The Horrible Truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup
America continues to remain in first place for the country that consumes the most sugar. The sweet stuff is not so simple, though. It’s important to understand that it’s broken down into fructose and glucose. What we know as table sugar – sucrose – is comprised of relatively equal parts of both fructose and glucose. Added sugars, on the other hand, include corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The latter being the worse of two sweet evils. HFCS is so popular because it’s sweeter and less expensive than regular sugar. It’s also found in many foods that you’d never expect to contain sugar. With the proper knowledge, you can learn how to stay healthy by learning the facts about food. Food manager certification class Pleasant Hill offers services in food safety and manager certification. If you take the time to inform yourself, creating and maintaining a proper nutrition plan is as easy as pie. (Pie we’ll replace with carrot and celery sticks, of course.)
The science of the syrup
Most starchy carbohydrates, for example, rice and pasta, break down into only glucose. This is the most basic form of carbs. Every cell in the body uses glucose, and it quickly transports throughout our bodies. It’s the main fuel source for high-intensity workouts.However, the fructose in HFCS needs to convert to fat or glycogen (stored carbohydrates) by the liver before it can be used as fuel.
When people consume it in excess, high-fructose corn syrup easily converts to fat. This factor contributes to the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in the U.S. HFCS adds incredibly high amounts of fructose to our diets; unfortunately, the human body isn’t built to digest it properly.
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HFCS health facts
A perfect example of food containing “empty” calories is high-fructose corn syrup. It certainly contains calories, just no essential nutrients. The amount of fructose we consume plays a significant role in our health. Smaller amounts from fruit are fine, but large doses from sweets and candy can overload the liver. This is fructose that converts to fat. At this stage, fructose is more likely to cause visceral fat accumulation. This type of fat surrounds our organs and is the most detrimental kind to our health.
This can lead to health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. It is a continually growing health hazard. The average 20-ounce soda contains about fifteen teaspoons of sugar. When you eat sugar in these high doses, it becomes a toxin.
Interestingly, findings from the American Medical Association show that HFCS doesn’t appear to contribute more to obesity than other sweeteners. However, it still proves that staying away from sugar is best for maintaining a healthy diet.
HFCS foods to stay away from
It’s an unfortunate fact that the food industry tends to take very healthy items and turns them into processed junk food. Let’s look at something that is seemingly good for us – yogurt. In its most natural state, yogurt is a food produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. However, many grocery stores carry flavored yogurts that contain heaps of added sugar for a sweeter taste. Instead, try buying plain yogurt and adding fresh fruit to it.
Other seemingly “healthy” foods to be cautious of are breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, salad dressings, and even bread. One particular brand, Sara Lee Heart Healthy Whole Grain Bread, seems like a perfectly healthy option for our toast at breakfast. Unfortunately, it’s guilty of containing high-fructose corn syrup. The same goes for the classic Wonderbread we all know and love – it’s just not so wonderful for our health. When in doubt, read the nutrition labels!
The better educated we are, the healthier we will become. Eliminating high-fructose corn syrup from our diets is the best thing we can do for our health.