What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a widely used sweetener in the United States. As corn prices plummeted in the 1970s, HFCS was developed to make use of the corn crop in other products. It’s used in an increasingly wide variety of products in the last three decades, from soft drinks to baked goods. It is often one of the largest ingredients in sweet products, frequently taking the first to third place on the food products ingredients labels mandated in the United States.
You might think that such a widely used product with a 30+ year track record would be safe. The HFCS manufacturers in the United States have been running a campaign to convince the public that’s the case. You can take a look at the web-based portion of this campaign at HFCSfacts.com: You’re in for a Sweet Surprise.
HFCS May Be Implicated in the US Obesity and Diabetes Epidemics
The reality is that HFCS has for years been suspected to be involved in the epidemic rise of obesity and diabetes in the United States. Numerous studies have found indications that the increasing use of HFCS may correlate with the increase in obesity and diabetes over a similar period of time. Unsurprisingly, HFCS manufacturers refute this, claiming that there is no credible scientific evidence to support such conclusions.
HFCS is Often Contaminated with Mercury
However, much more alarming news about HFCS has been announced this month. Recent studies of samples of HFCS and food products containing it in the United States conducted via two studies found that between 31% and 45% of the samples contained mercury. Mercury is toxic in even small quantities. For years, there have been suspicions that mercury used in vaccines may be related to the rise in autism in the United States. But this mercury contamination issue is much bigger and affects common foods widespread throughout the nation’s food supply. Products tested from big-name manufacturers such as Minute Maid, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Quaker, Hunt’s, Manwich, Smucker’s, Kraft, Nutri-Grain, and Yoplait had detectable levels of mercury.