The dangers of fructose sweetener
Let's play a supermarket game called "Find the High Fructose Corn Syrup. " Head down an aisle. Grab an item. Read a label. OK, too easy easy...
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Let's play a supermarket game called "Find the High Fructose Corn Syrup." Head down an aisle. Grab an item. Read a label.
OK, too easy. High fructose corn syrup, a sweetener used by food makers, seems to be nearly as common a food ingredient as water and salt. That's troubling because the sweetener packs in added calories, which eventually pack on the pounds, many nutritionists say.
What is it?
High fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive sweetener made from corn. It's used for sweetness and to promote freshness, soft texture and flavor stability. It's common in soft drinks, canned fruits, baked goods, condiments, flavored milk, yogurt, ice cream and lots of processed foods.
For a real grocery-store challenge, play the game the opposite way. Hunt down the items that don't contain the sweetener. Amanda Welch plays this game. Actually it's more of a personal mission.
"It's a very small list," said Welch, a Kansas City hairstylist. "I realized I'm pretty much eating corn syrup all day — every day."
She expected to find it in cookies, ice cream, drinks, etc. The shocker, she said, is how often it shows up in items we don't think of as sweet. But here it was in hot dogs, pickles, ketchup, hummus, yogurt and bread, to name a few.
John Scott, owner of Scott Fitness and Welch's fiancé, has played the game, too, and says it's a revelation. "We didn't evolve to eat the amount of fructose we're now finding in our foods," he said.
Some researchers believe the ill effects of high fructose corn syrup are worse than regular table sugar. Others say our bodies react about the same to sugar and to high fructose corn syrup.
One thing is certain: Added calories are making us fatter.
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