Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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!