If you take a few minutes to analyze the list of ingredients on food in your home, you’ll surely notice one thing: many of your food products contain high fructose corn syrup. There has been a lot of controversy regarding this widely-used ingredient, and it’s important that you fully understand the cons of high fructose corn syrup, particularly since it is so common.
High fructose corn syrup is used as a sweetener in many different products. However, it’s important to note that the chemical make-up of high fructose corn syrup is different than that of table sugar. While these two substances are similar, they are not identical. The major difference is that in corn syrup, glucose and fructose are not chemically linked, while they are in table sugar. Because of this, corn syrup has a different effect on the human body than table sugar.
A study conducted at Princeton University in 2010 showed that the long-term consumption of high fructose corn syrup can lead to a rise in cholesterol as well as an increase in body fat, especially in the abdomen area. During one of the studies, one set of rats was given water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup while another set was given water sweetened with common table sugar. The results were staggering. The corn syrup group gained much more weight than the sugar rats. In another study, one group of rats was given a diet high in high fructose corn syrup while another group was given typical rat food. The corn syrup group gained 48% more weight over six months than their counterparts. Those rats that consumed a corn syrup diet also developed increased levels of triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease and increased cholesterol.
A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 echoed the above claims, proving that high fructose corn syrup increased the chance of obesity. However, an increased likelihood of obesity isn’t the only dangerous thing about high fructose corn syrup. A study published in Environmental Health in 2009 showed that there was mercury contamination in a wide range of samples of high fructose corn syrup. Mercury is a toxic element that can lead to nerve and brain damage.
Therefore, think twice before you write off high fructose corn syrup as a harmless ingredient. It has a negative effect on the human body, and—even scarier—the probability is high that it contains a toxic heavy metal, mercury.