Marker of Nutrient - Poor Foods

Finally, using high fructose corn syrup as a substitute for typical sugar is almost universally a marker of food that is poor in other important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. When people stop to read the other ingredients found on the backs of foods with high fructose corn syrup, they will likely find that the food does not have other nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are necessary to ensure that the body works properly. Therefore, avoiding high fructose corn syrup will not only keep diabetes and obesity at bay but it will also lead to improved ingestion of other nutrients that are necessary to maintain proper health.

Ultimately, these are only a few of the many different reasons why high fructose corn syrup can kill people. At the very least, it is only contributing to the rising rates of chronic healthcare problems and the increased healthcare costs that go with it. People should take the time to read about the ingredients that are found in their favorite foods and drinks and learn about what is healthy and what is not. Ingesting this type (and amount) of sugar on a regular basis can potentially lead to serious health problems, so it is very important to be fully informed about what you are eating.

*Disclaimer: This article pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this article, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

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