I admittidly know nothing about government subsidation programs (except the little bit I just read in this post -lol) but I can tell you why I and many others advise people NOT to consume HFCS.
The lead article of the April 2004 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition features this issue and the researchers say consumption of high-fructose corn sweeteners increased more than 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding changes in intake of any other food or food group.
Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was not only cheaper to make, it was also much sweeter (processed fructose is nearly 20 times sweeter than table sugar), and this switch has drastically altered the American diet.
In 1966, sucrose made up 86 percent of sweeteners. Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used are made from corn. And while people ate no high-fructose corn syrup in 1966, they ate close to 63 pounds each in 2001.
HFCS, which is made from cornstarch, is now used to sweeten:
Jams and jellies
It contains similar amounts of both fructose and glucose, whereas sucrose is a larger sugar molecule that is metabolized in the intestine into glucose and fructose.
HFCS is the only caloric sweetener in U.S. soft drinks and over 60 percent of the calories in apple juice, which is used as a base for many fruit drinks, come from fructose. The primary source of HFCS in the American diet is soda and juice–about two-thirds of all fructose consumed in the United States is in beverages.
Researchers estimated that Americans eat 132 calories of HFCS while the top 20 percent of sweetener consumers eat over 300. And some, they say, eat as much as 700 calories per day of HFCS.
So what makes corn syrup such an unhealthy, fat-promoting product?
The digestive and absorptive processes for glucose and fructose are different. Unlike glucose, which the body uses, when one consumes large amounts of fructose it is a relatively unregulated source of fuel for the liver to convert to fat and cholesterol. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. It is also known to raise triglycerides significantly.
The fact that most fructose is consumed in a liquid form significantly magnifies its negative metabolic effects. The devastation it has on our biology would be significantly lessened if it were consumed in solid food, but as I mentioned above, most fructose is consumed in soft drinks and fruit juices.
In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin, a hormone thought to be involved in appetite regulation, production. Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat and body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.
While consumers may not have even blinked when the use of high fructose corn syrup replaced sucrose (table sugar) as a sweetener several years ago, new research is showing that fructose has the ability to significantly raise triglyceride levels, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
Researchers from the University of California (Davis) note that “The introduction of high fructose corn syrup as a substitute sweetener for sucrose in the mid-1970s has contributed to a general increase in fructose consumption in the U.S. diet.”
Researchers from the University of Minnesota note that “About 9% of average dietary energy intake in the United States comes from fructose. Such a high consumption raises concern about the metabolic effects of this sugar.”
In the University of Minnesota study, researchers studied 24 healthy adults, who received one of 2 diets assigned randomly for a period of 6 weeks and then switched to the other diet for 6 weeks.
One diet provided 17% of energy as fructose and the other diet was sweetened with glucose and was nearly devoid of fructose.
Both diets were composed of common foods and contained nearly identical amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, cholesterol, and saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In men, the fructose diet raised plasma triglyceride levels by 32%, although there was no effect seen with the women being studied.
The authors conclude that “Diets high in added fructose may be undesirable, particularly for men.”
In the University of California (Davis) study, researchers found that “Dietary fructose significantly increased serum triglyceride concentration across the life span in rats.” This increase occurred regardless of whether or not the rats were fed calorie restricted diets or had free access to food.
Fructose has no enzymes, vitamins or minerals so it takes micronutrients from the body while it assimilates itself for use. However, eating a small piece of whole fruit, which contains natural fructose, is not likely to be a problem for most people because fresh fruits contain the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are needed for the fructose to assimilate in the body.
Contrary to common belief, corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and is definitely not fit as a dietary staple and mainstay, primarily because it contains high amounts of sugar. When early Native Americans changed their diet to one based mostly on corn, they had increased rates of the following:
Bone infections and other bone problems
Corn is Everywhere in the American Diet
Corn, and usually highly processed corn, has become a staple ingredient of the American diet. Cheap corn is truly the building block of the ''fast-food nation," as Michael Pollan writes in a New York Times article.
Not only is it in HFCS, but animals raised for meat are often fed corn and other grains. Most meat in supermarkets comes from grain-fed animals. On the contrary, grain-free meats not only provide a better balance of omega fats, but also the animals are healthier and more humanely raised, and the risk of acquiring an infection from a healthy animal is very remote.
What You Can Do
Genetic factors clearly play an important role in the development of obesity. However, the rapidity with which the current epidemic of obesity has hit the United States and the rest of the world makes diet and lifestyle a more likely explanation.
So the answer is plain and simple. If you want to lose weight stop drinking soda and processed fruit juices that are sweetened with about eight teaspoons of fructose per serving. I have made many difficult recommendations to patients in their quest to achieve health, but one of the simplest is to stop drinking soda. There is never any reason to drink it and it is one of the easiest foods to give up. Switch to pure water as your beverage of choice and you will be well on your way to better health.
Rainjack I have always enjoyed your posts and agree with a lot of what you post but, I do have to side with Nate Dogg on this one.