We can all agree that limiting the daily amount of sugar ingested on a daily basis will do a body good in the long haul. There are so many different names for sugar, that they all become clumped together and seen as bad in the big picture, but does the body process them differently? High Fructose Corn Syrup otherwise known as (HFCS) is cheap, mixes well with ingredients found in processed foods, and has a long shelf life. All of these qualities match up perfectly with processed foods found at the grocery store, and convenient stores worldwide. While there has not been extensive evidence found that High Fructose Corn Syrup processes anymore rapidly than regular table sugar, it still has a negative effect on your blood sugar and waistline.
The Background On High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is a sweetener that is made from corn, and there are two different types you normally find in the grocery stores:
- HFCS-42 which is essentially 42% fructose, and 58% glucose.
- HFCS-55 which is essentially 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
To give an example of what this can equate to, table sugar is composed of sucrose and glucose in even parts so the high fructose portion is taking the place of sucrose. The body does not digest these sugars any differently as they are both pretty much straight table sugar.
The only real difference with table sugar and HFCS is the way the body breaks down the sugars. With table sugar the body has to digest both the fructose and glucose before it can absorb into the body. With High Fructose Corn Syrup both fructose and glucose are mixed together therefore the body does not need to digest the sugars before the body’s insulin is affected. All in all both table sugar and HFCS have the same effect on the body.
Cost and Economy
There is definitely a negative connotation around HFCS, as many believe it is directly related to the obesity epidemic around our nation. While this could be true, the cost of the syrup is extremely cheap compared to other products due to the government’s corn subsidies. This makes perfect sense why it takes the place of other sweeteners in your day-to-day processed food items at the grocery store.
According to the Iowa Corn Community, there is a significant impact that HFCS leaves on their economy.
- 2,600 jobs that the corn refining industry currently employs with potential for more jobs to be created
- $170 million in salaries from these jobs – which are considered to be high paying
- $1.9 billion worth of value is added to the 163 million bushels of Iowa corn used to make HFCS.
Back To Our Health
While it is great that such a product produces jobs to local Americans, is it all that beneficial for our health? The answer sadly is no, as too much sweet may lead to long-term health effects down the road. This goes for any sweetener, not just HFCS. Be mindful of your serving sizes, as the daily recommended limit for sugar is:
- Children: 3-4 teaspoons per day (12 grams)
- Adult Women/Teens: No more than 5 teaspoons a day (20 grams)
- Adult Men/ Teens: No more than 8-9 teaspoons a day (36 grams)
Just how much is a teaspoon of sugar, since we are constantly reminded in “grams” how much sugar is in our food? One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar.
Sadly, with many foods in our diets containing well over the daily limit we are setting ourselves up for daily sugar overdoses. It has been said that sugar is more addicting than powerful drugs such as cocaine, so limiting your consumption of it will also limit your want more for more than you need. This can come in the form of HFCS, table sugar, and other sweeteners not mentioned in this article. Many people consume well over 30 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is way over the limit. With our food options today, it is easy to do so:
A Starter List to Foods That Contain High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Breakfast Cereals
- Most drinks that are not water
- Baking and Cooking Ingredients
- Cookies and Cakes
- Cough Syrups
- Ice Creams
- Jams, Jellies, Syrups
- Salad Dressing
While this list is relatively condensed, as you can see there is High Fructose Corn syrup in a large majority of our everyday foods. This obviously excludes many other artificial and modified sweeteners in foods that are not on this list. It is always important to be conscious of your sugar intake for yourself, and your family to avoid long term health issues such as diabetes, cancer, and weight gain. With the way the food monstrosities markets sugary foods to us around each corner, be aware of your daily limits and gravitate toward more wholesome foods that can’t be placed on a shelf for weeks at a time!