Why You Should Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

12 Nov, 2013

Guest Article by Mark Hyman, MD

Renaissance physician Paracelsus famously said, “The dose makes the poison,” meaning that even harmless substances can become toxic if you eat enough of them. Many people ask me, “is high fructose syrup really that bad for you?” And my answer to this question is “yes,” mainly for this very reason.

In America today, we are eating huge doses of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. It is sweeter and cheaper than regular sugar and is in every processed food and sugar-sweetened drink. Purging it from your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health!

In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America. The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 teaspoons of sugar, all of it high fructose corn syrup. And when you eat sugar in those doses, it becomes a toxin.

As part of the chemical process used to make high fructose corn syrup, the glucose and fructose—which are naturally bound together—become separated. This allows the fructose to mainline directly into your liver, which turns on a factory of fat production in your liver called lipogenesis.

This leads to fatty liver, the most common disease in America today, affecting 90 million Americans. This, in turn, leads to diabesity—pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. So, high fructose corn syrup is the real driver of the current epidemic of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and of course, type 2 diabetes.

HFCS contains dangerous chemicals and contaminants

Beside the ginormous load of pure fructose and sugar found in HCFS, as an added bonus, it contains other chemical toxins. Chemical contaminants used during manufacturing end up in the HFCS and in our food. What we know, for example, is that chloralkali is used in making high fructose corn syrup. Chloralkai contains mercury. And there are trace amounts of mercury found in high fructose corn syrup-containing beverages. Now, it may not be a problem if we eat this occasionally, but the average person in the country consumes more than 20 teaspoons a day of high fructose corn syrup and the average teenager has 34 teaspoons a day. Over time, these heavy metals can accumulate in the body, causing health problems.

Additionally, when we look at the chemical components of high fructose corn syrup on a spectrograph, we can see that it contains many weird chemicals that we know nothing about. That’s why I say better safe than sorry.

Look out for the red flag

The main reason you should give up high fructose corn syrup is that it’s a big, red flag for very poor quality food. If you see this ingredient on a label, I guarantee you the food is processed junk. So, if high fructose corn syrup is anywhere on the label, put it back on the shelf. You should never eat this food.

If you want to stay healthy, lose weight easily, get rid of chronic disease, and help reduce the obesity epidemic, the single most important thing you can do is eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet and from your children’s diet. Just banish it from your house.

Purge your kitchen

I challenge you to go into your kitchen right now, go in the cupboard and refrigerator, and look at every single label. And I want you to count how many products you have right now in your house that contain high fructose corn syrup. Then, I want you to get a big garbage bag and throw them out and find replacements that are free of it.

If you want to have some sugar, that’s fine. Have a little sugar, but add it to your food yourself. Don’t eat food made with added sugar. Cut the high fructose corn syrup from your life forever. You’ll be healthier. Our planet will be healthier. And we’ll have a healthier generation of children.

Now, I want to hear from you. Please leave your comment in the comment section below. Share this newsletter with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. And submit your question so that, next week, I may make a House Call to you.

Dr. Hyman is dedicated to identifying and addressing the root causes of chronic illness through a groundbreaking whole-systems medicine approach called Functional Medicine. He is a family physician, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in his field.

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  • Traci M. Richards

    Is there a way to purge my system of fructose syrup, or to help it heal from the damage?

  • Mimi Alberu

    No HFCS in my home, no sodas or processed junk. We are certified organic. It would be great to see an article about that other evil, artificial sweeteners!

  • http://www.moniquerochellemcpherson.wordpress.com/ MoniqueRochelle

    I am a raw vegan chef and when I did a kitchen cleansing with my diabetic clients they were shocked at how many packaged foods they were consuming that had either sugar or high-fructose sugar. Sugars were present even in the most unassuming products!

  • Trish Romano

    I eliminated HFCS years ago and have been encouraging everyone I know to do the same. I think it contributes heavily to the incidence of ADHD.

  • Annie

    Difficult to read text on transparent window over clouds. Do you not have a QA editor?

  • Guest

    What about your make-up?

  • Victoria Kimuyu

    What about your make-up?

  • Grundig

    We went through the purge and I was astounded – but we have completely cut out HFCS and have noticed a real difference. Of course I also switched to Paleo during this time ,but my wife did not. So it was actually huge to have a “Control” to notice the difference.