High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has seen it’s share if controversy, and many people like myself have endeavored to keep it out of our family’s diet. Yes, there are products in my home that contain HFCS, but they are the exception rather than the norm. I have thrown out products for having HFCS to high on the ingredient list.
In response to the public’s growing concerns, the industry started an aggressive campaign to clean up the image of HFCS. As many of you already know, this campaign is called Sweet Surprise. The goal of the Sweet Surprise PR campaign is to convince consumers that HFCS is just the same as table sugar, and that it is safe for you and your children.
This PR campaign is now targeting mom bloggers, to spread their pro-HFCS propaganda. This concerns me. While many home and family bloggers are quite savvy, and won’t simply accept studies presented from a biased perspective, others will assume that if there is scientific research backing the industry’s claims, they must have a legitimate message.
I am not debunking every study they quote, or claiming that HFCS is equivalent to poison, but there are several reasons why I avoid this sweetener in my own home. You will of course make your own decision whether this product is acceptable for your family, but I feel sharing with you, the reasons my own family avoids this ingredient is important. If you want the industry’s side of the story visit sweetsurprise.com.
HFCS – Obesity Connection
Earlier this year, researchers at Princeton published the results of a study comparing the effects of the consumption of HFCS vs. common table sugar. It was found that rats who consumed high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those imbibing in table sugar. Although their overall caloric intake was the same, the HFCS eating rats got fatter. Perhaps, today’s kids are not fat just because they love TV and video games.
Here is a link to a Princeton University news article discussing this research.
The HFCS – Mercury Question
According to a study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), when tested 17 out of 55 products with HFCS, as one of their 2 primary ingredients, contained traceable levels of mercury. The tests were done on products gathered at one point in time, with one product sample for each, so this “snapshot” may not reflect the actual percentage of products which contain traceable levels of mercury. The study also did not ascertain the form of mercury present. Some forms, are more dangerous to humans than others. Yet, the study does show that some form of mercury is present, in at least some of these foods, as leftovers from the production process.
If you would like to read more about mercury and HFCS, this WebMD article discusses the study, and includes responses from manufacturers.
Cancer Cells Love HFCS
Doctor’s from UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, released some disturbing findings about a month ago. The researchers found that Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate. Cells did not utilize glucose in the same manner. While the cancer cells thrived in glucose, they did not multiply with the speed of those fed fructose.
Here is a Reuters newswire article covering the reports release.
In my opinion, no matter how much the industry tries to “sugar coat” high fructose corn syrup, there is ample reason to avoid this artificial sweetener.