Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The myriad charges against HFCS

Several of the "charges" levied against HFCS have been referenced in previous posts on this blog; one of the troubling issues for me is that there seems to be little consensus.  It is clear that some "scientists" and scientific/medical organizations have countered existing studies without saying much more than "more research needs to be done."  The studies that have been done have often been done under extreme conditions (i.e. involving unrealistic levels of fructose, etc.)  Of course, it is not unusual for such studies to be conducted under these circumstances.  The problem this set of circumstances poses for consumers interested in gaining clarity on HFCS is that there's so much politics involved.  There are few definitive, objective, politically independent, scientific studies about HFCS and the effects it has on digestion, as well as other health-related side-effects of HFCS consumption.

Unfortunately all I can do is talk about this deficit; sadly my background and training doesn't make me qualified to judge reports i read from scientific/medical journals.  I can research it until i am blue in the face but i can't do more than be a critical reader, checking footnotes and noting sources.

So, what are the charges levied against HFCS? In the interest of objectivity, i will word these "charges" in such a way as to suggest that we do not have definitive answers. The litany of charges includes:

  • HFCS may be a contributing factor to the increasing numbers of obese Americans
    • due to the fact that it is so widely used (it is present in items one would never suspect of containing sugar and even in some items that prior to the invention of HFCS would not have contained sugar)
    • due to the fact that it may not stimulate feelings of fullness (because it may actually cause leptin resistance), thus leading to a lack of satiation
  • HFCS may be linked to an increase in diabetes cases and may cause insulin resistance
  • HFCS may contain trace amounts of mercury
  • HFCS may cause memory impairment
  • HFCS, when heated, may be a factor leading to bee colony collapse (due to the formation of  Hydroxymethylfurfural)
  • HFCS, due to it being metabolized in the liver,  may cause a rapid increase of high triglycerides
  • HFCS, again due to how it is metabolized, may be linked to fatty liver disease
  • HFCS consumption may cause a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid 
  • HFCS may have some negative impact on collagen in the skin
  • HFCS seems to have some impact on the way the body stores and absorbs minerals
  • HFCS will cause scales to form on the palms of your hands and your fingernails may fall out as a result.

Ok, that last one was a joke. 

If you know of some "charges" i left out or if you have inputs on anything related to these issues, please post!

No comments:

Post a Comment