Halloween has come and gone, but for many, a bucketful of candy remains. It is estimated that approximately 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the U.S. each year for Halloween. Halloween is a reminder that the rest of the holiday season is quickly approaching which means even more candy, cookies, cakes, and sweets. Each of these has one common ingredient that you need to watch out for–high fructose corn syrup. While very tasty in sweet treats, it is not even remotely close to being good for you. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is in many common products, so it’s important to be aware of just how much you are consuming.
What’s So Bad About High Fructose Corn Syrup?
A diet loaded with HFCS is linked to a multitude of health issues. Here are just a few concerning factors:
Besides the fact that HFCS is full of empty calories and zero nutrients, studies have shown that it plays a big role in increased body weight and accumulation of fat.
Since the liver has to work harder to process the HFCS into glucose, high consumption can lead to higher-than-normal levels of fat in the liver. The liver works harder than normal, leading to fatty liver disease. This can lead to heart disease, dementia, and diabetes.
Chronic Health Issues
HFCS is linked to chronic inflammation. Serious chronic health issues such as heart disease and cancer are associated with high levels of inflammation in the body.
Foods Containing High Fructose Corn Syrup
Since HFCS is less expensive to produce than other sweeteners, it is used in far more foods than you might think. In addition to candy, some of the most common foods that contain HFCS include:
- Soda – Consumption of too much soda is already linked to health concerns, so the addition of HFCS just adds another reason to consume it in moderate amounts, if at all.
- Juice – While you may think juice to be a healthy alternative to sugar-laden sodas, many contain HFCS, so be sure to check the labels.
- Fast Food – Foods that are highly processed are loaded with ingredients that aren’t healthy. Sauces and sweets served at fast-food restaurants are likely to contain HFCS.
- Packaged Foods – Pastries, cakes, cookies, bread, frozen breakfast items, pizza, fruit cups, and applesauce generally all contain HFCS.
- Condiments – Ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, cranberry sauce, jams, and jellies contain HFCS in large amounts.
Alternatives to High Fructose Corn Syrup
Now that we have covered how bad HFCS is for you and how many foods it is hidden in, Charlotte chiropractor Dr. Grant Lisetor at Greater Life Chiropractic has some tips to help reduce the amount you consume. One of the easiest ways to avoid HFCS is to make your own treats. Choose natural sweeteners to cook with, such as organic cane sugar or syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, agave syrup, or stevia. Another option is choosing organic candies or chocolate, which are less processed and typically sweetened with organic cane sugar or other healthier alternatives. Eating fruits such as apples, grapes, and cherries is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the harmful effects of HFCS.
Simply cutting down on how much sugar you consume can greatly improve your overall health and wellbeing. Involve your whole family in eating well to ensure you’re all on a path to greater health! Another way to encourage a healthier lifestyle is through chiropractic care. Dr. Grant Lisetor of Greater Life Chiropractic loves to assist his practice members on their journey to better health. Contact us today to explore the benefits of chiropractic care!
Te Morenga L, Mallard S, Mann J. Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies. 2013. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK116814/