Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"They Actually Eat That:" High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

Health news online makes everything sound bad for you. Hell, even eating soy decreases fertility. Going to the supermarket is quickly becoming "pick your poison." The amount of bitching derived from your choices is entirely dependent on which poison you pick, even though 90% of the things one can possibly buy are horrible for you.

For example, all non-white sugar sweeteners are manufactured, unknown white stuff that you put in your coffee. They are not in the least bit natural. Even refined white sugar comes from bone char, which itself sounds like something out of a horror flick. We in America are sugar addicts, so no matter how bad the price, we will look into alternative sources of sugar. (Note: this will not be the last that you see of fake sugars.) 

That brings us to the biggest, baddest not-quite-sugar source of them all: High-fructose corn syrup.


High-fructose corn syrup is in everything. Sodas, snack foods, and cereals are very likely to have HFCS. Ice cream bars, including some WeightWatchers varieties, have HFCS in there eight times out of ten. Even things that do not need HFCS have HFCS. It's silly how common it is, and its sheer abundance has people worried.

The exact level of danger HFCS presents is up for debate. The theory that has people's knickers in a twist says that, as with several other fake sugars, HFCS is not processed normally by the body. It (theoretically) increases appetite and converts into fat faster. Actual research results range from "just as bad as normal sugar" to "the government adds mercury every few milliliters." Both sides have research to back up their claims, although research by the corn farmers is certainly slanted.


What all nutritionists will agree on is that the sheer amount of this pseudo-sugar adds a million unnecessary calories. That alone makes it a threat. The real trick here is that HFCS, along with several other science-y names, are really just codewords for sugar. If it ends in "-ose," it's a sugar. If one of those words is at the top of the ingredient list on something you were hoping to purchase, run like hell.

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