High-fructose corn syrup: Why is it so bad for me?
I've been hearing lots of bad things about high-fructose corn syrup in foods. What is it?
High-fructose corn syrup is a sweetener and preservative used in many processed foods. It is made by changing the sugar in cornstarch to fructose - another form of sugar.
High-fructose corn syrup extends the shelf life of foods and is sweeter and cheaper than sugar. For these reasons, it has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods. Check your food labels. You may be surprised by how many foods contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Some nutrition experts blame increased consumption of high-fructose corn syrup for the growing obesity problem. One theory is that fructose is more readily converted to fat by your liver than is sucrose, increasing the levels of fat in your bloodstream. But this hasn't been proved.
In addition, animal studies have shown a link between increased consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and adverse health effects, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. However, the evidence is not as clear in human studies.
Despite the lack of clarity in research, the fact remains that Americans consume large quantities of high-fructose corn syrup in the form of soft drinks, fruit-flavored beverages and other processed foods. These types of foods are often high in calories and low in nutritional value. This fact alone is reason to be cautious about foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.
To reduce high-fructose corn syrup in your diet, read food labels. Avoid or limit foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup. Some other easy tips for cutting back on high-fructose corn syrup include:
* Buy 100 percent fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks.
* Choose fresh fruit instead of fruit juices. Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar.
* Choose fruit canned in its own juices instead of heavy syrup.
* Cut back on soda.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Apr 5, 2007
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