Fructose corn syrup unsafeBy Philip Chua
Cebu Daily News
What is fructose corn syrup?
Fructose corn syrup is sugar from corn or corn sugar. This is processed sweetener. Anything processed food item is unhealthy. This ingredient is found in hundreds of food items on the market, including baby formula and baby food.
Why are manufacturers using fructose corn syrup?
Although HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) has been deemed unhealthy for any of us, especially for babies and children, this ingredient is widely used “to preserve and increase product quality while adding taste, texture, and freshness to products,” besides stability and consistency (lower freezing point, making it easier to thaw). In baking, HFCS gives superior browning and sweeter flavor, and in a cheaper way. This is why HFCS is used in most products.
What sweetener has been linked to high arsenic level?
Some baby formulas using organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) as a sweetener “may be contaminated with high level of arsenic,” the type that is carcinogenic (cancer-forming),” as published in medical literature and even in the Consumer Reports magazine.
What are the concerns with HFCS?
Some of the popular formula brands parents are feeding babies and children have dangerously high levels of corn sugar and sugar, which have contributed to baby obesity and childhood diabetes (many victims are as young as six months old). And obviously, these innocent victims of decisions and choices made by us, adults, would eventually render these children less healthy and with short-changing their potential longevity. This was the reason why I chose this as the title of my coffee-table health book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children, recently published in the United States and soon to be published in the Philippines, with tips and pointers on how to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. (View details of this and other health risks at philipSchua.com)
What are the other dangers linked to HFCS?
While those with vested financial interest in products that contain HFCS and OBRS tell the public these are safe ingredients, the scientific data point the other way: these substances are unhealthy, unsafe. Consumption of these ingredients in any food items has been linked to behavioral illnesses also, like attention deficit disorders (ADD), drowsiness during daytime, insomnia at night and anxiety reactions. Other risks include dental cavities, high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, and nutritional deficiencies, which might be subtle to escape notice. Sugars in general are bad for our health, most significantly, among infants and children. The less sugar we use, the better, because these sugars, after our body metabolizes them, pack our body with fat also, carbs transformed to fat. The public understanding that carbs (sugars) only cause our glucose level to shoot up and only increase our risk for obesity and diabetes is false. Sugars also leads to high fat level in the body, elevating our risk for heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are not aware of this.
Are soft drinks unhealthy too?
Yes, soft drinks, which I call “liquid candy” in my book, because they are loaded with sugar, are most unhealthy, especially for kids. Cola or “uncola” or decaffeinated, diet, or regular, all pose health hazards, leading to a cluster of diseases called Metabolic Syndrome. Again, parents who enjoy soft drinks and introduce their children to these unhealthy “liquid candies” are exposing the children this subtle “poison” and possibly shortening their lifespan. The adverse effects take decades and so subtle that the public does not seem to realize what we are doing to ourselves and to our children.
How about fruit juices and sport drinks?
There are drinks labeled as “fruit juices or fruit drinks,” which are nothing but flavored sugar solutions. As for sport drinks, the original Gatorade with electrolytes that do not taste sweet is a good sport drink, but not the later version with added sugar. Fruit juices are better than soft drinks, but remember these juices are also loaded with sugar, natural fructose, and those with pre-diabetes or diabetes or family history of diabetes should be prudent in drinking fruit juices daily. Also, it is best to eat the fresh fruits than their juices, because eating them provides fiber too. For non-diabetic normal-weight kids, fresh fruits are healthy. For thirst and hydration, nothing beats fresh, filtered water, even eight glasses or more a day. Remember, it is unhealthy to consume more than 100 calories in the form of added sugar to our diet, on top of what is already in the food we eat, as in adding soft drinks or juices to what we eat. Drinking one can of regular soft drinks adds about 20 pounds to the body weight each year in most people.
Are “energy” drinks safe?
There are a variety of “energy” drinks on the market which contain high level of caffeine plus alcohol. These are supposed to be “waker-uppers” and “stamina” energizers. In this column more than two years ago—on April 26, 2010—we warned the public about the dangers of caffeinated energy drink plus alcohol, with the following article:
“Combining alcoholic beverage with caffeine energy drink is a popular cocktail today. This mix has been found to be dangerous, leading to higher state of drunkenness and severely impaired driving, compared to drinking alcoholic drink alone. “There’s a very common misconception that if you drink caffeine with an alcoholic beverage the stimulant effect of the caffeine counteracts the depressant effect of the alcohol, and that is not true,” says Bruce Goldberger, director of toxicology in the University of Florida College of Medicine. Being wide awake and drunk can lead to dangerous, if not deadly, behaviors.”
What is the best strategy to address these issues?
Having the accurate medical facts is essential. On the internet, we must be careful in selecting which of the conflicting data is medical truth, and which are advertisements deceptively worded like medical info. If they are from a manufacturer or a vendor, be wary, although some of these are legitimate and science-based.
Further surfing on other sites will eventually give anyone a good idea as to which are medical and which are self-serving business ads. Articles from CDC (Center for Disease Control), FDA, other government health agencies, and online newsletters from renowned medical centers are more credible. If in doubt, read current health books or consult your physician.
When choosing formulas for babies or milk for children, parents should read the content label, even of those famous top brands, like Enfamil, Similac, Gerber, Magnolia, Selecta, etc. Reading and understanding the label of any and all food items before purchasing and using them is an intelligent way to a healthier food consumption and safer product usage. After all, prevention is the wiser and cheaper way to maximize health and longevity.
*For more health tips, please visit: philipSchua.com
More from this Column:
- Vegetables versus cancer
- Red meat raises risk for cancer
- Controversial medical therapies
- Warning: Phthalates poison
- Detox diets are harmful