High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a highly processed sweetener that has replaced sugar as the sweetener of choice in many beverages and foods such as breads, soft drinks, yogurt, cookies, salad dressings and ketchup. Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens often consume much more than that. According to one study, the average American consumes nearly 70 pounds of HFCS a year, marking HFCS as a major contributor to the rising rates of obesity in the last generation.
Many studies show that HFCS should be avoided, but if you buy your groceries at a conventional supermarket, that’s nearly impossible. It’s EVERYWHERE. Manufacturers of processed foods prefer HFCS over sugar because it is somewhat cheaper, and also because it is easier to blend and transport because it is a liquid.
HFCS has been linked to obesity and to insulin resistance; Some say the body can’r process HFCS as efficiently as it does other sugars; soft drinks sweetened with HFCS are up to 10 times richer in harmful carbonyl compounds than a diet soft drink control. A recent study found that HFCS contains Mercury.
HFCS will very likely be banned at some future point, but right now, it is still everywhere. You need to read labels very carefully, try to buy organic when possible, and if you can’t buy organic, try to find a brand that uses sugar instead of HFCS. During a recent trip to the grocery store, it took me almost 15 minutes to find a bread that didn’t contain HFCS, but eventually I did.
Photo credit: lucianvenutian
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