People food for thought Part XXII; High fructose Corn syrup

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part II;Hidden sugar in food“, I wrote that I came across
article about the hidden sugar at Chicago tribune website written by Julie
Deardorff, and gave you a list of food that contains hidden sugar as examples.

According to Julie Deardorff article, American Heart
Association now have new guideline for sugar intake. For women, 25 grams
of added sugar is boarder line sugar amount, and for men, it is 37.5
grams of added sugar is border line for guideline.

Julie lists example in her article with Coca-cola. She writes, 12 ounce can of Coca-cola has 39grams of sugar already. That is above the guideline for both men and women, and many would be consuming more than 3 times of what American Heart Association recommends.

When you think about it, sugars are added to many products. The article says, if you read the food label and find “High Fructose Corn syrup” or “Cane juice” in top 3 ingredients, it has lots of added sugar in it and not a healthy choice.

You can read Julie Deardorff article on “how much sugar should you eat” here .

In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part XVIII;Artificial sweetener“, I wrote about what artificial sweeteners are,what the definition of the claim “zero calorie” is, different kinds of artificial sweetener and its description and comparison with table sugar.

Here, I would like to write about popular ingredient you can find on the label of  many of processed food “High Fructose corn syrup”.

When you hear the name of the ingredient “High fructose corn syrup”, you would know that it is not a good ingredients to find in the food label because you would hear about it being bad in media.

High fructose syrup can be found in so many processed foods as sweetener from cookies,sodas, bread, pizza,cereal, lunch meat such as packaged ham, flavored yogurt, soup,fruit juice,condiments such as ketchup,salad dressing etc..

According to nutrition diva website article written by Monica Reinagel, it is found in highly processed, calorie dense food without a lot of nutrition value.

Especially, in the states, whole grain bread is pushed as great kinds of bread to have, but in reality, when you flip the products over to read the food labels, you would soon notice that there are long list of ingredients and often times, high fructose corn syrup can be found as one of the ingredients.

You can read more on whole grain in the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part IF;Whole Grain“.

With cereal, boxes comes with terms like “bran”, “healthy”,”whole grain” etc but in reality, they are very sugary food and, some of them come with artificial coloring and you would most likely find high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list right away.

Same goes yogurt. Plain yogurt is very healthy because it got good bacteria acidophiles, and it is good source of calcium also but then, if you pick the flavored kind, it is sweetened up with high fructose corn syrup and naturally healthy food becomes not so healthy products with snap.

Since high fructose corn syrup can be found in many processed food, if you consume lots of processed food, you would be consuming a lot of sugar in the short period of time.

Therefore, if you were to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in the diet, cooking with fresh food would lessen the amount of sugar consumed, and it makes sense to have less processed food on the table everyday.

According to the nutrition diva website article written by Monica Reinagel, refined sugar affects appetite and metabolism in a way to promote obesity.

Primary agent of this effects is fructose that you can find in concentrated sweetener.

What exactly is high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is,according to benefits of honey website, highly processed sweetener widely used in processed food,and beverages and they are made from white corn starch.

Glucose is taken out from it and,processed it further to retrieve the fructose.

They point out that high fructose corn syrup has long shelf life and blend well with food, and cheap so it became popular choice of sweetener in the processed food.

Therefore, processed food that contains high fructose corn syrup in the products is not only food itself is highly processed but also contains highly processed refined sugar as sweetener.

Monica at nutrition diva website states that high fructose corn syrup contains roughly the same amount of fructose as honey,cane sugar, and fruit juice concentrate and agave have higher fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

She also points out that just because high fructose corn syrup is swapped with other kind of sweetener such as cane syrup does not necessary means better,and the reason why high fructose corn syrup gets bad rep in the media is because high fructose corn syrup is widely used in many processed food, and it is the source of fructose (sugar).

We should look at intake of fructose (sugar) in the overall diet not singling out the high fructose corn syrup and pick the other item made with cane syrup etc.

Her example being coca cola made with high fructose corn syrup is not necessary be better with coca cola made with cane syrup or other sweetener.

So here it is. 12 oz can of coca cola ingredients are as following.

Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup,caramel color,phosphoric acid,natural flavor, and caffeine

1 can is 140 kcal and contains 39 grams of sugar

Here is a ingredients list for Pepsi Throwback cola

Carbonated water,sugar,caramel color,phosphoric acid, caffeine and natural flavor

As you can see, two products ingredients are identical and just high fructose corn syrup is swapped with sugar.

1 can is 150 kcal and contains 40 grams of sugar

When you pick up the products made with real sugar, you may feel better inside, but in reality, it is not necessary be better and what you did was just picked up the items ingredient was swapped but provide roughly the same amount of fructose.

She also points out that when you eat fruits, you will be consuming fructose via form of whole foods. Since fruits are not processed food, you would be getting much less fructose compared to the amount of fructose you get via daily consumption of processed food such as sweets,sodas, sweetened beverage etc..

Here is an example. Lets say you ate 1 cup of raw sliced apple without skin. It will be 110 grams in weight (roughly about 4 oz wt).

You will be getting 53 kcal when you eat one cup of sliced apple, and sugar you get by eating that way is 11 grams.

Remember coca cola 12 oz can was 140 -150 kcal and roughly 40 grams of sugar?

That means, you must consume roughly 3 -4 cup of sliced apples (330 -440 grams/12 oz -16 oz wt) to get the  same amount of sugar to the soft drink.

You can see the nutrient profile of 1 cup of sliced raw apple at self nutritiondata website here.

I think her word is wise word because the goal should be cutting back sugar (fructose) itself not just high fructose corn syrup.

Now I looked coca cola/pepsi ingredients list, I wonder what exactly natural flavor is… It does not specify what it is and I am curious about it.

I think that choosing the right products with right ingredients can help reducing the amount of fructose consumed in our diet, but best way to cut back the fructose in our diet is to start cooking with fresh food.

You can see what you are eating and you can adjust the amount of sugar/salt etc and they are without fillers with great nutrition value.

To read full article at nutrition diva website by Monica Reinagel,please click here.


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Jan 02, 2012 | 0 | People Health

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