A Sweet Death?
For a moment, imagine you are a very health conscious person. You start the mornings off with a brewed cup of coffee, a newspaper, and your favorite cereal. As you eat, you are comforted in seeing the bold print on the packaging that reads, “Loaded with vitamins and minerals.” However, you become curious and decide to investigate the back panel of ingredients to see if it is as wholesome as it leads you to believe. The number one ingredient is enriched wheat flour. You are content as you swallow the next to last spoonful of your shredded richness. The second ingredient is honey, another that reinforces your feelings of responsible eating. Ingredients three, four, and five are foreign to you. They read soy lecithin, niacin, and high fructose corn syrup. Now the first two you have a good feeling about. Soy is a good source of protein in place of many meats and niacin must be one of those vitamins or minerals the food tycoon General Mills boasted about on the box. However, the latter of the three is what prompts you to do some research on your computer. The results yield studies and illustrations which surprise you. “From crackers to raisins, cans of soda to cans of soup, high fructose corn syrup is in virtually every list of ingredients. Even for consumers that are vigilant about steering clear of it, it’s hard not to avoid” (Mangano). As you finish your last bite of cereal it does not seem as satisfying as the first. Uncertainty is the lingering taste and you wonder what high fructose corn syrup really is, why it is in all of the foods you eat, and if it could affect your health negatively.
High fructose corn syrup is a mixture of fructose sugars and pure corn syrup. It is cheap, easy to manufacture, and tastes great. Many believe it is aiding in the obesity epidemic, while others seem to think that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are more or less the same. “High fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners and is “safe” in moderation”, claims the American Beverage Institute (World Watch). These speculators believe that prevalence should be avoided in regards to the health effects from both. Although table sugar and corn syrup may be similar, “corn syrup has been singled out by many health experts as one of the chief culprits of rising obesity, because corn syrup does not turn off appetite” (Adams). So, if high fructose corn syrup does not turn off appetite, how are we supposed to monitor our consumption and ultimately avoid it? Reading the ingredients label of what seems like thousands of products we will eat seems like the only solution. Since our bodies need sugar to operate, a healthy amount should be eaten. That is one reason why athletes are told to eat large amounts of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates and the sugars in them are beneficial when used very soon after consumption. They give quick energy to a body that is engaged in high performance activities. Unfortunately for most Americans,...