Skip to main content

Food Trends: High Fructose Corn Syrup – is it really that bad?

I hear many interesting comments from the many people I come in contact with on a daily basis about nutrition.  A hot topic right now continues to be high fructose corn syrup.  Some recent statements I’ve heard are “I try not to buy that because of the high fructose corn syrup” or “I won’t feed that to my children because I don’t want them to have too much high fructose corn syrup.”

Statements like those above are a catch twenty-two for me.  On one hand I’m ecstatic that the general population cares about what we are feeding ourselves and our family, but on the other hand it solidifies my concern that nutrition education is still very much behind par. 

As a registered dietitian, I have never thought twice about high fructose corn syrup. It definitely became the designer fad, years ago and I am shocked at how its negative reputation is still going strong.  Statements have even been made linking high fructose corn syrup to obesity, but my latest search on actual research yields nothing significant that can extract high fructose corn syrup as a specific ingredient causing obesity.

So folks, to understand what high fructose corn syrup is it’s necessary to understand different components of bio and organic chemistry that I’m not going to get into. Simply said, high fructose corn syrup is a sweetener derived from corn.  When digested and broken down it is breaks down into two simple sugars, fructose and glucose.  Fructose is sugar derived from fruit sources and glucose is table sugar. Doesn’t sound so bad now does it?

Instead of honing in on high fructose corn syrup, my recommendation is to pay more attention to the sources of food you are eating or providing to your family.  In a society where everyone is strapped financially and ridden with deadlines, it is easy to become attracted to inexpensive and quick meals.  Because high fructose corn syrup is less expensive for mass production and yields a better product from an integrity standpoint, you see it more in your pre packaged foods, but like ALL sugars this yields 4 calories per gram which contributes to your total calorie intake in a day.

At the end of the day and as a registered dietitian, I’m here to tell you that it is not one single item that causes obesity.  It is overall calories in verses overall calories expended period end of sentence.   If you are looking to hone in on sweeteners in general, don’t just focus on the high fructose sweetener, focus on any additive sweetener.  Find a way to provide more fresh and frozen items into your diet instead of the canned or prepackaged foods. This will not only most likely decrease your overall calorie intake but it will also provide you with the best source of vitamins and minerals you require.  Also as a hint, the first ingredient listed on any product provides the largest proportion to that item so instead of buying foods with sweeteners listed first, look for them to be listed last or not at all.  Good luck and be healthy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Note to Self before "Bathing Suit Season"

We are coming up on Memorial Day Weekend. The pools will open, beach season begins, and everyone is scurrying around to buy new bathing suits or cover ups. Although I LOVE summer there's an aspect of this time of year that I very much dislike.  I absolutely cannot stand the insecurity bathing suits bring to the mind. How many of your friends' Facebook and Instagram posts read "Gotta get bikini ready" or "I'm not ready for bathing suit season?" It's on everyone's minds and we have much better things to worry about people.

The fact of the matter is that MOST people feel vulnerable in a bathing suit. Think about it you are practically naked and I'm pretty sure the woman whose body modeled your final product may have had longer legs or is 15 years old.

Is it really worth allowing yourself to feel vulnerable and insecure over something that realistically isn't even created to showcase your body's strengths?  What in the world does how yo…

EAT TO RUN

I am a runner, although not currently training for anything. I started off running track in high school, short distance sprints ( an 800 was LONG for me) and I've always run many miles with my soccer endeavors.  In college I dabbled with running longer mileage but would cap it at 30 minutes. Ahhh the days of exercising 30 minutes a day, I remember those!!  

Shortly after I had my second child I realized how crazy life was with two children under the age of 18 months. I started running for two reasons: 1) It was the only time I had to myself  2) I lost so much of my core strength and endurance with back to back pregnancies I needed my strength back.  I've run 5 half marathons, many 10 milers and more than I can count 10 Ks, 5 milers, and 5 K's. My closet is lined with ribbons, medals, and trophies and even some podium awards.

Once I felt I mastered my running goals, and tired or runners knee,  I started competing in triathlons. What a challenge! I was stoked to make the p…

Interesting read about OCD & #EatingDisorders

Interesting read about OCD & #EatingDisorders