High fructose corn syrup has been in the news for a long time. Nutrition experts believe that it can lead to weight gain and tricks your body into wanting to eat more. Some people think that it is also a toxic chemical that just can't be good for you.
So why is this chemical so bad? According to the Corn Refiners Association HFCS is similar in composition to table sugar (sucrose). There have been several studies on HFCS that has linked it to obesity. In 2007, rats were fed a diet high in fat and HFCS and kept sedentary for 16 weeks. The rats were not forced to eat but could eat as much as they wanted. When observed researchers noticed that the rats were consuming large amounts of food. This led them to believe that the fructose was suppressing the sensation of being full. After four weeks the rats started to develop fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. These rats were then compared to rats that were on a fructose free diet. The rats that had been on the high fructose diet did not show any signs of unusual weight gain. But, when compared to the rats that had consumed a fructose-free diet, levels of leptin in the blood of rats fed a high-fructose diet indicated the development of leptin resistance. When the rats were switched to a high-fat diet, the leptin-resistant rats, those fed a high-fructose diet, gained more weight than those who had not developed the resistance and had been fed a fructose-free diet. ( Shapiro, Alexandra; Wei Mu, Carlos A Roncal, Kit-Yan Cheng, Richard J. Johnson, and Philip J. Scarpace (November 2008). "Fructose-Induced Leptin Resistance Exacerbates Weight Gain in Response to Subsequent High Fat Feeding". Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol.)
More Health Concerns Regarding HFCS
In February, Susan a NESTA Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach wrote in her blog, Catapult Fitness about the health problems associated with HFCS. She states,
"I was listening to a podcast the other day that quickly demonized HFCS by referring to a study that indicates that un-bound fructose causes extremely elevated levels of reactive carbonyls - compounds that are typically elevated in the blood of people with diabetes.
Specifically, here is what was said during the podcast:
It is true that, in fact, high fructose corn syrup is far more sinister than regular sugar. They were doing a study with diabetics and they were finding a compound called carbonyl at extremely elevated levels in diabetics.
When high fructose corn syrup is manufactured there's a reaction with fructose and glucose molecules where they become unbound and they elevate the level of carbonyls and this is obviously what's going on with your soda.
With regular sugar, sucrose does not become unbound. The way that it's processed is totally different."
HFCS is found in many snacks and drinks that we feed our children, including soda. As parents what can we do about this? We certainly want what is best for our children. The first thing that we should do is avoid products containing this chemical especially soda.
Log Cabin brand syrup understands the importance of eliminating this chemical from our diet. Recently they have announced that they are the first national syrup brand to remove HFCS from their product and replacing it with natural sugar.
"Heritage and history or important to us, as our brand has proved to be a family household tradition since 1887" says Allison Meyer, Associate Brand Manager of Pinnacle Foods. "That said, Log Cabin is the first brand in a long time to bring innovation to the syrup category by removing high fructose corn syrup." The new Log Cabin syrup can be found on store shelved across the country in Log Cabin Original Flavor and Log Cabin Lite flavors. They also have Log Cabin Sugar Free available.
Try this delicious recipe made with new Log Cabin with No High Fructose Corn Syrup:
Apple Pecan Baked Pancake (serves 4)
1/2 c. favorite pancake mix 2 tbsp. butter (melted) 1 c. Granny Smith apple (peeled and sliced) 1/3 c. pecans (chopped) 3 c. Log Cabin syrup 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pancake mix according to package directions; and set aside. Pour melted butter in a 9" pie plate. Place apple slices in bottom of pie plate; sprinkle cinnamon and pecans and drizzle syrup over apples; carefully pour batter on top. Bake t 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Loosen edges and invert onto serving plate. Cut in wedges and serve with warm maple syrup and or fresh apple butter. Serves 4 to 6. Good served with sausage links.
I don't understand why the opinion of a nutrition "coach" should be given equal credibility to research performed by scientists using proper experimental methods. That's why we have refereed journals where other scientists hold the authors' feet to fire before approving for publication. The anonymous "coach-Susan" was just taking uniformed potshots. The only way to get to the truth is through the scientific method not by wannabe armchair critics.
Unfortunately, the reality of the scientific world as it is today is that research results can be -- and often are -- gamed by players that are anything but disinterested seekers of truth. Peer review, historically a reasonably reliable control mechanism, can no longer be trusted to guarantee the reliable discovery and dissemination of facts and theories, replicability of results, and critical response to questionable claims.
With huge corporate and governmental involvement in (and thus control of) research -- involvement that is often very far from transparent -- not only are reported results skewed; even the questions under discussion are subject to manipulation.
Please understand that I'm not suggesting that many, or even any, researchers are literally fabricating or tweaking results (although there clearly is at least some of that going on -- and it's not unreasonable to consider that it's possible, and arguably probable, that the cases we hear of do not represent all such cases taking place).
But there is no question -- none -- that there are major strings attached to many corporate-funding research programs, that often include giving the funders exclusive rights to the resulting data, and non-disclosure terms prohibiting researchers from even acknowledging what they're working on. The impact of these terms collectively will frequently ensure that results favorable to the funders will be published, but that results that are unhelpful to the funders will never see the light of day.
Governmental funding of research has at least as much potential for dishonest outcomes, when the decisions of what is studied and what is not; how studies are undertaken and how they are not; and what is published and what is not, rest with the political appointees at the top of gov't agencies, and not with the researchers and reviewers staffing them or doing the work specified in grants.
The "scientific method" may be necessary to "get to the truth," but it is clearly not sufficient to do so. Ensuring absolute transparency of work and results -- irrespective of outcomes -- is just as essential an element in getting to the truth. The best science in the world means nothing if access to the resulting data rests in the hands of interested parties, whether those interests are economic or ideological.