High Fructose Corn Syrup – Worse Than Sugar?

You don’t have to be interested in any aspect of nutrition to quickly discover that there are an incredible number of views on just about every topic. Views that range from one extreme to another. Will we ever know who is truly correct? Most likely not. Personally I tend to think that the actual truth can be found in the middle of all the extreme views.

If the above makes no sense allow me to offer an example….high fructose corn syrup.

Those who are favor of high fructose corn syrup claim it is a natural sugar extracted from corn and is no more harmful then regular sugar. The manufacturing process uses an enzyme to convert the glucose in corn into fructose so making it doesn’t involve horrible chemicals or some type of terrible process. It’s a cost effective sweetener with a long shelf life which helps to keep food prices low.

Those who are not in favor of it claim that it’s an unnatural, chemically altered product that should be avoided at all cost. It causes a wide range of health problems including heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Naturally occuring sugars are the only way to go when it comes to sweeteners.

Both sides will do anything possible to discredit the other. In the end the truth is most likely in the middle. I’m not advocating high fructose corn syrup. Nor am I saying that ONLY naturals sugars are the best. Here’s the facts as I see them:

– People eat too much sugar. Period. Sugar, no matter what form it comes in, offers NO nutritional value. Even natural forms of sugar such as honey, molasses or maple syrup have such minor nutritional benefits that it does not really matter.

– Sugar and other sweeteners are a source of calories no matter which form it’s found in….graunlated sugar, raw cane sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses, etc. Calories are calories and too much of any one isn’t good for you.

– Sugars of all types can be found in a huge number of products from the ones you would expect (cookies, candy and other sweet treats) to the ones you least suspect (bread, salad dressings and even vegetables). If you find some form of sugar in a product that you wouldn’t normally expect to find it then that product is most likely high processed.

With that being said there is some information out there indicating that high fructose corn syrup is broken down in the body in a different way then other types of sugars. This is probably one of the better video’s that I’ve seen explaining how high fructose corn syrup is used in the body. It explain it in terms easy enough for most people to understand. It’s a bit on the long side but well worth the time to watch it. There was a shorter version previously available on YouTube but I see they have taken it down.

Do I personally avoid HFCS at all costs? Do I read labels so I can avoid it?

Since I think that too much sugar is bad for you to begin with I try to avoid products which would normally contain them such as processed, packaged or premade foods. We also pass on drinking soda or sugary drinks. Doing this means we already avoid eating HFCS which are found in these types of products. In a way we avoid it but it’s because we avoid the foods they are found in. HFCS being listed on a food label is a good sign that it’s processed and should probably be avoided.

Just eat real food. Then you won’t have to make yourself crazy about high fructose corn syrup. It’s that easy.

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