High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Facts

By: Keith

 

the scream

 

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is a hot topic among health and fitness buffs.  They cite studies showing a direct correlation between increased HFCS consumption and obesity.  They also point to research that documents mercury in HFCS products. Researchers have also discovered a difference between  HFCS in liquids versus its solid state and how it could affect obesity.  There is much confusion regarding HFCS because of a counter-offensive by the corn and refiners industries who seek to dispel the fear associated with their products.  I want my kids to eat healthy foods. I want them to be safe.  But, should I be like the hippies and be fearful of all businesses that use artificial food additives?  It’s possible, very possible.  Or should I believe the corn industry when they say there is nothing to fear but fear itself?  If HFCS is really what the corn people say it is then I should have nothing to worry about.  Is what they say true?  Well, I’ve done some research to find out the answer to that.  I’ve scoured the internet looking for credible sources and scientists who can tell me what I want to know.  Very basically I want to know if it is safe.

 

What is it?

 

sucrose_1Table sugar is a combination of fructose and glucose which are both simple sugars produced naturally by plants.  The combination is called sucrose.   Corn syrup is mainly glucose produced from corn starch.  There is no naturally occurring fructose in corn which is why corn isn’t sweet.  But, in the 1950’s, scientists found a way to convert the glucose in corn into fructose.  The resulting concoction is 90% fructose (and therefore very very sweet).  That fructose is mixed with the corn syrup, which is glucose (and not sweet), until a 45/55 balance is reached (fructose being the higher percentage).   And, presto, HFCS!  Later, in the 1970’s, the process was scaled and we saw the birth of the HFCS boom.

 

Why is it Used?

 

HFCS has three things going for it that make it attractive to the food industry.  The first is that it is cheap. In 2007 the cost of 1 dry pound of HFCS was roughly 32 cents.  At the same time, the cost of refined sugar was 52 cents per dry pound.  It is no wonder that the food industry uses it keep costs down!  The second reason it’s used is that it is more easily dissolved in liquid.  The solubility of HFCS makes it an attractive choice for the beverage industry.  The first ingredient after water in most drinks is HFCS.  It is not impossible to find drinks without HFCS, but it’s getting more difficult every year.   One easy solution is to not buy juice and soda drinks at all and instead drink tea which contains no sugar at all and still tastes good.  The third reason HFCS is used instead of regular sugar is that it acts as a preservative thereby extending shelf life and reducing the use of other preservatives.  From the perspective of the food industry HFCS is a miracle additive.  More sweet than regular sugar, almost half the price, and it’s also a preservative.  I don’t blame the industry for pushing it.  But, as consumers, we have a responsibility to be skeptical of people who want our money.

  

Health Concerns

 

giraff-fatThere are two credible health concerns concerning HFCS.  There are plenty of  bloggers who seem to have all the answers but no scientific research to back them up.  I’d like to add some facts to the debate.  The first big concern that has come up in recent years is mercury.  Mercury, caustic soda, and hydrochloric acid are apparently used in processing some HFCS.  There were tests done in 2005 that showed that a full third of all HFCS products contain some amount of mercury.  The findings are disputed by the sugar refiners.  The other health concern with HFCS is its role in obesity.  Remember that HFCS has more fructose content than regular sugar.  The study I cite demonstrates that HFCS in liquid is a greater factor in obesity than it is in its solid form.  The study also shows that the fructose content of HFCS can sometimes be as high as 65% in drinks.  The rats in the study gained significantly more weight when HFCS was in their water supply than when it was in their food.  The conclusion is this:  If you’re going to invest energy in avoiding HFCS, drinks should be the first place to start.

  

The Argument For

 

We have all seen the backlash from consumers against HFCS.  People like me are all over the internet doing research trying to find out about it.  The corn industry and the refiners have started their own counter offensive.  They claim there is no danger in HFCS and that the research done so far that criticizes HFCS is dubious.  We have also seen all the commercials on TV and in print.  Of course, all the actors and models used in these advertisements are fit and healthy looking which is not surprising.  There is nobody who looks like a pimpled old whale.  Now go to the drink isle at the grocery store and tell me what real HFCS consumers look like.  Do they look like the actors or the sea-mammals?  Now, what do the people shopping from the organic and natural sections of the store look like?  That’s probably all the evidence you need.  It is obvious that the argument for HFCS is just as slanted as many arguments against it.  Everything, including the color of their website (green, blue and yellow), and the actors hired to pose as regular HFCS consumers, is designed to deceive.  But propaganda, regardless of the industry or issue, is always slated.  It’s our responsibility to find scientists who don’t have a horse in the race. 

 

I conclude that HFCS in drinks is the devil’s work.  But, I don’t drink soda anyway so I don’t really care.  Other parents might care though.  My other conclusion is that I have no way to determine which HFCS products have mercury and which do not.  I cannot, in good conscience, feed anything to my kids that might contain even the slightest amount of mercury (even though negligible amounts are in many products).  It’s very simple.  I do not believe that HFCS will make me fat if it’s used in moderation.  In that I agree with the industry.  However, it is such a widely used product that avoiding it is extremely difficult.  hfcs_noHow can I not eat too much of it if eating itself requires that I consume HFCS?  The only way to avoid it is to shop in the natural sections of my grocery store.  That’s what I’ll have to do.  The industry has flooded our food supply with HFCS to such a degree that their suggestion of eating it in moderation is absolutely laughable.  Our only option is naturally produced foods that are pushed by farmers rather than corn intermediaries (which is a discussion for another day).

80 Responses to “High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Facts”
  1. J Cruikshank July 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    My brother and I were just discussing this yesterday. It’s in everything it seems. Spooky! Thanks for your leg work on these topics. I’ll watch for butter vs margarine :-)

  2. Dennis Yu July 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm #

    Some of the supposedly “healthy” players out there sell items that are FILLED with high fructose corn syrup. I used to be a big fan of the ZONE diet– read the books and bought the products.

    Then after eating some Zone bars, I happened to look at the ingredients on the back of the wrapper– FILLED with high fructose corn syrup. So I called the toll free number to talk to their support. The girl who answered hemmed and hawwed– tried to deny it, until eventually she said that it was “high quality” high fructose corn syrup– that there are different kinds of high fructose corn syrup.

    Might as well say there are different forms of cancer.

    Then I found out the Barry Sears, the creator of the Zone Diet, had nothing to do with all the Zone products– he merely licensed his name.

    How’s that for high fructose corn syrup EVIL?

  3. Cynthia1770 July 21, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    Hi,
    My google alert picked up your post. I preach the treachery
    of HFCS, so we’re on the same side of the net. As for the
    mercury tainted HFCS–mercury is not a reagent in the production of HFCS. An older method to prodcue caustic soda, lye, used a mercury cathode and trace amounts of mercury apparently contaminated some of the lye. Most manufacturers in the US have upgraded the method which does not require the use of the mercury cathode; however, I believe there are four companies that still use the outdated process. The lye is used to separate the corn starch from the kernel and also to buffer other steps in the production of HFCS. I’m also interested in your statement that HFCS can be as high as 65% fructose. What is the reference for that? The CRA claims they use HFCS-42 and HFCS-55. You might read an article I wrote for
    Women’s International News under Health and Nutrition.
    It might answer some of your questions. To your health

  4. keith July 21, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    Cynthia, I linked to a scientific study that has the information you’re looking for with the number of 65%. I hear what you’re saying about the mercury being an outdated method. The point I’m making, and which you are as well, is that there are still some manufacturers that use it and they are not required to label on their products that they do. We cannot discern when we are getting HFCS that has mercury and when we are not. Thank you for the comment.

  5. Jaron November 15, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    I was in the midst of internet scouring with the very same questions (and suspicions), so your post has been very helpful.
    Thanks, and I’ll let you know if I come across any new info.

    • Keith November 16, 2009 at 8:42 am #

      Jaron, I’m glad you found it helpful.

  6. MitziB December 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    I have a son who is highly sensitive to all sorts of things. Can’t have anything artificial or it makes him nuts. HFCS makes him insane, natural sugars don’t. And it’s a HUGE difference in his behavior. I can always tell when a neighbor has given my boy forbidden foods. He comes home like he’s on speed. Plain real sugar isn’t great either, but he can have it moderately. But just seeing his body’s reaction to HFCS, and artificial colors, to me, shows how ‘good’ it is. It isn’t.

    • Keith December 7, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

      Mitzi, I’ve heard of other people who say similar things — that HFCS has an unusual reaction with them (or someone they know). I’d be interested to know exactly what causes it, but I guess we can be sure of at least one thing. That’s proof that something is very wrong with the stuff :-)

  7. Kim January 8, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    It IS possible to make a grocery run and avoid HFCS entirely.

    My fiancee and I are avid label readers and constantly monitor what we buy. Our grocery bill has gone up by an average of $15 a week, but we’re eating better, healthier and we FEEL better.

  8. breakfast diet January 28, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    my 2 cents.. i mean just because a scientist says somethind doesnt make it scientific or fact… A lot of research is skewed towards the result the one who is funding the research wants. So what we should do is look at how closely each study stick to the scientific process, we need to hold these scientist accountable and not just believe because they wear white coats.

    • Keith January 29, 2010 at 11:46 am #

      Greakfastdiet: You are completely right. The special interests really do affect a lot of research. Thanks for reading!

  9. David February 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    hey its a good thing i just found this site because i have to do a project for my environmental science class. me being a senior, i need this class to pass and this is being very helpful and not to mention resourceful. ill be sure to use this. thanks

  10. Stacia June 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    I was just talking to my grandma about HFCS, and she said
    “Well, they say it’s really not all that bad for you.”
    “Who’s ‘they,’ grandma?”
    “Well, those people! The ones on the commercials!”
    “The commercials made by the company that produces high fructose corn syrup?”
    “Yeah… oh.”

    Some people really do believe everything they hear. We need more people out there with the bare facts – not skewed so the company gets business, or even to make people think that smelling the stuff will make them fat. People deserve access to true information and that almost as impossible as finding HFCS-free foods.

    • Keith June 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

      Stacia: I love when people try that with me. They’ll say “well, it’s just sugar.” And then I whip out all the facts and they’re left standing there like they got run over. :-) It’s a funny thing what a little research can teach us. Unfortunately there are people who will blindly believe anything they’re told. Thanks for reading, Stacia!

  11. Heather June 3, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    thank you so much for this article. I have cut most HFCS out of my family’s diet for about two years now. The only item I would purchase was ketchup, but thanks to Hunts I no longer have to do that :-) The ads on TV really make me angry because there are so many gullible people out there that believe that HFCS is good for them. There may be no definition of “natural”, but I know what i believe “natural” should be, and that does not include adding chemicals in a laboratory to produce something. I try my best not to eat anything unnatural. Its hard, when you read the list of ingredients, its like looking at a chemistry quiz. It has become expensive to eat healthy, but its worth it to know that I am doing what I can to keep my family lean and healthy.

  12. Fructose is bad June 26, 2010 at 1:15 am #

    Great site almighty dad!, very nice info.
    .-= Fructose is bad´s last blog ..What is Fructose made of? =-.

  13. Interesting facts July 6, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Your bacon and egg breakfast, glass of milk at lunch, or hamburger for supper were all produced with U.S. corn.
    .-= Interesting facts´s last blog ..Food that never spoils =-.

    • Keith July 6, 2010 at 10:40 am #

      That is true about the bacon and eggs. Everything comes from corn these days. Sad really.

  14. Joe July 12, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    There is no accident here..this is on purpose. The next time you buy some sausage links look on the ingredients and you will see MSG. Look on chips, bread, snack cakes anything and you will SEE HFCS.

  15. Joe July 12, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    If you want a brand of bread that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. You will want to see Natures Own breads, they have butter bread and Honey wheat. Now they have yo-yoed between having HFCS and not they had HFCS for a time and I quit buying it, but I suppose they wised up and quit having it again and that is the only bread I buy.

  16. Esthela July 15, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    Everything in excess is bad! I drink regular coca cola, never diet because i do not like artificial sweetners, i eat chips, real butter and nothing fat free or sugar free, i like the taste! I weigh 114 lbs and i am 5 feet 2 and i am about to turn 31, people say i look like i am 23, they even go as far as saying i look like i am 16-i say whatever to that comparison though. It is important to combine this with an active diet. Of course if you are going to over eat and let your children over eat with no physical activity, you bet they will be obese!! -it’s common sense..i dont eat organic, because i cannot afford it. My daughter will be 10 soon, and she was not allowed to have sodas until after she turned 6, and because of that, she rarely drinks a soda, and when she does, she can barely finish half a can. I say as long as we dont start giving our children unhealthy food when their bodies are just starting to develop, they will be okay. We dont have to overdue either fact, not too sedentary nor obsessed with a figure either…:)

    • Keith July 15, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      Esthela: Absolutely! Everything in excess is bad. Very well said, and thank you for stopping by :-)

    • Gina November 20, 2011 at 9:21 am #

      You think you are eating healthy……think again. Check to see what is in your potato chips, in your coke……Better do more investigating.

      • Keith November 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

        Gina: I’m not sure if you’re talking to me here. Anyway, I think we all should be very careful about the things we eat. HFCS is in so many products that it’s really quite hard to avoid it. However, HFCS is not the only bad substance out there. you are correct. There are many others, too, which should be avoided (and which I also avoid).

  17. Mikey August 1, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Wow, you are a real cook arn’t you?

    Sucking down too much of ANY sugar product is going to lead to being fat and unhealthy. Drink too much Hansons soda (100% cane sugar) and you are going down the EXACT SAME path as sucking down too much of any soda.

    The research about HFCS is bogus because it totally ignores this fact. Soda manufacturers could use regular sugar and we could do the exact same studies and find the exact same results.

    The problem is not that companies have started using HFCS. The problem is that people are consuming too much stuff that is bad for them! Soda used to be a “special occasion” treat — now it is an any-time-you-feel like it drink (often replacing water). Desert used to be a “guests are coming over”, now it is after every meal and as a snack! Even breakfast is now loaded with sugar from the sugar coated cereal to box donughts!

    So get of the HFCS kick and figure out that the food manufacturers are not the bad guys. The consumers are the bad guys. When a consumer TAKES RESPONSIBILITY for their own health and startes eating good food the problems are going to go away. When all of the sweet stuff out there is relegated back to it’s proper place — used conservatively as a treat — the health problems of too much sugar…be it cane suger, beet suger, brown sugar, corn syrup, HF corn syrup, or any other type of suger will go away. When people quite being LAZY, get off their duffs, and start exercizing the obesity issue we see today will start to go away.

    Eat right, live right — that is the key to health. And forget all this nonsense about trying to make out HFCS as the bad guy. I GUARANTEE you that if you simply replace the HFCS you consume with regular suger you will not do a darn thing for your health.

    • Keith August 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

      Mikey: I didn’t say soda manufacturers are the bad guys. Actually, I gave very concrete reasons why they do what they do. Can’t argue with the facts. Those being that HFCS is more sugary than sugar and that it’s half the price. Naturally it’ll be used. I’m not sure you completely read what was said. All I did was lay out the facts. I’m sorry you think the facts that disagree with your opinion are wrong, but that doesn’t change that they have been published by reputable scientists and are even agreed upon by everybody involved. Terribly sorry that inconveniences you.

  18. Casey August 16, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    My mom has a bad knee from a fall some years ago, and she can tell when she’s had too much HFCS because it’ll make her knee hurt more than usual. Now I have a ruptured disk in my back that is inoperable with today’s technology, so I’m trying to find foods that won’t make my chronic pain worse. Cutting out a lot of HFCS seems to help. Mom has done some research into this, and we did nothing but laugh sadly at the “Sweet Surprise” commercials that came on a few months ago. I feel sorry for all the sheeple that are being misled about this poison.

  19. Mamie Daste August 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    great article. thank you for helping me to understand HFCS.

  20. Shelly Jefferson September 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    The more you research corn syrup, the more evil it becomes.Sugar is cane.You want to invest in the south, you invest in cane.Cane grows further north than you might think.Call 941-587-7895 ask for Shell

  21. Brad September 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Regarding avoiding HFCS (a laudable goal) – would it be better if we went back to “sugar” in Coke? I get the impression you don’t think that HFCS is better than sugar (“the devil’s work”), but do you think it’s worse? Was the study you cited that HFCS made people fatter than sugar did? Does a 5% difference in fructose content really have a large affect on obesity?
    And if HFCS 42 (found in baked goods) is bad, then what about honey? It’s higher in fructose vs glucose so it must be worse, right? (now, who hasn’t seen the health food items that use honey as the sweetener?)
    I think the message is simply that there is too much sugar in our diet when we aren’t careful. Being cheaper, manufacturers can afford to add more HFCS to processed foods, which sell better because we like “sweet” tastes.
    For what it’s worth, in my family we have taught our kids to read labels of most food items – e.g. they know that any cereal with over 6 g of sugar per serving is “dessert” and peanut butter doesn’t have sugar in it. It’s made shopping a lot easier :-)
    I agree with Mikey on this point: If they used honey or something else “natural” instead, we’d still be in trouble. Processors want to sell product and sweet sells.

    • Keith September 29, 2010 at 12:10 am #

      Brad: You’re right and wrong. Most people just eat too much sugar, period. That’s why they’re fat — not the HFCS. However, HFCS has other negative health effects other than simply adding calories to our diets. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the recent studies (published within the last few months — after I wrote this article) that showed a link between HFCS and certain types of cancer. Apparently, they say, HFCS does something to our hormones that regular sugar does not. Now, obviously I’m not a scientist; all I do is report what I hear. But, these studies are enough to get me to hold off on saying it’s just a matter of sugar is sugar. It seems there’s something much more pernicious about HFCS than simply making us fat, which you’re right that all sugar will do no matter what kind it is. Also, it’s not explained why HFCS has such a different effect than HFCS in solid foods as compared with the equivalent proportions of cane sugar, honey or other natural sugars. I think I’ll let the scientist keep working on those questions before I’m convinced it’s no different than regular sugar. But, your message is correct, Brad. Read labels, be vigilant, and avoid sugar all together. Can’t go wrong with that approach!

  22. Margaret September 29, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    This is a fascinating discussion. I avoid foods with HCFS, but want to know what’s true about it. I really appreciated your clear opening essay, which seemed to me quite even-handed. I’m sure you’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has a detailed history of how all that HCFS got into our food in the first place.

    I’m concerned mostly about the sugar aspect of HCFS. I found an article from the Mayo clinic which seems to say that HCFS doesn’t contribute to more obesity than sugar. (I’ve quoted it with the website at the end of this post.)

    Nevertheless, I feel better (I’m pretty sure) when I avoid HCFS foods. And I got to wondering, could it be that HCFS foods just have more total sugars in them? Maybe the studies compare HCFS to other sweeteners in equal amounts, when a better study would be in amounts actually used in a particular food. For example, maybe ketchup that uses HCFS ends up with more total sugars than ketchup made with sugar or honey, because of the recipe, the proportion of sugary stuff that’s in it.

    I wondered if you have done any work in this area. I plan to look into this by label-reading: 1. where does HCFS come in the list of ingredients (reportedly ingredients are listed in descending order of amount in the food) and 2. Is there a correlation between the presence of HCFS in the ingredient list and the overall sugars count? I will report back. (smile) Maybe avoiding HCFS is just a real good proxy for eating foods with less sugars, which would be a very useful nutritional tool. And if the name of HCFS is changed we’re certainly all capable of avoiding foods with “corn sugar” in them

    Here’s the quote, really the only one I found from a medical source the name of which I recognized. Of course I had to get past the sponsored link from sweetsurprise.com every time I searched. The industry is pretty in-your-face: even ads on my not-free email site.

    “So far, research has yielded conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. For example, various early studies showed an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages (many of which contained high-fructose corn syrup) and obesity. But recent research — some of which is supported by the beverage industry — suggests that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t intrinsically less healthy than other sweeteners, nor is it the root cause of obesity.”
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588

  23. Steve September 30, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    HOW MUCH WOULD HFCS COST IF THE GOVERMENT DID NOT SUBSODIZE IT WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS ??? SUGAR PLEASE !

  24. Zebe Pearsall October 3, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    Thanks for the article. As I’ve stated for years, this period in history will go down as the “Fast Food Holocaust” for what is happening to the health of Americans due to propaganda from processed food corporations. For an educational video about the horrors of HFCS, take 90 minutes of your life and watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

    Do not eat HFCS and do not feed it to you kids.

    I have an article on SelfGrowth.com about how to stop drinking soft drinks–hopefully, it will continue to help people give up those health destroying drinks:

    http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/how_to_release_fat_lose_weight_by_giving_up_soft_drinks_sweetened_and_artificially_sweetene

    Thanks again, almighty dad for your concern for the health of children and others.

  25. JayP October 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    I was looking for topics for a group I am a part of which does healthy eating discussions and came across your site, as well as many others. I will disclose now, before moving on, that I work for Pepsi Co., one of the many companies which uses and promotes HFCS, though I actually drink very little of the products I sell because I have fought obesity since childhood.

    HFCS is classified by it’s Fructose-to-Glucose ratio, ie. HFCS 55 is 55% Fructose, HFCS42 is 42% Fructose and so on. With that said, there are industry standards in major label companies using HFCS. Most soft drink companies use HFCS55, and I’ve yet to hear of any company using HFCS90 or any other blend of the other two major HFCS ratios. With that said, some perspective is needed to compare HFCS to it’s compatriots: sugar, honey and other Fructose/Glucose sweeteners.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose)

    Sugar ratio: 0/0 or 50/50, depending on how you interpret the data since table sugar is a disaccharide, ie. sucrose, and through digestion will split into a fructoce and a glucose molecule.

    Honey: 50/44, only slightly lower than HFCS in fructose content, yet Honey is one of the most touted “natural” sugars by most health food and organics supporters.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_nectar)

    Agave Nectar: Ranges between 92/8 and 56/20 depending on producer and source. Yet another of the “healthy” alternatives to HFCS, and yet another one which largely does not differ (at it’s “healthiest”) from HFCS55.

    What you touched on about using ALL sources of sugar in moderation is the best and only advice consumers should be taking in this battle. It’s not that HFCS is evil, at least anymoreso than any other sugar source, it’s simply that consumers are not taking matters into their own hands and limiting their intake of all sources of Fructose. Buckle down, watch that sugar, and stop blaming your problems on evil corporations. I have never, as a representative of Pepsi, shoved a gun down anyone’s throat to force them to drink more of my products.

    In all reality, I am merely a merchandiser who fills shelves when they are empty. So if you stop buying, my job gets easier. Sure, my company might lay me off and thus it behooves me to keep you drinking my products, but then again I’ve worked a number of jobs in my life and this will probably not be the last. Thank you for the article and for replying to so many of the comments.

  26. Kalasen October 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Well, from my own research, high fructose corn syrup isn’t bad. It’s basically just a type of sugar as much as glucose is. Obviously, guzzling sugar like no tomorrow isn’t the healthiest thing. So the corn syrup you can’t expect to turn soda into pure water. So what is the difference between sugar and the corn syrup? Not much. There ^is^ a slight difference though.

    Fructose increases appetite. In lab tests with rats, the ones fed fructose instead of glucose gained more weight. They ate more. Nobody is exactly sure why, but it isn’t like a toxic compound either that magically adds more than its own weight to you. The trade off is pretty much worth it, for replacing sugar. Cheaper? Check, I’m all for a more powerful economy. Mixes easy? Awesome, no sugar granules turning ice cream crispy. Relatively safe preservative? Check, food poisoning isn’t the best way to lose weight. The leap from 11 cookies to 10 cookies is nowhere near as drastic as the change from 10 cookies to a fruit bowl. If you’re worried about diet, then you shouldn’t be pushing for glucose over fructose as much as you should be pushing for lowering incoming calories and increasing calorie burn, while making sure you don’t suffer from malnutrition.

    I switched from diet drinks to pure water recently due to similar research (minor effects, but it does reduce appetite, as well as eliminating caffeine which is basically legal cocaine). I don’t worry about whether it’s glucose or fructose in the food I eat. I look at three little numbers. Calories, obviously. Fat, again obviously. And serving size (you’d be amazed what can pass for a serving). Do the math, keep under 2000 calories per day. Easy. Exercise (particularly aerobic), burns off calories. Exercise is the next step to add for me, and the workouts listed here seem great to do. I’d walk more, but the temperature where I live fluctuates horribly to extremes. So good indoor exercises are a must.

  27. ricky November 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    you people are seriously retarded, as is this blog entry. You state that you should look at the HFCS soda isle versus a health food store. HMMMMMMM could it not be that the correlation is not that HFCS is bad for you, but people who eat/drink them are simply people unconcerned with their health? Everything is bad when you eat it un proportionally with exercise. If they choose to be fat and enjoy good tasting foods then ALL POWER TO THEM. Get off their backs. If you enjoy eating gross vegetables that look like little turds and are riddled with gross bugs then have fun!

    Let me reiterate. People who don’t eat HFCS are generally in better health because they make the conscious decision to be healthy. I eat and drink HFCS because it tastes good and i enjoy a bit of luxury in my short 90+ year time on this earth. I do so in moderation and i am in great shape.

    Of course HFCS is bad in excess…its sugar, and provides a lot of calories in a small condensed and simple package. what the hell is the argument against it exactly? That people shouldn’t be able to choose what they want to eat and drink? Do health nuts have heads that are THAT inflated that they believe they are so much better than people that they can decide how they should live their life?

    • Keith November 1, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      Ricky: You haven’t been watching the news, have you? It’s now been linked to cancer. Before you go calling people retards and yelling your opinion at us, maybe you ought to get your facts straight. It’s more than just concentrated sugar. The research actually proves that. Follow some of the links and you’ll read what the experts say. All I’m doing is reporting on it. Then, go to google and type in something like HFCS research and see “news” in your google options. If your serious about wanting to know about it, then do actual research before you tell everyone else how dumb they are. I’ll agree with you that a little probably won’t hurt (in fact, I think I said that), but it’s not like its “just like sugar”.

  28. Chrysi Bombard November 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Thank you. This has confirmed my own findings. I also try to avoid it but as you said it is in nearly everything. Thank God for farmers market.

  29. Blair November 24, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Thanks for the article. I just did a search for HFCS and got the corn manufacturers advertising and was amazed at the propaganda. I appreciate the research. BTW you have a google ad for the HFCS just below this article.

    • Keith November 25, 2010 at 8:54 am #

      Blair: That’s funny! Sometimes I wish I could control those ads! :-)

  30. PJ Mullen December 2, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Good article, Keith. I agree that HFCS is something people should certainly avoid. It isn’t anything close to being sugar. I love when people claim “well, it’s basically sugar”. Sure, if you consider something that has to undergo a chemical process to become “basically sugar”, then they are right. We do our best to avoid it in all things we buy and eat. There are a small handful of products in our home that have it, but not soft drinks. We don’t keep soda in the house much any more and if we do have it, it is something like Fresca. Also, given that I’m doing my best to follow the Paleo Diet all forms of sugar are pretty much out of the window for me. Try shopping then. Fortunately, between Larabars and Pure bars we still have access to a convenience food that is healthy for when we are out and about with the kids.

    • Keith December 2, 2010 at 11:48 am #

      PJ: Oh, Larabars are so awesome. It’s amazing that they make a tasty bar that basically has nothing in them except dates and a few other whole ingredients. Why can’t more companies be like that?

  31. PJ Mullen December 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    No doubt, they are a little more per bar. We get ours through Amazon subscribe and save and get 15% off that way. It ends up costing up less than $1.15 a bar. The funny thing is reading the comments on the reviews of people yapping about how a Snickers bar is cheaper and has the same fat content/total calories. Giant difference between fat from confection and fats from whole foods. Their jocolat bars is what has kept me going on the Paleo thing. It’s like dessert that’s good for you.

  32. ianam December 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    If you eat food rather than “products” it isn’t an issue.

  33. ianam December 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    “It isn’t anything close to being sugar. I love when people claim “well, it’s basically sugar”. Sure, if you consider something that has to undergo a chemical process to become “basically sugar”, then they are right.”

    Really, it would hard to be more scientifically illiterate. Evolution, metabolism, all of life is a result of chemical processes.

    The main problem with HFCS *is* that it’s sugar, which people already consume far too much of. Substituting equal amounts of table sugar dissolved in water for all the HFCS people drink in soda would leave them just as fat and unhealthy.

    • Keith December 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

      Ianam: I see your point, but I think the argument goes beyond simply getting fat. Naturally, sugar will make a person fat regardless of what kind of sugar it is. But, that’s only a piece of the argument. The other part, the part it seems you’re neglecting, is all the other research that points to negative health effects other than obesity. I didn’t mention it in this article because I wrote it before the research came out, but a few months ago HFCS was solidly linked to certain types of cancer. That should be enough to at least give us pause, right?

  34. Kari December 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Thank you very much for putting this information together. It seems intuitive to me that HFCS is bad, but it really helps to have facts to back up that opinion (especially when you have all those commercials trying to brainwash you).
    The difference between HFCS and real sugar actually reminds me of the difference between table salt and sea salt. The chemical process to produce table salt actually produces a side product of a poisonous gas–and it still seems like a good idea to eat the stuff??

  35. Mark Buchanan December 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I think it should be a crime to feed things made with this stuff to the population! There have been studies done that conclude this stuff is the main cause of obesity in the population. Why do we let the food manufactereres kill us and don’t say anything about it?

  36. Dan Dickens December 20, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    I have been fighting weight all my life. During the late 70′s I finally thought I had it beat – by starvation and running I was able to get the weight off and kept it off until the mid 80′s when a round of pneumonia stopped me from running along with a lot of knee and ankle problems. Then the weight came back in record numbers. Like a fat deficit cause by a Bush fat cat cut. But as I began to hear about the possible dangers of corn sugar – a number of things began to run through my thoughts. You see I have some Cherokee blood in my DNA, plus I was told by my doctor that American Indians and the blood line of American Indians had a high rate of blood sugar issues. Then it dawned on me, maybe it is not so much DNA as it is the type food this blood line ate. You see CORN was a major source of food for these natives. Lots of Corn, so I cut out all corn based products, especially corn syrup products. And reading every label became important. I was shocked to see how many products had corn syrup in them. Even some manufactures put corn syrup in Sun Flower seeds – WHY?, why are they putting corn syrup in sun flower seeds? Why are they putting corn syrup in cans of creamed corn? So is the big question WHY is ADM good deep pockets with our government? Is all this designed to shorten the Social Security years – thus saving the Social Security System?
    Anyway – I cut out all corn products – period – and my weight is almost back to normal – all within a year – and I think that in the next six months I should be back to a normal weight. I also have more energy than I used to have. It has not been easy – I love Cola products. That was the hardest thing to give up. It took me nearly nine months to give up my soft drink habit – but I finally did it.
    I will eat fresh corn on the cob – but not very often may two time in the past year.

    Good Luck to all of you out there struggling with weight or blood sugar issues.
    Try what I did – cut out ALL CORN PRODUCTS and see for yourself.

  37. Rain January 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    I have read some where that the percentage of hfcs can get as high as 90/10 fuctose being the higher number. i also read that the 90/10 is found in most sodas. and the 55/45 is found in crakers and other foods

  38. anon-aron February 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    I’m very fit, healthy, above average in practically every way and I drink soda!!! GASP! Not only do I drink it, I LOOOOOOVE it. And I’m still fit, happy, etc. The key is that I exercise regularly and limit my sugar intake to around 50 grams per day. This is pure hysteria and it astonishes me that SO many people how many people fall right into it. People have the God-given ability to make choices – all kinds of choices. And they SHOULD make healthy choices, but it isn’t up to you or I to make them for them. Parents should know that loads of sugar COMBINED WITH A SEDINTARY lifestyle will make their children fat and unhealthy. BUT, that means ANY kind of sugar. ANY KIND!!!! HFCS isn’t going to kill anyone any faster than any other natural occurring sugar. It’s about personal responsibility. The argument that you can tell by who is in the aisle is bogus as well. If anyone saw me buying a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper, they wouldn’t think anything of it; but I’ve seen loads of plus-size people in the Organic section as well. Now, maybe they’re just making that decision to be healthier, but you can do that without EVER going to the more expensive “organic” section. To that end, consider the recent study that came out that said organic food was often no healthier than regular foods, and sometimes LESS healthy. OR, consider the study that came out that said certain people with high-fat diets may live longer than leaner-meaner individuals. And those same plus-sized people have a FAR better chance of surviving a heart attack than our skinnier brethren. My point is that we can jump on any bandwagon we want, but in the end healthy is relative and confusing. I actually have to take in a high amount of fatty oils due to a genetic predisposition to low HDL. That means I’m eating a TON of fat, and yet I don’t gain weight and my overall health [as measured by doctors recently] is outstanding. Okay… I can’t resist. How many of you who have commented about government subsidies care about the fact that the govt ALSO subsidizes the killing of innocent babies? The USA gives literally MILLIONS to abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood.

    • Keith February 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

      Anon: Like I’ve said before to other folks, maybe you should look into the more recent research that’s been done on HFCS. You’ll see HFCS not just like regular sugar, that it does actually have a different chemical profile, which predictably produces a different physiological response. I don’t know how you explain away the new research that has linked it to certain types of cancer. But, hey, keep using capital letters and exclamation points because that really clears it all up for me. I don’t believe it’s innacurate to point out that fat people buy unhealthy food and that it’s probably not a good idea to emulate them. I live in Boulder CO. If I go into my local natural market, I won’t see any fat people. It’s pretty simple.

    • Gina November 20, 2011 at 9:57 am #

      Boy, are you misinformed. I bet you do not avoid aspertame also. Let’s see how healthy you will be as you age….

  39. shane waldron March 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/223360/saturday-night-live-corn-syrup-commercial

    i thought this was pretty funny and a gentle retaliation to the HFCS propaganda commercials.

  40. mark April 2, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    I just sent an email to the FDA opposing the name change from high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar. I guess enough people are starting to look for products that do not contain hfcs, and I’ve noticed more products with labels stating ” no high fructose corn syrup”, that the industry wants to change the name to corn sugar to confuse consumers. I would suggest that anyone concerned with the application before the FDA for the name change submitted by the corn refiners, send an email to the FDA to oppose the measure. Unfortunetly big business has a way of pushing it’s agenda thru FDA approval as seen with monsanto ( aspertine, genetically modified organisms, bovine growth hormones). Any chance of preventing this will require a large protest to counter the effort of the corn industry lobbyists. People have the right to know and choose what is in the food and drink they consume.

  41. Stacey May 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    The companies like Monsanto (major player in the HFCS game) are financial Demi gods. Using money and political power through lobbyists they literally control the FDA. I encourage all of u to watch an independent film called KING CORN. It will change your entire way of eating. For the better!

  42. Stacey May 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Poster should rename himself to the tail that wags the dog. Thank you for your insight Mr Monsanto. Oh I mean mr Anon. ;-/

  43. Amy B. May 24, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    I had seen a few commercials about HFCS and how it’s okay in moderation, but like many readers have commented, it’s in *everything*! Ketchup, “Light” Miracle Whip, 100% whole wheat bread, drinks (duh), just to name a few I’ve discovered this week. My husband has recently been diagnosed as prediabetic. After dealing with high cholesterol and hypertension for the past 10 years, this latest diagnosis has showed us we can’t be latent about our “healthy habits” anymore. Diabetes runs rampant in his family and it’s a line we do not want to cross. I’ve been doing reading and research and looking at food labels in a way I never have before. HFCS is like the plague, and I’m really not surprised anymore when a “healthy” or “natural” food has HFCS in the ingredients. Latest shocker…Yoplait fat-free yogurt. It just makes me sick that it’s everywhere and being toted as not-harmful. I used to scoff at the people who were religious about buying organic foods, but now, I’m becoming converted myself. Especially for my children’s sake–my husband’s side of the family have dealt them an awful hand when it comes to health and genetics and I don’t want them to have to end up in the same boat and their father, grandparents, great-uncle, and great-grandmother (all of whom are diabetic, pre-diabetic, overweight, have hypertension and high cholesterol). I agree with you…JUST SAY NO! Gary Taubes, author of “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” has some great information and insight for the rest of us to learn from.

  44. SW October 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Thank you for this article. I find it interesting that the ones supporting HFCS all say one resonding thing. Eat all you want just make sure you exercise it off. Food you eat should not have an exrecise requirement. When I choose to eat sugary foods I want to know “sugar” is what I am eating.
    I also think it is great that the disscussion has been on going here for as long as it has. Keep up the great job. When I have more time I look forward to reading more of your articles.

  45. Robert February 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    It’s unfortunate that our health and safety is second to profits these days. Our government has allowed big business to make shareholders payouts more important than its own citizens. Another very scary example, check out vaccinations. Most vaccines have significant amounts of mercury in them as well as carcinogens, formaldehyde, and other toxic materials. And they are supposed to help us be healthy? Sadly I think not.

  46. Margaret March 13, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    Like you, I want my kids to eat healthy foods that’s why I always research and ask doctors everything i need to know about the right foods to give them. So happy that many people right now are aware that fructose is not good to our health. Just give your family organic foods and keep them away from processed foods and sodas. I would like to share this article to you about fructose. this is one of my favorite – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx

    • Ruben Gonzalez March 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Estimado amigo: como experto conocedor del tema, puedo asegurarte que hay muchas falacias en los argumentos que ciertos paranoides esgrimen respecto a esto. 1) No hay mercurio ni puede haberlo en los HFCS., pues no se usa en los procesos de elaboracion de HFCS. Es una tonteria total. Si lo hubiera, ningun codigo alimentario nacional lo permitiría. Y no lo hay, porque no hace falta el mercurio y ademas seria un “veneno” para el propio proceso de elaboración enzimático. Es como si dijeras: no como maiz pues tiene mercurio! o no como miel, pues tiene fructosa!. 2) Los obesos que consumen excesiva cantidad de bebidas gaseosas lo serian tambien si estuvieran edulcoradas con sacarosa (azucar comun). LA glucosa, la fructosa y el agua, unicos y principales componentes del HFCS, son naturales, pero el exceso en su consumo no es bueno, como todos los excesos.
      Creo que todos los excesos son perniciosos pero no debemos nublar los hechos ni la verdad sobre temas que están recontra demostrados. HAces bien en no tomar gaseosas, pero no por evitar los HFCS ni el mercurio, sino porque consumir mucho azucar de rápido metabolismo (azucar comun, HFCS, glucosa o cualquier otro basado en mono y disacaridos) no es bueno.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Food Options on The Highway | Parenting blog, Caring for Kids | Keith Wilcox - September 6, PM

    [...] to be so picky about food,  I get it.  It is, however, an established fact that fried food and processed foods are terribly bad choices.  We have a responsibility to do better when it is more than ourselves we [...]

  2. Sugar Cereals Aren’t That Bad | Parenting blog, Caring for Kids | Keith Wilcox - September 16, PM

    [...] don’t know if anybody else has noticed, but the only cereals that taste any good have a fair amount of sugar in them.  But, that’s not really so bad.  It’s not the sugar I have a problem with [...]

  3. Oreo Cookie Filling: Death by Cookie - December 9, PM

    [...] CANOLA OIL AND/OR PALM OIL AND/OR CANOLA OIL, AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), [...]

  4. Red Bull, A Frozen Dog Dish and My Roof is Into Valentine’s Day - February 12, AM

    [...] actually pretty damn tasty and not terribly unhealthy.  First off it doesn’t have HFCS and it doesn’t have Phosphoric Acid.  That right there makes it my kind of cola drink. [...]

  5. Ketchup: It’s not all the Same - February 18, PM

    [...] brands.  What I’ve found is this: Not all ketchup is the same.  And, if you want to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup – I do, then you’ll have to either get an organic brand or the Whole Foods brand ketchup.  [...]

  6. Dieting, exercise, health, etc. - Page 3 - The Michael Jackson Internet Fan Club MJIFC - April 18, AM

    [...] body than table sugar anyway. I like this site which is much better at explaining it than I am: High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Facts __________________ We despise in others what we dimly perceive within ourselves. [...]

  7. Get All The Facts « New Beginnings Chiropractic - May 24, AM

    [...] I have attached a few links that you can follow for more information on high-fructose corn syrup, what it is, why it is used and other health [...]

  8. Bottled Tea Drinks: Money for Nothing - August 26, PM

    [...] you know why bottled tea drinks are so tasty?  Simple — sugar and the addition of as little tea as it takes to still call the drink tea.  That’s right, [...]

  9. You Have a Voice: Be a Contributor on Almightydad! - September 27, PM

    [...] educational.  Perhaps you want to teach people something.  I’ve written successfully about High Fructose Corn Syrup, Multi-Level Marketing schemes (I rank 2nd on SendOut Cards behind SendOut Cards itself), a doll [...]

  10. Unnatural Food: Colorful Drinks - October 17, PM

    [...] it.  Take a look at the ingredients of this orange colored drink (below).  98% of it is water and high fructose corn syrup (I wonder what the proportion is).  And, look at all the other chemicals in attendance.  That [...]

  11. Halloween 2010 | My Kasiyahan - November 2, AM

    [...] Another High Fructose Corn Syrup blog page by a dad This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  12. Paleo Zone Diet Blocks « My Paleo Diet Blog - October 20, AM

    [...] is what I think healthy lifestyle and like diet food list you are able to prepare-appealing with. My offer to you The paleo recipes in a single package so you will be [...]

  13. Make you Fink on Friday « Eco-Crap - October 21, AM

    [...] post worth reading from The Almighty Dad Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed How [...]

  14. Your Questions About Obesity Epidemic In Children | Healthy Silicone Valley - October 26, PM

    [...] kids healthier foods should be worth the benefit in the long run, right?Powered by Yahoo! AnswersSusan asks…Are the recent advancements in technology a main contributor to the obesity epidemic in…ents in technology a main contributor to the obesity epidemic in children ?admin answers:No, parents [...]

  15. Paleo Chicken Recipes Fruit « My Paleo Diet Blog - December 16, PM

    [...] http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=103 http://primitivestimulus.com/2011/03/attention-scale-addicts http://www.almightydad.com/fitness-nutrition/high-fructose-corn-syrup-the-facts [...]

  16. How to Kick a Soda Addiction and Lose Weight - March 10, PM

    [...] MD, bestselling author — most recently of The Blood Sugar Solution — outlines just why HFSC is even worse than cane sugar and beet sugar. Yes, it is yet another reason to kick the soda [...]

  17. englexas lifestyle and eats blog - high fructose corn syrup | englexas - April 11, PM

    [...] Here is some more information on High Fructose Corn Syrup. Pin ItRelated posts:healthy recipe links [...]

Leave a Reply