High-fructose corn syrup is known for its widespread use among the food supply. From residing in soft drinks, juice beverages, processed foods, and even ‘all-natural’ products, high-fructose corn syrup has been subject to a large degree of controversy. The Corn Refiners Association (CRA), a large organization that represents the corn refining industry, has continued to assert that high-fructose corn syrup is completely safe and perfectly ‘natural’, yet many health experts are calling the organization out on their claims. In fact, the CRA even attempted to changed the name of high-fructose corn syrup to ‘corn sugar’ as research revealed the true nature of the substance.
What the research shows is that high-fructose corn syrup is not the same as regular table sugar, despite the claims of the CRA and advocates of the ingredient. In fact, one study performed by Princeton found that high-fructose corn syrup ingestion in rats prompted considerably more weight gain than table sugar — even when caloric intake was the same. The team found that when rats consumed levels of high-fructose corn syrup considerably below the amount present in soda, they became obese. It wasn’t an isolated incident, either. According to Princeton weight and sugar addiction professor Bart Hoebel, all of the rats in the study became obese after being administered the levels of high-fructose corn syrup.
Even more concerning than the link between obesity and high-fructose corn syrup, however, is the fact that high-fructose corn syrup has been found to contain the toxic element mercury. Toxic in all forms, two studies found that around half of tested high-fructose corn syrup samples contained mercury. What’s more, mercury was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products which contained high-fructose corn syrup as the first-or-second-highest labeled ingredient. Despite public outrage over the findings and consumer groups demanding the FDA to take action, the agency has still done nothing to address the presence of mercury in the processed food supply.
Common food items that contain high-fructose corn syrup include:
- Juice beverages
- Iced tea products
- Breakfast cereals
- Breads and baked goods
- Breakfast bars
- Salad dressings
- Candy bars