High Fructose Corn Syrup – A New Epidemic
High fructose corn syrup is a blend of glucose and fructose, and is significantly cheaper than table sugar, making it very attractive to the food industry for its use as a sweetener. It’s found in very poor quality foods that are nutritionally void and filled with other disease promoting fats, salt, and chemicals, such as prepackaged dinners and foods we pull right off the shelf at the grocery store. The scary thing is that we are consuming high fructose corn syrup and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history: 140 pounds a year per person versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago!
What happens when one consumes high fructose corn syrup?
- Insulin spikes
- Production of triglycerides and cholesterol is triggered
- Toxic gut bacteria enter your blood stream and trigger inflammation
These rapidly absorbing sugars enter the bloodstream and go straight to the liver, causing damage and “fatty liver” conditions which affect 70 million people in this country alone.The glucose that is absorbed and causes the insulin spike leads to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and even more. With childhood obesity rates more than doubling in children and quadrupling in adolescents in the past 30 years, it’s hard not to overlook the consequences of a diet that contains high fructose corn syrup in many of the foods that we consume.
What about the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on the brain?
HFCS depletes the body of the natural mineral zinc which is responsible for cleansing the body of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, as well as aluminum and other toxins that are known to disrupt proper brain development.
Not only does it deplete the body of minerals that help detox the body, but research has revealed that high-fructose corn syrup is contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury. Studies published in Environmental Health and The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found detectable levels of mercury in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient.
Mercury and its compounds affect the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver and can disturb immune processes. It is known to cause tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia and emotional instability;not to mention all of the neurological, behavioral, and developmental damage it can cause on a fetus. Mercury is one of the most toxic heavy metals out there and is used in items such as thermometers, barometers and fluorescent lights. What powers the lights in your grocery store is also showing up in foods containing high-fructose corn syrup – another scary thing to think about as you read the ingredients list on some of the food boxes.
Glutaraldehyde is another toxic chemical that is used to turn corn into corn starch and then to high fructose corn syrup. This toxic chemical kills living cells and is used in industrial water treatment systems and to sterilize medical equipment.It’s also a well-known embalming chemical that is toxic to the human body and causes eye, nose, throat and lung irritation including asthma, sneezing, wheezing, and burning eyes in only short exposures. It can also cause drowsiness, dizziness and headaches and in very high doses, vascular collapse and comas can occur. Through repeated exposure, our bodies can become allergic and highly sensitized to it – another warning sign from our very beings telling us to lay off the HFCS!
Neurodevelopment can also be adversely impacted when gene expression is altered by dietary factors such as zinc insufficiency/deficiency, or by exposure to toxic substances found in our environment like mercury or organophosphate pesticides. What does this mean? Gene expression, simply put, is what “reads” your DNA – if you have healthy DNA, your genes (part of your genetic code and what makes you, you) can read it no problem. However, if your DNA is damaged through some outside means, such as with mercury poisoning or long-term exposure to other chemicals through ingestion or inhalation, your genes can’t read your DNA properly and things begin to go haywire.
The number of children ages 6 to 21 in the United States receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91% between 2005 to 2010. A study published in Clinical Epigeneticsrevealed that both the standard American diet and various toxic environmental factors play a definitive and synergistic role in the development of autism.
So how does one avoid high fructose corn syrup?
If high fructose corn syrup is found on a label, then you can infer that the item is very poor quality. To avoid eating high fructose corn syrup, try eating vegetables and fruits that are fresh or frozen. Stay away from processed foods that are most likely found within the aisles of your local grocery store. If you limit your shopping to the perimeter of the store you are most likely shopping where the fresh ingredients are located. Produce is usually found on either end of the supermarket, or you can visit local produce-only stores where your odds of finding products with high fructose corn syrup are astronomically lower.
Nutritionally void foods can lead to many deficiencies and toxicities, which may cause disease and inflammation. It is easy to detect vitamin and mineral status with comprehensive testing. By testing a blood panel to determine where your diet is void of vitamins and minerals, you can quickly make changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits to optimize your level of health. By discovering what vitamins and minerals you need to supplement with, you can live a life towards optimal health.
For more information on the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and for a full nutritional evaluation, give us a call! Nutrition is one of our specialties and we can get you back on the right track for optimal health and a better lifestyle.