The Lowdown on High Fructose Corn Sugar—HFCS

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By Catherine J Frompovich

High fructose corn sugar (HFCS) has taken on another name—a façade of sorts—to legitimize its ubiquitous presence in most processed foods.  If you haven’t seen HFCS recently on food labels, did you recognize its alter ego—“corn sugar”?

The Corn Refiners Association and food processors wanted another term for HFCS which, basically, equated with “not healthful” or “contributes to certain unhealthy conditions,” thus we now have HFCS appearing as corn sugar, but still delivering the same adverse nutrition aspects that prompted the name change.

Dr Dana Flavin, MD, PhD, former FDA official and toxicologist, has expertise in HFCS, which she says is “too sweet to eat.” Furthermore, that 45 percent of HFCS or corn sugar is tainted with mercury (Hg)!  That’s according to a peer-reviewed study published in Environment Health Magazine.  HFCS came on the market in the 1970s. Until then, food processors used sucrose as sweeteners. Since then, HFCS has been used by soft drink makers and other food processors without abandon.   It’s more economical to use corn sugar than other natural sugars in making things taste sweet.

Technically, corn sugar is not a real sugar like cane or beet sugar, which comes directly from those plants.  Corn syrup, on the other hand, “is heavily processed, using enzymes to turn cornstarch into glucose and then fructose.  Another major difference is that in HFCS, the individual glucose and fructose molecules are chemically separate before you ingest them. In table sugar, these same two molecules are chemically bonded, forming a disaccharide (2-molecule sugar) that is broken apart inside the body,” [1] thereby sidestepping nutritional and metabolic stress negatively impacting the immune system as HFCS does.  Fruit sugars—glucose and fructose, however, do not impact the immune system like HFCS.

At one time humans ingested only 20 teaspoonsful of sugar a year, whereas today, we eat 140 pounds of sugar a year, while diabetes has increased over 700 percent!  How sweet is that?  According to Dr Flavin, HFCS can cause multiple toxicities affecting blood vessels, the liver, and cholesterol levels, particularly triglycerides and LDL.  HFCS causes body fat and increases tumor cell growth.  Pregnant women consuming HFCS can pass on its negative health aspects and literally contribute to the “dumbing down” of babies!

So why do humans crave sweets—sugar—in particular?  Well, according to Dr Flavin, when magnesium (MG) levels in the body are low, you crave sugar and sweets.  Then, when we satisfy those cravings by eating HFCS sweetened ‘goodies’—soda, especially—it goes directly to making fat; causes blood pressure to rise; creates uric acid crystals in our joints (gout); and does NOT increase dopamine (the brain’s happy chemical) but HFCS messes with two hormone levels: ghrelin and leptin, which leave us craving sweets, not satisfied, and eating much more quantities of food to get satiated.

Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite while leptin is hormone made by fat cells that decreases appetite and allows us to feel “full”.  In corn sugar (HFCS), the ratio of ghrelin to leptin confuses the liver by sending HFCS directly to the liver where it makes fat!  Furthermore, HFCS lowers oxygen in cells, according to Dr Flavin, and we also must keep in mind that most HFCS is made from genetically modified corn that is drenched with glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides!  The pancreas becomes damaged too.  Incidentally, HFCS is 20 percent sweeter than regular cane or beet sugars.

Honey, cane and beet sugars actually increase dopamine levels in the brain thereby making us feel good or happy, and that’s why we love sugary things.

Dr Flavin, who has a medical practice in Germany and concentrates on cancer research, while also teaching in the UK, is the author of “Metabolic Danger of High-Fructose Corn Syrup” [2] and the founder of Foundation for Collaborative Research.  She claims the FDA’s power to protect the public has been decreasing in the last ten years!  Personally, I question if that has anything to do with Michael Taylor, JD, Monsanto’s former chief lobbyist, becoming the Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Back on July 9, 2016, Dr Flavin appeared on Michael Olson’s Food Chain Radio Show No. 1063 “Too Sweet to Eat” archived here, but I listened to the live broadcast.

The coincidental and complementary aspects, for me, about Dr Flavin and Mike Olson’s conversation about sugar is that in my new book, Eat to Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities, soon to be available on Amazon.com, I devote two comprehensive chapters to sugar: Sugar: Is it as sweet a treat as you think? and Do You Have a Sugar Addiction?

I must disclose that I asked Mike Olson to review the book manuscript before publication for a comment to place on the back cover, and he graciously supplied the following:

Some time ago, I took advantage of a literary license earned by having hosted over a thousand editions of the syndicated Food Chain Radio Show to pronounce my very own “Three Laws of the Food Chain,” the third law being Cheap Food Isn’t!  In fact, they make food cheap by taking the nutrients out of it and by subsidizing its true cost of production, thus the cheap food they promise is really the expensive food they deliver.  Catherine Frompovich takes up arms against the cheap food of industrial agriculture with Eat to Beat Disease.  Read it.  Arm yourself.  Survive and thrive!

Not many eaters realize that just about everything that comes out of a package manufactured by food processors contains sugar in some form: natural, HFCS aka corn sugar, synthetic, or low calorie chemical analogs.

As Dr Flavin notes, HFCS is not in fresh fruits and vegetables or whole foods, which contain normal levels of fructose, glucose and sucrose.  Food labels can be deceptive anymore since they don’t say “high fructose corn sugar” but use the terms “sugar” or “corn sugar”, something she thinks is deceptive manipulation on labels.  Dr Flavin’s website is www.collmed.org – The Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research.

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References:

[1] http://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/100110_high-fructose_04.html

[2] http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/12/metabolic-dangers-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/Page-01

Resources:

The Mercury Mystery: Is It Still Lacing Our High Fructose Corn Syrup?

http://www.bodyearth.net/high-fructose-corn-syrup/mercury-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

Photo credit: avail via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND, via Natural Blaze

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick(2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities©2016 Catherine J Frompovich coming in Summer 2016


  • Joan Camara

    If this was the only comment made, in this article, about “high fructose corn syrup”, then it would have been perfect. But some people just read quick, and might not have noticed this MAIN sentence. (I think it should have been in CAPS)

    “we also must keep in mind that most HFCS is made from genetically modified corn that is drenched with glyphosate and glufosinate herbicides!”

    95% (roughly) of this country’s corn crops are GMO. And most everything in our grocery stores, have this ingredient in it. One food product that one might not know of, is all bread! (Except all organic bread). Every loaf I picked up and checked one day in the grocery store, has that ingredient. What a shock!
    And in products, you would never believe it would be in. I think I remember seeing it in sauerkraut! So people need to be aware.

    Also, another GMO crop is soy, and of course, THIS again is in most everything. And there are quite a few other crops that are GMO in this country. Cotton is another one. People need to wake up, and study on this!

    People should eat and drink, only organcic products if they don’t want to be part of the government’s experiment. Diseases are rising fast, so pay the price for organic, or pay a doctor in the long run!

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