Back in September 2010, I participated in a campaign to tell the facts vs myths of HFCS. I attended the Corn Refiners Association webinar where expert speakers explained the chemical structure of high fructose corn syrup and I shared with you what I learned. My website plus a number of popular mom blogs became part of a heated controversy of the HFCS battle and we were accused of being “talking heads for the CRA” and under the influence of “brandwashing” from bloggers who were passionate against the use of HFCS and did not believe the news we reported. Basically, we were given information saying there was no significant difference between HFCS and table sugar, posted the info to our readers, and received a backlashing from bloggers who felt we were persuaded by the Corn Refiners Association to spread health lies. Before I go any further, I want to make it crystal clear that we were never made to say anything and our opinions were given in response from the actual information provided during the meeting. What we decided to share was strictly of our own doing. HOWEVER, I have to retract what I said and fully admit I was wrong. I’m sure this post will not be a popular highlight of my website, BUT I do believe in being honest even when it hurts and I feel it’s my responsibility to give the complete truth.
I’m not a health professional, so I rely on well trusted physicians who have dedicate their lives to learning about the body and medicine. There are only a handful of doctors I wholly put my faith in and Dr. Mark Hyman is one of them who I adore! Imagine my surprise when I opened my email to find a newsletter from Dr. Hyman called “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.” GULP! My heart dropped and I knew I was going to be served some humble pie along with eating a huge plate of crow! The good doctor believes even when used in moderation HFCS is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.
Here is the newsletter I received today from Dr. Hyman…
THE CURRENT MEDIA debate about the benefits (or lack of harm) of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diet misses the obvious. The average American increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero to over 60 pounds per person per year. During that time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.
Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency. These are used skillfully through massive print and television advertising campaigns by the Corn Refiners Association’s attempt to dispel the “myth” that HFCS is harmful and assert through the opinion of “medical and nutrition experts” that it is no different than cane sugar. It is a “natural” product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation.
Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more.
Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?
The article continues to describe why HFCS is harmful and should be avoided. I was SHOCKED! He quotes Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who stated…
“The digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose. Hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis [production of fat in the liver]. In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Because insulin and leptin act as key afferent signals in the regulation of food intake and body weight [to control appetite], this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased energy intake and weight gain. Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric overconsumption.”
Apparently Popkin believes that HFCS is absorbed more quickly than regular sugar, and that it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. This results in preventing you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and may lead to overconsumption of total calories. YIKES!
“… the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”
The entire story explains the five reasons you should not consume HFCS and can be read here.
Sigh…I guess I shouldn’t feel so badly, since Dr. Hyman was also targeted directly and received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the “science” that HFCS was safe and no different than sugar. He assumes that the other 700,000 physicians in America received the same propaganda too. The difference is he had the education behind him to dismiss the information where I did not! Thank you Dr. Hyman for putting me straight on fact vs myths of HFCS!