I have counseled many people about healthy eating habits in my Manhattan office. I have warned against the consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) in the past and I feel that this topic needs to be revisited, so that it is fresh in your minds.
A big part of why HCFS is unhealthy is the way that it is processed. HCFS is made from cornstarch. Enzymes are added to the glucose in cornstarch to convert it into fructose. HCFS is cheaper than table sugar, so it is preferred and widely used in the processed food industry
WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP?
Mercury: It’s contaminated with mercury. Mercury is toxic to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), kidneys, liver, and immune system.
Zinc: It depletes the body’s Zinc supply, which is needed to help the body get rid of heavy metals, like mercury, arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium.
Glutaraldehyde: It contains glutaraldehyde, which is a toxic chemical that contributes to asthma, sneezing, wheezing, burning eyes, drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness.
Liver Disease: It can cause steatosis aka fatty liver disease.
Diabetes: Increases risk of developing diabetes.
High Blood Pressure: Increases risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). It inhibits endothelial nitric oxide synthase, which is needed to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes our cardiovascular system.
Cancer: Increase risk of cancer. This is especially true of pancreatic cancer. A 2010 study found that pancreatic cancer cells are able to metabolize fructose and use it to multiply. This study was written by the American Association of Cancer.
Common Sources of HCFS include:
Soda- soda is an inefficient way to hydrate yourself, since the sugar content dehydrates you. Try tea or water instead. There is a brand called Zevia, which makes carbonated beverages sweetened with stevia.
Salad Dressings- especially the “Fat-Free” options. Read the label carefully before consuming
Ketchup- for those who love ketchup, look for brands that do not contain HCFS.
Sauces and Condiments
Juice- fruit juice concentrates are considered empty calories, because they lack any significant amount of vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fructose. Even products labeled as 100% juice are made with concentrates. Read the labels carefully.
Agave- That’s right, I said it. I know that it is touted as a healthy sweetener, but agave syrup contains more fructose than HCFS. Honey (manuka and buckwheat), Maple Syrup, Molasses, and Stevia are better alternatives.
How To Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup
The best thing you can do, is to read labels very carefully. If high fructose corn syrup is found on a label, then you can infer that the item is very poor quality. Eating vegetables and fruits that are fresh or frozen are a better way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Stay away from processed foods that are most likely found within the aisles of the grocery. If you limit your shopping to the perimeter of the store you are most likely shopping where the fresh ingredients are located.
Nutritionally deficient foods can lead to many deficiencies and toxicities which may cause disease and inflammation. It is easy to detect vitamin and mineral status with comprehensive testing. By testing a blood panel to determine where your diet is void of vitamins and minerals, you can quickly make changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits to optimize your level of health.
By discovering what vitamins and minerals you need to supplement with, you can live a life towards optimal health. Dr. Phelts analyzes your blood work and helps get you on the right track with individualized dietary and supplement guidelines based on your test results. His office is located in New York, NY.
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