Despite recent marketing efforts to make high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) seem less harmful to our health, the truth remains that it simply isn’t good for our bodies. HFCS is created by way of a chemical enzymatic process that increases its fructose content, and—as you may have guessed—this is not a good thing. In fact, countless studies point to the dangers of a diet high in HFCS and why you should avoid it.
Let’s Talk Liver Health
Due to the extra fructose, HFCS is absorbed more quickly into your body—and that fructose travels directly to the liver, where it contributes to fat deposits and triggers a number of metabolic imbalances such as increased triglycerides and impaired insulin sensitivity. Not surprisingly, several studies have linked too much HFCS in the diet to obesity and a higher risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The Heart of the Matter
Can too much HFCS increase your risk of heart disease? Yes, say scientists from the University of California, Davis. In a recent study involving more than 80 adults between the ages of 18 and 40, Dr. Kimber Stanhope and her team were able to determine that regularly consuming beverages sweetened with HFCS—even at low levels—contributes to heart disease risk factors and over time may increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
The more we learn about HFCS (and sugar in all its forms), the more health experts urge us to eliminate it from our diet. Just last year the World Health Organization revised its recommendations to say that our daily sugar intake should amount to only 5% of our total calories—half of what they recommended previously. That’s about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily. The problem? Most of the time we don’t even realize we’re eating it.
So much of the food in our Standard American Diet (SAD) contains high-fructose corn syrup. And it isn’t just found in sugary sodas, candy, and snacks, but in unexpected places such as bread, cereal, protein bars, yogurt, and even pasta sauce! Your best bet? Always read the Supplement Facts labels to see how much sugar is in the products you buy. The closer it is to the top of the ingredients list, the more sugar a food is going to have.