6 Reasons Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Bad for You
Here are 6 reasons why consuming large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup is bad for your health.
1. Adds an Unnatural Amount of Fructose to Your Diet
The fructose in HFCS can cause health issues if eaten in excessive amounts.
Most starchy carbs, such as rice, are broken down into glucose — the basic form of carbs. However, table sugar and HFCS comprise around 50% glucose and 50% fructose (5).
Glucose is easily transported and utilized by every cell in your body. It's also the predominant fuel source for high-intensity exercise and various processes.
In contrast, the fructose from high fructose corn syrup or table sugar needs to be converted into glucose, glycogen (stored carbs), or fat by the liver before it can be used as fuel.
Like regular table sugar, HFCS is a rich source of fructose. In the past few decades, the intake of fructose and HFCS has increased significantly.
Before table sugar and HFCS became affordable and widely available, people's diets contained only small amounts of fructose from natural sources, such as fruits and vegetables (6Trusted Source).
The adverse effects listed below are mostly caused by excess fructose, although they apply to both high-fructose corn syrup (55% fructose) and plain table sugar (50% fructose).
HFCS and sugar contain fructose and glucose. Your body metabolizes fructose differently than glucose, and consuming too much fructose can lead to health problems.
2. Increases Your Risk of Fatty Liver Disease
High intake of fructose leads to increased liver fat.
One study in men and women with excess weight showed that drinking sucrose-sweetened soda for 6 months significantly increased liver fat, compared to drinking milk, diet soda, or water (10Trusted Source).
Other research has also found that fructose can increase liver fat to a greater extent than equal amounts of glucose (11Trusted Source).
It's important to note that the detrimental effects of fructose in added sugar, including HFCS, should not be equated with the fructose in fruit. It's difficult to consume excessive amounts of fructose from whole fruits, which are healthy and safe in sensible amounts.
High-fructose corn syrup can contribute to increased liver fat. This is because of its high fructose content, which is metabolized differently than other carbs.
3. Increases Your Risk of Obesity and Weight Gain
One study had healthy adults drink beverages containing either glucose or fructose.
When comparing the two groups, the fructose drink did not stimulate regions of the brain that control appetite to the same extent as the glucose drink (14Trusted Source).
Fructose also promotes visceral fat accumulation. Visceral fat surrounds your organs and is the most harmful type of body fat. It's linked to health issues like diabetes and heart disease (8Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Moreover, the availability of HFCS and sugar has also increased average daily calorie intake, a key factor in weight gain. Research suggests people now consume over 500 calories per day from sugar, on average, which may be 300% more than 50 years ago (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18).
Research continues to highlight the role of high-fructose corn syrup and fructose in obesity. It can also add visceral fat, a harmful type of fat that surrounds your organs.
4. Excessive Intake is Linked to Diabetes
In healthy people, insulin increases in response to the consumption of carbs, transporting them out of the bloodstream and into cells.
However, regularly consuming excess fructose can make your body resistant to insulin's effects (19Trusted Source).
This decreases your body's ability to control blood sugar levels. Over the long term, both insulin and blood sugar levels increase.
In addition to diabetes, HFCS may play a role in metabolic syndrome, which has been linked to many diseases, including heart disease and certain cancers (20Trusted Source).
Excessive intake of high-fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which are both key contributors to type 2 diabetes and many other serious diseases.
5. Can Increase the Risk of Other Serious Diseases
Many serious diseases have been linked to the overconsumption of fructose.
HFCS and sugar have been shown to drive inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
In addition to inflammation, excess fructose may increase harmful substances called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which may harm your cells (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
Considering all of the health issues and diseases linked to the excessive intake of HFCS and sugar, it may come as no surprise that studies are starting to link them to an increased risk of heart disease and reduced life expectancy (3Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Excessive HFCS intake is linked to an increased risk of numerous diseases, including heart disease.
6. Contains No Essential Nutrients
Like other added sugars, high fructose corn syrup is "empty" calories.
While it contains plenty of calories, it offers no essential nutrients.
Thus, eating HFCS will decrease the total nutrient content of your diet, as the more HFCS you consume, the less room you have for nutrient-dense foods.
The Bottom Line
Over the past few decades, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become affordable and widely available.
Experts now attribute its excessive intake to many serious health issues, including obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, among others.
Avoiding high-fructose corn syrup — and added sugar in general — may be one of the most effective ways to improve your health and lower your risk of disease.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.
The Hedonometer measures happiness through analysis of key words on Twitter, which is now used by one in five Americans. This chart covers 18 months from early 2019 to July 2020, showing major dips in 2020. hedonometer.org<p>These same tweets also indicate a potential salve. Before pandemic lockdowns began, doctoral student <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0P0ZYbIAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">Aaron Schwartz</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10045" target="_blank">compared tweets before, during, and after visits to 150 parks, playgrounds and plazas</a> in San Francisco. He found that park visits corresponded with a spike in happiness, followed by an afterglow lasting up to four hours.</p><p>Tweets from parks contained fewer negative words such as "no," "not" and "can't," and fewer first-person pronouns like "I" and "me." It seems that nature makes people more positive and less self-obsessed.</p><p>Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. Research has also shown that transmission rates for COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Is-risk-of-coronavirus-transmission-lower-15287602.php" target="_blank">much lower outdoors than inside</a>. As scholars who study <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=yFzb2EUAAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">conservation</a> and how nature <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=CCnUeN8AAAAJ&hl=en" target="_blank">contributes to human well-being</a>, we see opening up parks and creating new ones as a straightforward remedy for Americans' current blues.</p>
Park Visits Are Up During the Pandemic<p>According to the Hedonometer, sentiments expressed online started trending lower in mid-March as the impacts of the pandemic became clear. As lockdowns continued, they registered the lowest sentiment scores on record. Then in late May, effects from George Floyd's death in police custody and the following protests and police response once again could be seen on Twitter. May 31, 2020 was the saddest day of the project.</p><p>Recent surveys of park visitors around the University of Vermont have shown people <a href="https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/sd3h6" target="_blank">using green spaces more</a> since COVID-19 lockdowns began. Many people reported that parks were highly important to their well-being during the pandemic.</p>
<div id="4c7e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bc0ac146ab2a94228f32d973fc2ab272"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1289428912879964160" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">#Goldengatepark #sf #quarantinemood https://t.co/9l3ufnbkt6</div> — Suvd (@Suvd)<a href="https://twitter.com/Suvd19486406/statuses/1289428912879964160">1596258783.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The powerful effects of nature are strongest in large parks with more trees, but smaller neighborhood parks also provide a significant boost. Their impact on happiness is real, measurable and lasting.</p><p>Twitter records show that parks increase happiness to a level similar to the bounce at Christmas, which typically is the happiest day of the year. Schwartz has since expanded his <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.10658.pdf" target="_blank">Twitter study</a> to the 25 largest cities in the U.S. and found this bounce everywhere.</p><p>Parks and public spaces won't cure COVID-19 or stop police brutality, but they are far more than playgrounds. There is growing evidence that parks contribute to mental and physical health in a range of communities.</p><p>In a 2015 study, for example, Stanford researchers sent people out for one of two walks: through a local park or on a busy street. Those who walked in nature showed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005" target="_blank">improved moods and better memory performance</a> compared to the urban group. And a team led by <a href="https://penniur.upenn.edu/people/eugenia-gina-south" target="_blank">Gina South</a> of the University of Pennsylvania showed in a 2018 study that greening and cleaning up blighted vacant lots in Philadelphia <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298" target="_blank">reduced local residents' feelings of depression, worthlessness and poor mental health</a>.</p>
Creative Strategies<p>It isn't easy to create new parks on the scale of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park or the Washington Mall, but smaller projects can expand outdoor space. Options include greening vacant lots, closing streets and investing in existing parks to make them safer, greener and shadier and support wildlife.</p><p>These initiatives don't have to be capital-intensive. In the University of Pennsylvania study, for example, renovating a vacant lot by removing trash, planting grass and trees and installing a low fence cost only about US$1,600.</p><p>Urban green space is most needed in neighborhoods that have lacked funding for parks, especially given <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/08/nyregion/coronavirus-race-deaths.html" target="_blank">COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx people</a>.</p><p>Cities can also create parklike spaces by <a href="https://theconversation.com/with-fewer-cars-on-us-streets-now-is-the-time-to-reinvent-roadways-and-how-we-use-them-140408" target="_blank">closing streets to cars</a>. Many cities worldwide are currently retooling their transportation systems for the post-COVID-19 world in order to <a href="https://thecityfix.com/blog/bicycles-slower-speeds-livable-city-paris-mayor-anne-hidalgo-plans-ambitious-second-term-dario-hidalgo/" target="_blank">reallocate public space</a>, widen sidewalks and make more space for nature.</p><p>Urban designers, artists, ecologists and other citizens can play a direct role, too, creating pop-up parks and green spaces. Some advocates <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-15/a-brief-history-of-park-ing-day" target="_blank">transform parking spaces into mini-parks</a> with grass, potted trees and seating for just the time on the meter, to make a larger point about turning so much public space over to cars.</p><p>Or cities can invest a little more. Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Arlington, Virginia, have won <a href="https://www.tpl.org/parkscore" target="_blank">national recognition</a> for their ambitious investments in public park systems. These areas could serve as models for neighborhoods that lack access to parks.</p>
<div id="25fd0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="383f0d2df0237e9359c30dcce6cd6c42"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1276558744835379201" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Looking to safely get outside? Check out the best parks for social distancing in this year's top ten ParkScore citi… https://t.co/HJjEtDsrTD</div> — The Trust for Public Land (@The Trust for Public Land)<a href="https://twitter.com/tpl_org/statuses/1276558744835379201">1593190296.0</a></blockquote></div>
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