Friday, September 24, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup: so Sweet yet Unsatisfying

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High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the most common caloric (has calories) added sweetener used on the market today.

Added sweeteners are exactly what the name says. They are not naturally found in foods and add calories.

HFCS's appearance has increased in foods and drinks for the following reasons:
  1. It is cheap to make 
  2. It is more sweet than sucrose (table sugar) so less is needed to get the same level of sweetness. 
  3. It is easily accessible year round whereas the sucrose is seasonal.

Why HFCS may contribute to obesity...
One reason why HFCS is thought to contribute to obesity is that it is less satisfying than sugar and causes people to consume more. According to the book, You on a Diet, “Fructose in high fructose corn syrup isn’t seen by your brain as a regular food.” In other words, its believed that our bodies handle sucrose (table sugar) differently than fructose.

Furthermore, most HFCS is found in drinks. Our bodies do not account for calories from drinks like they do from solid foods; Drinks do not help us feel full. People do not adjust their diet accordingly, which would involve eating less solid foods to make up for the calories consumed through drinks.
Finally, the above factors compounded with HFCS's increased appearance in our food supply may be the cause for our obesity.

  • An article in the John Hopkins White Papers states “From 1970 to 1990, consumption of HFCS rose by more than 1000%.  The rise in obesity “mirrored” the rise in HFCS. ”

  • “HFCS now accounts for 40% of all calorie-containing added sweeteners used in the United States, and about two thirds is consumed in beverages.” 

  • It’s used in baking ingredients, beverages, breads, cereals, candy, condiments, cookies and even some meats (Hopkins, Kate). 

  • “Americans have gone from eating no pounds of high fructose corn syrup per person in 1960 to eating more than 63 pounds of it every year, that’s 128,000 calories.” (you on a diet, 47). 

HFCS it is affecting our society's future. Most of the foods that children eat have high fructose corn syrup in them such as juices and sugary snacks. 

More contributing factors...
HFCS is not alone to blame for America's obesity epidemic. Increased portion sizes at restaurants, increased access to food (grocery stores) and convenience items, in addition to a decline in physical activity with the dawn of the electronic age have contributed to weight gain.

In Summary:
The World Health Organization recommends that we limit our intake of added sugars (whether they be sucrose or fructose) to no more than 10% of our daily calories, which amounts to one 16.9 ounce bottle of soda.

Sorry that I can not provide you with a definite yes/ no to HFCS.

I can provide 2 views...
  1. Stick to what is natural
  2. All things in moderation

Side note...weight management is as easy as calories in = calories out.
...Our lifestyles complicate us from applying this basic principle.

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