ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
CANCER
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
CAREGIVING
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Maximize Your Run
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Add your Article

The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate

Are you confused about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – What it is and is it really bad for you? With the recent ad campaign by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), many consumers are trying to separate truth from fiction. Two of the television commercials make claims that HFCS is "made from corn, doesn’t have artificial ingredients, has the same calories as sugar and honey, and like sugar, is fine in moderation". There are some elements of truth to these claims. BUT, as presented, the information is misleading and lures consumers to think that there is nothing wrong with HFCS. This supports the consumption of processed foods (containing HFCS), which is strongly linked to the increasing rates of diabetes and obesity in America.

Starting with the basics... Table sugar, the common white stuff, is derived from sugarcane and sugar beets. It is sucrose, which is comprised of equal parts of glucose and fructose (50% each). Many people assume that HFCS is mostly fructose – the sugar naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and honey. This is actually NOT the case. The two types of HFCS are 42-HFCS and 55-HFCS. Basically, both varieties are almost half glucose and half fructose, like table sugar. However, the glucose and fructose in table sugar are chemically bonded but once digested, are broken apart. In HFCS, the glucose and fructose are not bonded and can be thought of as "free sugars". Biochemically, your body cannot tell the difference, and this is why many 'experts' consider table sugar and HFCS to be nutritionally equal and how they each have the same number of calories. But that doesn't mean HFCS is the same thing as table sugar.

Although it is initially made from corn, HFCS is NOT a naturally occurring substance. It is produced by a processing procedure that breaks cornstarch down into glucose. Then some of that is converted into fructose. A synthetic fixing agent fixes the enzymes that are then packed into a column, and the sugar slurry is passed over that column to make the HCFS. Since the synthetic fixing agent does not actually come into contact with the final product, it is not considered to be included or added. The descriptor of HFCS as "natural" basically depends on whose definition you are using. On July 8, 2008 the FDA made a statement in a letter that "high-fructose corn syrup may be labeled natural when synthetic fixing agents do not come into contact with it during manufacturing". It is this definition that allows the CRA to make the claim that HFCS is "natural" and thus does not have artificial ingredients.

HFCS is in most of the processed foods that Americans consume. It is a known fact that rates of diabetes and obesity continue to rise at an alarming rate, and current research has clearly established a link between processed foods and increased risks for these diseases. As an example, data from the Harvard University Nurses' Health Study correlates the consumption of sweetened drinks with raising the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in women. While it is prudent to advocate moderate consumption of HFCS-containing foods and drinks, the CRA does not provide specific guidelines for using in moderation.

In the end, to say HFCS is no different than other natural, artificial, or chemical sweeteners will continue to be debated so long as the FDA's 'definition' remains the same. HFCS is not a whole food like corn, is produced using artificial ingredients, has a different chemical arrangement than table sugar, and has no specific guidelines around moderate use. The CRA's campaign to paint a more positive picture of HFCS essentially encourages the typical American diet – one that is overloaded with processed foods. This is one of the major factors contributing to the diabetes and obesity epidemic. The sheer number of products on our supermarket shelves that contain HFCS makes it almost inevitable. So, please: read labels. Be an informed consumer. And if you decide for yourself and for your family that you’d rather not include HFCS as part of your diet, choose to purchase foods and beverages that do not contain it. Your body (and your family) will thank you for it!