There was a time I used to think ‘too sweet’ as an expression was great as long as it belonged to people. But lately, I have realized that often the scene of much sweetness isn’t healthy and is only a cover-up to all the sly bitterness/damage that it causes to your life even with people. I guess it’s not the case with everything, but in a nutshell, too sweet should raise eyebrows. Of course, there aren’t many statistics on people but thankfully products can be rated. And today the sweetener we are discussing is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
High Fructose Corn Syrup is an artificial sweetener that is made from corn starch (chain of sugar), which is then broken down to individual glucose molecules creating corn syrup. This is then further processed with some enzymes that turn some glucose to fructose. Depending upon the amount of fructose present in it, it’s broadly categorized as HFCS 42 (42 % Fructose) and HFCS 55 (55% Fructose). The various names it goes by are – isolated fructose, natural corn syrup, glucose-fructose, isoglucose, and glucose-fructose syrup. These to clarify you know what you are buying into after reading the labels.
There is a rumor about HFCS that it’s banned in Europe, well it’s not (it probably should be). The thing is European countries are smart and hence have quota limited it because it is bad for health. You ask how did you miss the part where I said it’s made from glucose and then converted to fructose. So basically it’s all sugar. It’s 24% water and 76% carbs with negligible quantities of any other nutrient. And when you overdo the sweet intake it leads to:
· Obesity: Any sugar including HFCS when consumed in higher amounts, leads to extra calories and eventually weight gain. It pushes people towards obesity as it also makes you lethargic, making it harder to burn off those unnecessary calories.
· Type 2 Diabetes: As the world knows, diabetes is a serious life-long condition, and an estimated 415 million people are currently suffering from this condition. HFCS is also associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which in turn turns dangerous for your heart too.
· Fatty Liver: Fructose which is present in HFCS in large quantities has to be broken down by the liver and turn into fat before it can be used. This gives rise to increased liver fat and the danger looms of fatty liver and accompanied woes.
· If damage to your liver, figure, the heart isn’t enough, then know it also can give rise to inflammation in your body and aggravate any associated conditions.
In nutshell, this in high quantities will indeed eat the years out of your life highly too. The problem is that being a cheaper variant to table sugar it is now commonly used in many products. Some of them are Soft Drinks, Sweetened drinks (juices, sodas), packaged sweets and fruits, nutrition bars, prepacked meals, some salad dressings as well.
Sometimes in life, you cannot rely on others to think of you or take care of you, they all have their vested interest to look out for. In such situations, it is best to take charge, and not be dependent. They may try to lull your senses with too much sweetness, but you don’t have to fall for it. Learn to read the labels and the message in between the lines.