Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Danger of HFCS

Last week I commented on how high fructose corn syrup (or HFCS for all of you abbreviation afficionados) was a topic in and of itself, so I figured I would tackle it briefly this week.

So, HFCS is a sweetener.  The main component of HFCS is fructose which is a naturally occurring sugar, typically in something like corn.  However, nothing in nature comes with high fructose corn syrup.  That means that it needs to be made in a laboratory somewhere.  And, we all should know that if something needs to be made in a lab, it's generally not good for you.

The problem with the process of making HFCS is that you need to use different chemicals to extract the fructose from the corn and concentrate it to become high fructose corn syrup.  One of those chemicals that is used is (wait for it) Mercury!  Yep, the toxic metal that is liquid at room temperature and is being taken out of vaccines because it's so toxic.  There was a study recently published in the Environmental Health Journal in 2009 showing that mercury is found to be more than elevated (in some cases more than 10 times greater than a serving of some fish) in some batches of HFCS, even "organic" HFCS.

But it's not all that bad since HFCS comes from corn and corn is all natural like the commercials say.  Right?  Typically, the corn that is mass produced for uses like HFCS or corn starch or other corn products comes from a Genetically Modified version of corn.  In these cases, the corn has typically had its DNA changed to incorporate pesticides and other toxic chemicals.  That means that it doesn't matter how much you wash it, the toxic chemicals won't come off, the chemicals are in their genes.  There's a very eye-opening documentary about that the genetic modification of food, specifically corn, titled "The Future of Food", which goes into much more depth than I can (it can currently be seen for free on Hulu.com here http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food). 

Just some things to keep in mind next time you go to the grocery store.  And just so you know, HFCS is a lot more prevalent than you might think, so read your labels.

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