High Fructose Corn Syrup: Not-So-Sweet for Your Health

What did The Walton’s, The Andy Griffith Show and Little House on the Prairie have in common? They pulled on your heartstrings -- even if they were kinda sappy. In some things, a touch of corniness is welcome.

But when it comes to your food, researchers at UC Davis and the US Department of Agriculture, Western Human Nutrition Research Center say even a little high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) should have you turning the channel (so to speak) and choosing HFCS-free foods. The scientists found consuming a moderate amount of HFCS (equivalent to half a can of soda at breakfast, lunch and dinner) for two weeks can amp up lousy LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while boosting your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Eighty-five healthy volunteers were divided into three groups: One group got drinks sweetened with a 25% concentration of HFCS, one with 17.5% and a third with 10%. The 25-percenters saw their LDL go up from 91mg/dL to 107; the other HFCS-drinking groups went from 93-95 to 102. (Healthy levels are below 100; for some it’s around 70.)

Unfortunately, in 2009 each North American ate more than 35 pounds of HFCS -- now some say it’s up to 66 pounds! And heart woes aren’t the only problem researchers report HFCS can trigger: Scientific articles say it leads to weight gain by inhibiting secretion of the stop-eating-hormone leptin, and never shutting off the feed-me-more hormone ghrelin. So read ingredients labels on every food you buy and go with fruits and berries for your natural sweet-treats.


Starches, sugars and fiber are the carbohydrates in food. Carbohydrates are a molecule that plants make during photosynthesis, combining carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are very important in your body's metabolism because they generally the part of food that is digested most quickly. Carbohydrates can give you quick energy, and cause a rise in blood sugar levels. Diabetics, in particular, need to pay attention to the carbohydrates they eat to help manage their blood sugar. Some carbohydrates, those found in whole grains and leafy vegetables, for example have a much slower impact on blood sugar than carbohydrates in fruits or candy. It's easy to consume a lot of carbohydrates, as foods like breads, pasta, cake, cookies and potatoes are loaded with them. Nutrition experts suggest that you should only get 45 to 65 percent of your daily nutrition from carbohydrates. More