Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Not so sweet

Have you seen those obnoxious commercials about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), how it is "all natural" and mocking those who try to say anything bad about it? Well, an overly processed sweetener is not what I consider "all natural." Yesterday at clinic, we were discussing sweetener options, including the new stevia derivative, Truvia. We concluded the closer to nature, the better the sweetener, which pretty much left us with stevia (sweetener made from the whole plant, not just one sweet element of it), honey, and maple syrup.

What is so bad about high fructose corn syrup? There are studies showing that consuming HFCS can turn down leptin, a hormone that acts as one of the body's regulators of satiety (or feeling full). See the above picture? The mouse on the right lacks the gene that makes the hormone leptin. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has implicated HFCS in the obesity epidemic. Now there are claims that the process of manufacturing HFCS contaminates the product with mercury. Gee whiz, I see nothing wrong with any of that!

The Corn Refiners Association has a rebuttal for every claim against HFCS, but the consumers have the final say. Refuse to buy products with high fructose corn syrup.

Here is a spoof of the HFCS commercials by the guys who made the movie King Corn. And just to make your grocery store trip a bit more challenging, Treehugger.com takes a look at the new stevia-derived sweeteners.

The Corn Refiners Association
The Ethicurian
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


  1. So lets invent the leptin upregulator and make millions!

  2. I've been asked about Truvia a lot lately and I'm not quite sure...something about a company who's only made genetically modified cattle feed and pharmaceuticals suddenly producing a "natural" sweetener? And the FDA says the whole leaf is dangerous, but it's ok to chemically remove the sweet compound and market that? Something tells me we're gettin' hosed...

  3. Not so sure why they just don't use a stevia-based sweetener from the whole plant, instead of a processed sweetener. Oh yeah, can't patent a plant. Here are some blog postings with more information/opinions regarding rebiana, the stevia extract: