Tuesday, March 15, 2011
High Fructose Corn Syrup
More research is needed to determine whether or not there is an association between HFCS and other chronic diseases. Currently, the main concern seems to be the effect that excess fructose consumption may have on the body. Although HFCS does contain fructose, its chemical composition is similar to sucrose (table sugar) and it is metabolized by the body the same way.
Many United States farmers produce subsidized (government funded) crops such as wheat, soybean, and/or corn. At least in part due to the subsidies, foods that contain HFCS such as prepackaged and processed foods are available at low cost. Since price is often a deciding factor when shopping, especially for those with limited resources, the lower cost of foods that contain HFCS may result in purchasing more highly processed, low nutrient-dense foods. Some health advocates suggest that limiting the incentives for producing corn used to make HFCS might increase the production of other crops such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, which would make them more available and perhaps more affordable.
The important message that should be conveyed to consumers is that the source of the added sugar should not be the main concern. It doesn't matter if the sugar comes from sucrose, honey, or HFCS. Instead consumers should watch their total calories and work on making sure they don't exceed their recommendations. HFCS along with other sweeteners should be consumed in moderation to avoid weight gain and the associated health problems.