High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a highly processed sweetener made from corn, was introduced to the American market in 1975. Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup when they discovered that HFCS was far cheaper to make and also about 20 times sweeter than table sugar. It was expected that less sweetener would be needed per product, but unfortunately the amount of sweetener used has steadily risen.
Since the use of HFCS, there has been a steady incline in the incidence of obesity (particularly childhood obesity), adult-onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer:
- Glucose in other sugars is used by your body, and is converted to blood glucose, whereas the fructose from HFCS is a relatively unregulated source of fuel that your liver converts to fat and cholesterol.
- Consumption of HFCS in high amounts can cause scarring and hardening of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
- HFCS breaks down into a variety of waste products that are damaging to your body, one of which is uric acid. Over time, elevated uric acid drives up your blood pressure, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- HFCS increases your insulin level, which causes you to store fat and overeat (largely due to its addictive quality and the suppression of appetite-controlling hormones)—a major cause of obesity, insulin resistance and the development of Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes.
- HFCS is almost certainly made from genetically modified corn and processed with genetically modified enzymes, linked to an array of heath problems from food allergies to cancer.