Wednesday, January 28, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Well I am still working on the milk and dairy post but I just saw this info and felt compelled to post about it.

You know the recent series of commercials that make claims that High Fructose Corn Syrup is "all-natural, made from corn, has the same calories as sugar, and is fine in moderation"? Well I was shocked to see those commercials putting bald-faced lies out there and making fun of parents who try to avoid giving that stuff to their kids... but now recent reports are revealing the ugly secret that HFCS is often contaminated with mercury! Yes, the same mercury that can cause autism, the same mercury that is in the fish they tell pregnant and nursing women to avoid eating, yes, the same mercury they swear is not in our vaccines anymore (that's a story for another day)!

There are two reports I am linking to, but I'll give you the juicy bits:

First, a research article published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health, "Mercury from chlor-alkali plants : measured concentrations in food product sugar" by Dufault, et. al. Article URL

This study tested HFCS from three different manufacturers, and found detectable mercury levels in 9 out of 20 samples. Most of the samples testing positive came from only two of the three manufacturers. Based on their findings, they made this analysis: "With the reported average daily consumption of 49.8 g HFCS per person, however, and our finding of mercury in the range of 0.00 to 0.570 µg mercury/g HFCS, we can estimate that the potential average daily total mercury exposure from HFCS could range from zero to 28.4 µg mercury." Since "prenatal exposure as low as 10 mg/kg methylmercury, as measured in maternal hair growing during pregnancy, may adversely affect the development of the fetal brain," it is clear that HFCS may be a very serious source of potential mercury exposure.

The second article is from The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, also published this month: "Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup" By Wallinga, et. al.

This group gives further background information on the problem, and undertook their own independent testing of 55 brand name food products that list HFCS as the first or second ingredient. They found detectable mercury in about 31% of products tested. They measured total mercury in Parts Per Trillion (ppt) which does not directly compare to the other study, but it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no safe exposure amount for pregnant women or for children. Here are the results for some of the products that were found to have the most mercury:
From Recently Updated

This study is just meant to illuminate the issue, and bring attention to the need for the FDA to regulate the levels of mercury and other toxins in all food. So many Americans, especially children, consume very high levels of HFCS, and advertising such as the recent campaign only serves to potentially increase exposure to this problem-ridden additive.

But even if all the mercury is taken out of HFCS for good, its still bad for us! For those of you who are unfamiliar, below is a quick run-down of the other known evils of HFCS:

1) Fructose inhibits the absorption of copper. "Lysl oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme that participates in the formation of collagen and elastin. Fructose seems to interfere with copper metabolism to such an extent that collagen and elastin cannot form in growing animals." "A deficiency in copper leads to bone fragility, anemia, defects of the connective tissue, arteries, and bone, infertility, heart arrhythmias, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, and an inability to control blood sugar levels."

2) Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, so high exposure overworks it, causing Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome, similar to the cirrhosis seen in alcoholics.

3) "Free fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium. Among other consequences, HFCS has been implicated in elevated blood cholesterol levels and the creation of blood clots. It has been found to inhibit the action of white blood cells so that they are unable to defend the body against harmful foreign invaders."

4) Fructose worsens Insulin Resistance by further reducing the affinity of insulin for its receptors. Furthermore, "fructose interacts with oral contraceptives and elevates insulin levels in women on 'the pill.'"

5)Fructose gets converted into fat more than any other sugar, contributing to obesity.

6)Fructose leads to imbalances of the minerals iron, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

These and a full list of dangers and references can be found in the article "The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup" by Bill Sanda.

So please please please STOP using HFCS!!! Go through your cupboards and fridge and just throw it all away! Read labels and do not buy another thing with it! Your health depends on it! If you want to sweeten something, use honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, even regular sugar is better than HFCS! There are also a lot of natural calorie-free sweeteners out there, usually made from a plant leaf called Stevia. Don't even think about using artificial sweeteners like Equal or NutraSweet - cancer in a little packet - but that is another post!


  1. Excellent post my friend.

    Holy shit. I cannot believe there is MERCURY in HFCS. OK, I can believe it, but WOW!

    It blows my mind that companies can be so careless with the public's health in the name of the all-mighty dollar.