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Sugar Rush

2010 April 13

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has been giving people quite the scare for some time now. It is a belief that the introduction of this product into our diet was the reason for increasing obesity in America; that the simple elimination of the product in our diets would make us lose that extra weight the American public has gained. Like many other Americans I believed this myth that HFCS was worse for you than the other sugars out there: honey, cane sugar, and brown sugar. But like many Americans, I was wrong. I used to read every label that I thought may have HFCS in it, and if it did I would put it back down and refrain from consuming the “evil” substance.

Just this year I have learned that HFCS is not as harmful as I thought it was. However, like other sugars, high fructose corn syrup should only be ingested in small amounts. The main reasoning for manufacturers to use HFCS as opposed to other sugars is that it is cheaper .

When choosing what food to eat, it helps to know what you are actually eating. Some foods that you wouldn’t expect to have sugar in it do, and thus it is still important to be aware of what contents you are actually eating. The best ways to go about doing this are to eat foods that are in their most natural form. This includes organic produce and excludes packaged foods. If you are choosing a food or drink item that has a variety of ingredients it may be important to read the ingredients and nutrition facts as HFCS is becoming more prevalent in foods that were once exempt of sugar additives.

The foods that many kids, and adults, find to be the most delicious are usually those foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. Kids especially are drawn to the sugary drinks and foods that are becoming more prevalent in our grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. Persuading children to eat fresher and healthier foods may be difficult, but will prove to be more beneficial for their health now and in the future. It is important to remember that high fructose corn syrup is still a type of sugar and should only be consumed in moderation.

About the author: Nicole Reising is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a sophomore studying non-profit management at Indiana University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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16 Responses leave one →
  1. Miriam permalink
    April 13, 2010

    According to a new study from Princeton University, HFCS really does act differently on our bodies than sugar. Rats fed HFCS gained a lot more weight than rats fed real sugar, even when fed the same number of calories.

  2. Larry permalink
    April 13, 2010

    Miriam is correct, and here’s a quote from an email I received on this study:

    “these rats were being fed HFCS at levels well below the equivalent of what’s in soda. And they were becoming obese. All of them. The researchers noted that when rats are fed a high-fat diet, they don’t ALL gain weight. With HFCS, obesity was practically guaranteed.”

  3. armansyahardanis permalink
    April 13, 2010

    I am glad to read your post. I hope that it can useful next time, not just there, but also here…… However, almost our kids don’t know healthy eating in their school, because limited of its knowledge about them, also their teachers, parents and infrastructure of it.

  4. John Runnette permalink
    April 13, 2010

    Interesting article on high fructose corn syrup. I understand how HFCS might not be the only culprit in American’s gaining weight, but it certainly is a culprit particularly if we consider that everything we eat breaks down into a sugar. I think we would all be alot better off if we knew exactly what we were eating and what that breakdown might be.

    John Runnette

  5. Maria permalink
    April 13, 2010

    I have made a study myself and found out that basically everything we eat, and when I say everything I mean it, has HFCS on it. I have spent about three hours to buy products when I go to the grocery store. Now I know the products and the majority of what I buy does not contains HFCS, sometimes are more expensive but it pays the price for being more healthy.

  6. Joan permalink
    April 13, 2010

    It’s really hard to change our diets when we have been conditioned since childhood to foods that are oversweetened and oversalted. To most people, fresh natural food seems bland and boring. Even artificial sweeteners keep our brains craving sweetness. Hard to change what our tastebuds crave, but we must start somewhere if we want the next generation to be healthier.

  7. Sue permalink
    April 13, 2010

    It is the SUGAR that is the problem. Fructose, sucrose, glucose, etc. are all SUGAR. Refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, food starch, etc) are converted to SUGAR by saliva, so those are also contributing to the problem. (Remember that grade-school science class where you chewed a cracker and spit it out to test for sugar??)

    The amounts of sugar & simple carbohydrates (that turn to sugar) in processed food is unbelievable. From what I’ve read, it is messing up our insulin production.

    (FYI “white sugar” in this country is not “cane” sugar. It is made from sugar beets, not sugar cane. Sugar beets are one of the few genetically modified crops in the human food chain, too.)

  8. David Mc permalink
    April 13, 2010

    Fructose may trick you into thinking you are hungrier than you should be…

    Food addiction

  9. Tina Chen permalink
    April 13, 2010

    Even though HFCS is not “evil” per se, I personally believe we should ban the use of it for consumer products. By choosing not to purchase items that includes HFCS, we are voting with our dollars and hopefully manufacturers are listening. I would personally enjoy not having to worry about checking for HFCS and/or other forms of artificial sweetners in food products.

  10. anil choubey permalink
    April 14, 2010

    be are see your message in tha mainar of suger this is a coman dicezs but maiction is very cost ley each suger paection give 5000 rs pae month menemamw h o thing in this matter ok

  11. Anna Carter permalink
    April 14, 2010

    allergies to both corn and wheat are on the rise, due probably to genetic engineering.

    Lots of people have food allergies and don’t know it until their symptoms become unbearable.

    Corn syrup and corn starch and wheat products, or the chemicals used in processing them, are making more and more people sick.

    That’s the bottom line.

  12. helanponting permalink
    July 7, 2010

    Thanks for sharing Such a nice information with us.I really like your Information Which you have provided

  13. simple and complex carbs permalink
    November 24, 2010

    I have always worried about the current situation with our foods especially our prepacked products. i make sure i cook all my own meals from fresh products and foods i use all my own ingredients .
    the truth is if it is prepacked and it tastes really good it is most probably bad for you .

  14. Rebecca permalink
    November 14, 2011

    Great post! I have also been avoiding high fructose corn syrup like the plague. But even when I avoided that one item, I still consumed a lot of other bad things. I’ll be sure to buy organic food now! I need to find some healthy food blogs to get some good recipes from. Does anyone have any recommendations they can give me?

  15. April 17, 2012

    Nice post. I be taught one thing tougher on totally different blogs everyday. It can all the time be stimulating to learn content from other writers and apply a little bit something from their store. Id desire to make use of some with the content on my weblog whether you dont mind. Natually Ill provide you with a hyperlink on your net blog. Thanks for sharing.

  16. cath permalink
    June 29, 2012

    It really scares us because of the health problems linked to it. Please read this article about fructose and learn why Dr. Mercola doesn’t want us to eat foods with fructose on it –

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