Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 21 January 2010
[Natural News] High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) accounts for the largest amount of calories in the average American diet. It can be found in processed foods of almost every kind – soda, bread, breakfast bars, processed dairy, crackers, soup, condiments, and others. The U.S. first began using HFCS heavily in the 1970’s as an inexpensive alternative to sugar when sugar prices skyrocketed. It quickly became the most commonly used sweetener and today is found in almost all processed foods. Americans consume about twelve teaspoons of HFCS on average per day.
Recently HFCS has come under scrutiny because of its possible link to health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased triglycerides, increased LDL cholesterol, and liver disease. Fructose is hard for the body to metabolize, converts to fat more than other sugars, and contains no enzymes, vitamins, or minerals. In fact, fructose actually uses vital compounds from the body to be metabolized so it is actually robbing the body of its necessary micronutrients.
In addition to these detrimental effects on health it has been recently reported that there are high levels of mercury in high fructose corn syrup. Mercury is a toxin and is especially harmful to the nervous system. Mercury is found in the air we breathe, contaminated fish, and dental fillings. Fetuses, infants, and children are the most sensitive to mercury. High mercury exposure during these critical times can cause brain damage, deafness, learning disabilities, and even death. Mercury toxicity in adults can cause weakness, blurred vision, change in personality, cardiomyopathies, slowed mental response, and many other conditions.
A study was recently done to see if HFCS contains mercury. The results published in the Journal Environmental Health in January 2009 showed that almost 50% of tested food products containing HFCS were contaminated with mercury. Given the high consumption rate of HFCS in the U.S. this mercury contamination is a source not previously considered. The mercury gets into the HFCS through its production process. The making of HFCS involves separating the corn starch from the corn kernel using caustic soda. For many years the production of caustic soda has involved the use of mercury cells. This mercury use can cause contamination of the caustic soda which in turn contaminates the HFCS that goes into snack foods, beverages, dressings, condiments, and many other foods.
Unfortunately as consumers it is impossible to know which foods contain mercury-contaminated HFCS. Avoidance of HFCS due to its detrimental effects on health as well as its possible mercury contamination is essential.
– Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar
– Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With
Mercury, New Study Finds (http://www.iatp.org/iatp/press.cfm?…)
– March of Dimes, Mercury (http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/1…)
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