Just what DO they say about high-fructose corn syrup?
What "they" say is that a lot of it was recently found to contain mercury.
Unlike the actors portrayed as fools in the current spate of commercials sponsored by the corn industry, I DO know what "they" say about high fructose corn syrup.
The first thing they say is that, in part since it acts as a preservative, HFCS is found in most processed foods.
Food which 20 years ago wouldn't include plain sugar now has HFCS added routinely because of the preservative value (longer shelf life), the appetite appeal of sugar of any sort, and because HFCS is very cheap.
The mere fact that it is found in large quantities in most processed food and soda means that it adds hidden empty calories to diets which, in the U.S. already make vast numbers of people overweight.
But the other thing "they" say about HFCS is that many samples of commercially available HFCS contain mercury.
Although in moderation there is probably nothing wrong with HFCS which isn't also wrong with plain sugar (promotes overweight, overeating, diabetes, and other problems) there absolutely is something wrong with having even tiny amounts of mercury added to your diet.
According to reports (cited in the above referenced Washington Post article), "The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury atoms are used to produce caustic soda."
The corn syrup industry denies the problem but tests conducted on products purchased in 2008 showed that nine of 20 samples contained mercury.
Since HFCS is found in most processed and fast foods, that means that mercury is also found in many food products. In fact, a study in 2009 showed that about 1/3 of 55 brand name products contained HFCS contaminated with mercury.
This included foods marketed by Hershey's, Kraft, Smucker's (with a name like S...etc.), and Quaker.
The worst problem is probably that teens and children consume much more of the HFCS laden foods than adults and, of course, mercury is most dangerous to growing kids.
So, now YOU know what "they" say about high-fructose corn syrup. Aren't commercials a GREAT place to get your health education?
John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.
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