The Not-So-Sweet Reality: High Fructose Corn Syrup Health Dangers


HFCSNew York state assemblywoman Barbara Clark has proposed a bill that would immediately place a ban on the use or sale of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) if passed. This public health initiative seeks to prevent the harmful effects caused by the consumption of high fructose corn syrup, including insulin resistance, obesity, liver disease, as well as an alteration of normal appetite.

High fructose corn syrup is commonly used as sugar substitute in almost all processed foods. It is frequently found in soda, cookies, bread, yogurt, salad dressing, soups and countless other products. And because of its harmful affects on the body, it is often described as a toxic chemical ingredient. HFCS is produced from corn, turned into cornstarch, then made into corn syrup and ultimately ends up in many products as fructose.

I’ve talked many times about the digestive implications of fructose malabsorption and high fructose corn syrup health dangers.

HFCS takes shape in the following forms:

  • In soft drinks high fructose corn syrup consists of 55% fructose and 42% glucose.
  • Many food products and baked goods contain 42% fructose and 58% glucose.

What does this all mean to us as consumers? And how can it be avoided?

  • First things first, try to limit your consumption of high-processed foods, with the end-goal of complete removal from your  dietary intake.  FYI packaged foods are all those perfectly displayed food items lining isle after isle in the grocery store.  Processed foods create spikes in your blood sugar levels making you hungry much more often (1).
  • Be wary of television advertisements claiming that a product is “all natural” most are of them actually aren’t. (P.S., thankfully the FDA is in the processes of cracking down on false health claims)
  • Always check nutrition labels for high fructose corn syrup listed under ingredients, and be cautious of words on the list you’ve never heard of or can’t even pronounce, often times they are artificial sugars or harmful chemicals.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth and your daily vitamin requirements with naturally sweetened fresh fruits and vegetables

Want to know more about Fructose Metabolism?  Watch the video below of Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., USFC explaining the toxicity of HFCS:

Dr. Robert H. Lustig M.D., UCSF Fructose Metabolism

1) Halsted. Perspectives on obesity and sweeteners, folic acid fortification and vitamin D requirements. Fam Pract (2008) vol. 25

In Health,

Stella Metsovas B.S., CCN