Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup (revisited)

The truth is, scientists have linked the rising HFCS consumption to the epidemics of obesity,diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS compared to regular sugar. This is why the corn industry is now scrambling to save face and profits – NOT because it’s really okay to consume an average of 59 pounds a year of this stuff.

The American Medical Association issued a statement on June 17, 2008, stating that "high-fructose syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners." However, they also recommend you limit the amount of ALL added caloric sweeteners to no more than 32 grams of sugar daily, which, by the way, comes out to just over 25.5 pounds of sugar per year.

The AMA’s recommendation is over five-and-a-half-times less than the current yearly sugar consumption of the average American – which currently weighs in around 142 pounds a year -- but is still five times higher than my own recommendation of 5 pounds of added sugar per year.

Their evaluation that HFCS is not a major contributor to obesity is puzzling, considering the fact thatthe number one source of calories in America is soda, which contains about 40 grams of HFCS per can – more than the AMA’s recommended daily maximum for ALL caloric sweeteners.

And that’s without adding in all the corn syrup now found in every type of processed, pre-packaged food you can think of. In fact, the use of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. diet increased a staggering 10,673 percent between 1970 and 2005, according to the latest USDA Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption report (whereas sucrose consumption declined by 38 percent), far exceeding changes in intake of any other food or food group.  

And what kinds of foods account for more than 90 percent of the money Americans spend on their meals? You guessed it: processed food.

All in all, according to the USDA’s report, about one-quarter of the calories consumed by the average American is in the form of added sugars – the majority of which comes from high fructose corn syrup.

Folks, this is a prescription for disaster.

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