The High Fructose Smokescreen

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The debate surrounding the safety of High Fructose Corn Syrup is bubbling. The internet is abuzz with cries for the return of sugar to replace the suspect corn sweetener. This spring expect to see high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) removed from some familiar beverage brands. Snapple owner Dr Pepper Snapple Group just announced that it will be replacing HFCS in its line of Snapple teas with sugar. PepsiCo has joined in the fun with its new Throwback versions of sugar-sweetened Pepsi and Mountain Dew.

 

The High Fructose Corn Syrup debate centers around studies that suggest 

 

HFCS contains mercury which could cause liver damage. HFCS undergoes chemical processing and there is evidence of trace amounts of mercury. The question is how much? And is it at a harmful level? 

 

Others continue to charge that the ingredient contributes to obesity.  Just like its cousin, sugar, if you consume too much, you’ll take in too many calories and bump up your weight. Most sweetener and obesity researchers, however, have concluded that the link to obesity is no worse than sugar, and that the jury is still out on the mercury/liver issue.

 

All this hubbub is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

 

Whether we drink or eat products made with HFCS, refined sugar, natural sugar or sugar in the “raw,” one fact does not change: they all tally roughly the same calories.

 

Rather than argue about the relative merits of high calorie sweeteners, we must focus our attention on sliding our habits over to consuming lower calorie options. This is the only way that we can make a dent into the nation’s overweight and obesity crisis. More importantly, obesity must be conquered because it sets us up for some of the top 5 killers: diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

 

The debate surrounding artificial sweeteners continues to percolate. The Hobbesian question remains unanswered: Are they safe or are we better off drinking a regular soft drink? While no clear consensus has emerged, several obesity and sweetener researchers are reaching the conclusion that non-nutritive sweeteners, because of their dearth of calories and no long term toxicity, would be the better option under the circumstances. One recent university study even affirmed that there was no clear evidence that they increased appetite.

 

The only effective way to take a bite out of obesity and related diabetes, heart disease and strokes is by reducing calories. The argument surrounding sugar versus HFCS is simply a smokescreen. Better to drink a Coca-Cola Zero or Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters than a high calorie beverage. And they’re still plenty profitable for the marketers.

One Response to “The High Fructose Smokescreen”

  1. This is really first rate. Can’t wait for new posts from you. Thank you so much for this.

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