One of our Foodfacts.com Blog editors was curious this 4th of July weekend and started re-examining food products at a barbecue. The result? It was surprising just how many diverse food products continue to include High Fructose Corn Syrup as a sweetening ingredient.
As pointed out currently on Foodfacts TV, HFCS is a controversial sweetener that many folks are really trying to avoid.
Why all of the controversy?
The Mayo Clinic informs us that high-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener and preservative. High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar. The end product is a combination of fructose and glucose. Because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods.
So far, research has yielded conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. For example, various early studies showed an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages (many of which contained high-fructose corn syrup) and obesity. But recent research — some of which is supported by the beverage industry — suggests that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t intrinsically less healthy than other sweeteners, nor is it the root cause of obesity.
While research continues, moderation remains important. Many beverages and other processed foods made with high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity — which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
If you’re concerned about the amount of high-fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners in your diet, consider these tips:
* Limit processed foods.
* Avoid foods that contain added sugar.
* Choose fresh fruit rather than fruit juice or fruit-flavored drinks. Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar.
* Choose fruit canned in its own juices instead of heavy syrup.
* Drink less soda.
* Don’t allow sweetened beverages to replace milk, especially for children.