Corn refiners want us to believe that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), or glucose/fructose in Canada, is a “natural” sugar made from corn. They think that by changing the name to corn sugar, they can dupe us into thinking that corn syrup has the “same natural sweeteners as table sugar and honey”, as they say in their ads. But what’s the truth behind those claims? Here are the facts.
Why to avoid high fructose syrup aka corn sugar
1- It’s heavily processed: Corn sugar is nothing but natural. Corn kernels have to be combined with alpha-amylase, glucoamylase and xylose isomerase to form the corn syrup used in many of the processed foods we find on our grocery shelves. So no, high fructose corn syrup has nothing natural about it.
2- It’s addictive: Since HFCS interferes with the secretion of leptin within the body, it’s truly hard to stop eating a food that contains some. So when you see ads that tell you that corn sugar is ok in moderation, keep in mind that one of the problems of it is actually that moderation is seemingly impossible!
3- It can contain mercury: According to a research published in the Journal of Environmental health, a former FDA scientist found that about one third of the samples had mercury above the detection limit. The samples were foods taken directly from the supermarket shelves, where high fructose corn syrup was the first or the second ingredient ion the label. They tested 55 different foods including barbecue sauce, jam, yogurt and chocolate syrup.
4- It’s bad for the environment: Corn is among the worst crops when it comes to environment. It’s usually grown as a genetically modified monoculture, and often needs chemical pest control methods or fertilizers. As a result, those cultures can lead to erosion, as well as soil and ground water pollution.
Sugar, natural or not, is linked to a plethora of health problems. But if you have to choose, at least pick a better one. Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, evaporated cane juice, dates sugar, and now stevia are all alternative to high fructose corn syrup. The best way to avoid corn sugar is to stop buying processed foods. Make you own snacks. This way, not only you know exactly what you put in your mouth, but also you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by reducing food packaging.
Do you still eat food that contains corn sugar? What is your favorite alternative?