Dangerously Sweet: High Fructose Corn Syrup and Diabetes
While those within the fructose industry lead us to believe high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is like any other sugar we use (cue the bad commercials), there are many food and health professionals that strongly believe otherwise. Not to mention a 2012 study, published in the Journal of Global Health, has found that countries using high fructose corn syrup have 20% higher rate of diabetes than countries that don’t. But, why is that?
While the Corn Refiners Association says that HFCS is healthy when consumed in moderation, just like table sugar, there is an important difference between the two: corn syrup does not turn off the appetite. In fact, it does quite the opposite.
For diabetics, HFCS does not stimulate insulin secretion or reduce ghrelin, the hormone that tells us we’re hungry. Instead, fructose causes your uric acid levels to rise, which blocks insulin from storing the sugar for proper energy use. Basically, HFCS limits your body in its ability to metabolize food and regulate appetite. Thus, as fructose is turned into fat, you continue eating more.
Health and diabetes professionals have found that the growing use of HFCS runs parallel to the rise in obesity in US – the top consumer of HFCS in the world, consuming 55lbs of HFCS a year.
Where Can You Find HFCS?
If you’re battling type 2 diabetes, or on the road to pre-diabetes, it’s important to know what foods contain HFCS and how to avoid them. It is used as a sweetener in a variety of foods and drinks, including:
- Pancake syrup
- Cereals and cereal bars
- Breads and baked goods
- Salad dressings
- Juice and cocktails
- Nutrition bars
- Canned peanuts
- Canned fruit
- Canned soups
- Frozen foods and pre-made foods
If you’re trying to control or avoid diabetes, HFCS should be non-existent in your diet. That means avoiding is an absolute necessity. There are a number of ways you can avoid the cleverly disguised HFCS in prepackaged and processed foods. Make your own food when possible to ensure quality ingredients are being used.
- Make your own salad dressings: Find high quality oils and vinegars, even those that are infused with spices, to create yummy salad toppers.
- Sauces can also be easily made beginning with a can of stewed tomatoes. Add a variety of spices to make it your own. Use apple cider vinegar for tenderizing and tart flavor!
- Stop drinking soda: If you like soda for the carbonation, then switch to seltzer, or make your own seltzer and add in natural sweeteners such as vanilla. Better yet, try Kombucha, a fizzy, fermented drink with a tangy taste that is loaded with probiotics.
- Read ingredients: Not every packaged food has HFCS, so be sure to read the ingredients list of each and every item. Look out for ingredients disguised as HFCS. Many manufacturers will list these names just in case you are looking at ingredients and want to avoid HFCS. Some other names for HFCS are:
- Glucose-Fructose Syrup
- Iso Glucose
- Fruit Fructose
- Corn Sugar
Health professionals have found that HFCS is a major culprit in the rise of diabetes. Because it causes uric acids level to rise, keeping the sugar from being stored for energy, your likelihood of gaining weight increases. The more HFCS food you eat, the more at-risk you are for obesity and diabetes.
So, whether you already have diabetes, or are pre-diabetic, it’s important you avoid this fructose ingredient all together. By making your own foods, being aware of ingredients and turning to soda alternatives, you can lower your chances of diabetes and live a healthier life.