High Fructose Corn Syrup Dangers

It isn’t just artificial sugars or plain sugar that need to be avoided for optimal health. Research shows that high fructose corn syrup may be problematic as well.

High fructose corn syrup is a high glycemic sweetener and one to be avoided. It is not the same product as plain fructose. High fructose corn syrup is made of a combination of about half glucose and half fructose. Unlike fructose alone, it acts like table sugar (sucrose) in your body.

In a recent issue of Environmental Health, researchers testing samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found that nearly half contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

SOURCE: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, news release, Jan. 26, 2009

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