Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What can High Fructose Corn Syrup can do to you?

When I first saw television commercials telling us that it is okay to intake corn syrup in moderation, I got worried. In my opinion, it sounds like a confirmation of high fructose corn syrup can really be bad for you. Today I decided to do some research on the topic.

First, I learned that even though the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) seem very damaging, we are eating a lot of it any way. Apparently, the average American eats an astounding 41.5 lbs of high fructose corn syrup per year. I found this information alarming! The consumption of HFCS has been linked to high levels of bad cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolism conditions. It is metabolized to fat in your body much faster than any other sugar. There are also other concerns related to how HFCS is processed. Most of the corn that the high fructose corn syrup is made from comes from genetically modified corn and that alone may cause negative effects.

Despite of all these facts, HFCS is commonly found in baked goods, breakfast pastries, breakfast cereals, cookies, canned food, cough syrup, processed meats (i.e.: sausage, ham)  and condiments (i.e.: salad dressings, ketchup). Above all, many of the soft drinks available in the market contain high fructose corn syrup. Perhaps you are wondering why high fructose corn syrup is added to foods and beverages if it seems to be so unhealthy.

The explanation is simple, it is cost effective. Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from table sugar to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that HFCS was not only cheaper to make, it was also much sweeter. Processed HFCS is almost 20 times sweeter than table sugar. 

If you want to reduce or eliminate HFCS from your diet, I suggest you consider taking the following steps:

  • Avoid fast food
  • Read food labels (it is the best way to find out if there is high fructose corn syrup in your food.)
  • Understand what "natural" or "organic" may mean on labels (foods and beverages can be labeled as natural even though they contain high fructose corn syrup. Only foods labeled as 100% organic can be assumed to be HFCS-free.)
  • Avoid canned or bottled beverages (or switch to small bottlers who use pure sugar cane instead of high fructose corn syrup.)
  • Buy fresh produce
  • Avoid processed food as much as possible (try to find easy and healthy recipes that you can prepare even if you have a hectic schedule)


  1. Thanks so much for this post, Ana. It was an eye-opener for me, and explains why I may have high cholesterol even though I am a normal weight, work out, and try to eat a low-fat diet. Your suggestions are appreciated, so I'll definitely try to avoid processed foods, and store-bought cereals, and instead focus on eating fresh produce, etc.

  2. Food is my passion too! I live to eat!

    Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Love your blog.

  3. Great post is always good to know about our diets. I specially worry about my husband because I know he already has high blood pressure

  4. Very interesting! Just followed your blog! Recently updated our blog:



  5. Valid points. I have been looking into this matter as well. Just last night friends and I had a conversation about this... :D

  6. I am glad you all find this information useful. It would be much healthier corn syrup was not added to so many food items.

  7. I fell in love with coca cola when I visited Europe for the first time, only to find out when I got home that it's because they make it with real sugar.
    Look for it with yellow caps (it's kosher, so they're in grocery stores close to passover and at kosher grocers all year 'round) and it's not made with HFCS! YAY!