Hard and Fasts part II- Corn Syrup

For my next installation of Rules To Eat By, I am proud to present….Cooooorn Syrup!!!

If you Google High Fructose Corn Syrup, the first link that comes up is for a website called “Sweet Surprise”. This website is a desperate attempt being made by the Corn Syrup council to save face for their food-type product in light of tremendous quantities of evidence questioning the safety of HFCS ingestion.

The catch phrase splattered all over the site is “corn syrup is fine in moderation, just like sugar!”

No. Your body recognizes real sugar and fruit fructose. It knows how to break it down and use it for energy. HFCS is shunted to the liver, where the liver proceeds to wrap up the HFCS moleules in a lipid layer (read” lipid= fat) in order to prevent its absorbtion. Kind of like when you shove all your junk into the closet when company comes over, so that it appears you are not a total slob! This produces Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome (non-alcoholic because it’s usually alcoholics who have fatty livers due to the liver trying to protect itself and the body from harm. This is why alcoholics have big bellies…that and also due to the grains in alcohol. Check this out!)

Problem is, it’s presence is surpassing sugar in food products! That bottle of “Maple” syrup in a plastic container you pick up at Ralphs is the farthest thing from real maple syrup that comes from a tree. It’s artificial maple flavoring in corn syrup. Soda contains more HFCS than sugar. In your Heinz ketchup…HFCS. In your tomato sauce, candy bar, fruit juice, breakfast cereal, INFANT FORMULA (!), protein drink, vitamins, tortillas, bread…foods you wouldn’t even expect to have corn syrup…there it is! So how are we supposed to have it “in moderation”? Infant formula? Here is the link to an article by Dr. Sears for Parenting Magazine.

If you watch the advertising videos on Sweet Surprise, there is a common theme; the person speaking out about corn syrup had no information to back up their claims. Well, too bad for them, because I do…or rather Dr.Mercola has already done the work for me here.

They call corn syrup natural? Really? You be the judge, here is how it’s manufactured (does “manufactured” sound natural?):

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. It all sounds rather simple–white cornstarch is turned into crystal clear syrup. However, the process is actually very complicated. Three different enzymes are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose.

First, cornstarch is treated with alpha-amylase to produce shorter chains of sugars called polysaccharides. Alpha-amylase is industrially produced by a bacterium, usually Bacillus sp. It is purified and then shipped to HFCS manufacturers.

Next, an enzyme called glucoamylase breaks the sugar chains down even further to yield the simple sugar glucose. Unlike alpha-amylase, glucoamylase is produced by Aspergillus, a fungus, in a fermentation vat where one would likely see little balls of Aspergillus floating on the top.

The third enzyme, glucose-isomerase, is very expensive. It converts glucose to a mixture of about 42 percent fructose and 50-52 percent glucose with some other sugars mixed in. While alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are added directly to the slurry, pricey glucose-isomerase is packed into columns and the sugar mixture is then passed over it. Inexpensive alpha-amylase and glucoamylase are used only once, glucose-isomerase is reused until it loses most of its activity.

There are two more steps involved. First is a liquid chromatography step that takes the mixture to 90 percent fructose. Finally, this is back-blended with the original mixture to yield a final concentration of about 55 percent fructose–what the industry calls high fructose corn syrup.

DO NOT ingest corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.

Corn syrup is an epidemic! Read the ingredients on every bit of packaged product you buy!

Also, read Michael Pollan’s books. All of them. Especially The Omnivores Dilemma.


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