Fructose

We’ve talked about high fructose corn syrup many times here at Biofortified. There’s a lot of subjects to be considered, including whether we should be growing so much corn in the first place. The biggest concern about HFCS, though, judging by popular magazines and websites, is health. People are worried that corn syrup is worse for us than other sugar sources, which has resulted in the latest marketing scheme of switching corn syrup for other sugars so products can be labeled “HFCS Free”.

Does changing the sugar actually make the product healthier? Unfortunately, no. Because HFCS is sweeter than cane or beet sugar, more calories of sugar have to be added to achieve the same level of sweetness. The only thing that would make a product healthier is to reduce overall sugar content. This is especially true because cane and beet sugar as well as other caloric sweeteners all contain fructose, which has been correlated with or directly connected with a variety of health problems.

Over at Science-Based Medicine, Dr. Jim Laidler (an accomplished physician turned researcher) has written High Fructose Corn Syrup: Tasty Toxin or Slandered Sweetener? It’s a very informative post, one that anyone with concerns about HFCS should read and share! He concludes that fructose is something to be concerned about, but that’s only part of the story:

For people who are worried about their health or their children’s health — and who isn’t, these days — the data suggest that the best choice is to reduce intake of all sweeteners containing fructose. That includes not only the evil HFCS, but also natural cane sugar, molasses (which is just impure cane sugar), brown sugar (ditto) and honey. Even “unsweetened” (no added sugar) fruit juices need to be considered when limiting your family’s fructose intake.

Finally, the best nutritional advice is to eat everything in moderation — and that includes sweets. While a diet high in fructose may increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease — maybe — a fructose-free diet is not guaranteed toprevent those diseases. Eat a variety of foods, including a small amount of sweets, get enough exercise, watch your (and your children’s) weight and see your doctor for regular health check-ups.

And stop worrying that HFCS is poisoning you and your children.

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