Cob Obesity

Corn – High Fructose Corn Syrup

corn

Obesity has grown to become quite an epidemic and its growth seems to continue despite attempts to address it. The saddest part is that children have also become part of this statistic.

There are various factors that have been contributing to this obesity epidemic. One is the heavy use of a sweetener called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), which is used todaymore than any other type of sugar.

In the 1970s, the sugar produced from sugar cane and beets became expensive. It was around that time that Japanese researchers developed a way to extract sugar (as fructose) from cornstarch by using a chemical-ridden process of fermentation. Although this process took a long time, the cost was significantly less. Soon after, most foods and drinks began using High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) instead. In fact, if you read the labels of food, you’ll likely find that this sweetener is used in nearly all prepared foods.

To give you an idea, a 12-ounce can of soda contains approximately 13 teaspoons of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Furthermore, soda consumption has doubled since 1970, bringing the average consumption (as of 2001) to approximately 56 gallons of soda per person yearly. As far as HFCS consumption goes, that’s an average of 63 pounds per person yearly.

Studies done at the University of Michigan showed that fructose is converted into a large amount of triglycerides (fats) by the liver. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), in turn, does not stimulate the production of the leptin hormone. This hormone helps reduce fat levels in the body as well as appetite. In other words, you’ll gain weight easily and remain hungry by consuming HFCS.

Doctor Meira Fields from the U.S. Department of Agriculturestudied how different types of sugar affect rats. What she discovered was that when rats consume a diet high in sugar or beets, they would become sick. Comparatively, when their diet was high in fructose (particularly, High Fructose Corn Syrup), the damage was extensive. These rats showed a degeneration of vital organs, such as the heart and pancreas. Many of the rats even became diabetic.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is metabolized only in the liver. It is also converted into fat much more easily than other sugars. As a note, the rapid increase of obesity started in the 1980s, shortly after the introduction of HFCS into most of our prepared foods and drinks. Since the time it was developed in the 1970s, the consumption of this sugar has increased 4,090%.

Even chicken and pig farms are well aware of how fattening corn is, as nothing else fattens these animals as well as corn does, due to it’s high fructose content and hunger-causing qualities.

In short, High Fructose Corn Syrup is a type of sugar that should be avoided if you want to lose weight. Unfortunately, as it is being used in almost all prepared or frozen foods, sodas and sweetened juices, it may be difficult to find products that do not contain it.

Either way, what you don’t know can do more damage than you can imagine. So, now that you have this information, start by reading the labels of the food you buy and try your best to avoid those foods that contain this sweetener.

Frank Suárez, Obesity and Metabolism Specialist

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