High Fructose Corn Syrup, Is it Safe?

It seems lately the media has become obsessed with HFCS, we know it’s found in everything from ketchup to microwave meals to cookies and juice, but is it safe?

The corn manufacturers would like us to believe that it is natural because it comes from corn. They claim it is equal to sugar, but as parents we seem to feel a little uneasy about the whole thing. Many parents can’t seem to put their finger on exactly what it is that makes them suspicious. So, who is right? It turns out there really are no clear cut answers.

First of all, although sugar and HFCS are both equal in calories, are both made from glucose and fructose and are metabolized in virtually the same way once consumed, to say HFCS is natural is a bit of a stretch. Natural is a term that describes food in an unprocessed state, like an ear of corn. HFCS is highly processed and would not be available without the aide of humans, of course neither would table sugar. The difference is table sugar has been around for thousands of years and HFCS has only been found in food since the 1970’s, so it may just be too soon to tell what the long term effects are.

While it would be unfair to completely blame HFCS on America’s rise in obesity and diabetes, some experts make an indirect case. Since HFCS is cheaper than sugar, it cut the cost of sweet, calorie- dense foods, which fueled our sweet tooth, causing weight gain in the process.

Finally, the FDA has ruled twice that HFCS is safe to consume, so it must be. You may want to keep in mind that the FDA considers a double bacon cheeseburger safe to consume as well, but you wouldn’t want to eat one of those at each meal.

The bottom line is that while HFCS may have the same number of calories as sugar, is made from natural ingredients and is considered safe to consume by the FDA, the responsible message should be to consume less of all sweeteners as this will likely help control your weight which we know is important for disease prevention.

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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.