Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ads defend high fructose corn syrup from worries that it promotes obesity, diabetes, other problems

High fructose corn syrup, a subject of nutritional controversy and agricultural profit, is getting the wrappings of a makeover with two new television commercials released by the Corn Refiners Association. The ads say HFCS is “All natural, made from corn and full of naturally occurring enzymes and is as safe as sugar. . . . and, like real sugar, fine in moderation.” Click here to view the first ad, here to view the second, or check out the Web site, sweetsurprise.com.

While questions still linger about the nutritional value and negative effects of HFCS, public consensus, science and informal statements from the Food and Drug Administration conclude that high fructose corn syrup is neither as safe as sugar, or natural, broadly defined. The synthesizing process changes the chemical makeup of corn, and studies have noted issues regarding insulin absorption and fat conversion, as well as high levels of HFCS in processed foods.

Though http://www.hfcsfacts.com/ argues the product is “all-natural,” in April 2008, FDA’s Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements informally ruled that HFCS should not be labeled "natural," granting the pleas of anti-HFCS groups like the Sugar Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Read the article here. Synthesized by enzymatic conversion of glucose, a natural sugar, HFCS is manufactured by breaking and rearranging chemical bonds and thus is “not consistent with our […] policy regarding the use of the term ‘natural’,” said Geraldine June, an FDA supervisor. Table sugar, sucrose, is made up of glucose and crystallized fructose, the natural sugar in fruit.

In the 1970s, corn production skyrocketed as a result of government subsidies, and manufactured fructose, or HFCS, debuted. With its cheap manufacturing costs and highly preservative nature, HFCS has become a staple in processed foods, appearing in everything from sports drinks and ketchup to bread and cough drops. From 1970 to 1997, U.S. consumption of soft drinks – one of the biggest users of HFCS – increased from 22 to 41 gallons per person per year. On average, teenage boys and girls consume two to three cans per day. A typical 20-ounce Coke contains no fat, no protein and more than 65 grams of carbohydrates, usually in the form of HFCS.

HFCS’s publicized drawbacks include its abnormally high levels of chemically altered fructose, which has contributed to speculation about the relationship between HFCS and increasing cases of obesity and diabetes. Unlike glucose, which can be absorbed and broken down by any cell in the body, fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar and can only be metabolized by the liver. Some critics see it as the “the newest health villain,” writes Datamonitor, a business industry analyst company in New York. Organic grocery chains in Seattle and North Carolina have already eliminated HFCS products from their stores, and a spokesperson for national Whole Foods Markets said, “Products [containing HFCS are] the exception rather than the norm as in conventional markets.”

Studies have shown that HFCS increases insulin levels of women taking oral contraceptives. Nutrition consultant Bill Sanda says, “Fructose reduces the affinity of insulin for its receptor, which is the hallmark of type-2 diabetes,” and clinical nutritionist Nancy Appleton writes, “Fructose ingestion in humans results in increases in blood lactic acid, especially in patients with preexisting acidotic conditions such as diabetes, postoperative stress or uremia.”

1 comment:

Paunchiness said...

This is incredible. I posted some of the corn refiners tv commercials on my site and now I’m running google ads for them? Not on purpose of course.

http://www.paunchiness.com/2008-09-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad-for-you/