high-fructose corn syrup

We don’t need much more reason to despise the practices and products of Big Food. But this product really took the cake, a 24-ounce container of what is nearly all high-fructose corn syrup, synthetically flavored and with added preservatives, then tarted up with cartoon characters and cute name to attract the attention of children. The ingredient panel: High-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, cellulose gum, salt, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, red 40, natural flavor, phosphoric acid, mono and diglycerides. 

In case you need a reminder of what rich intake of fructose can do to human physiology:

  • Increases insulin resistance–the process underlying type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary disease, and a contributor to dementia and cancer
  • Causes fatty liver–that can lead to the horrible condition, cirrhosis.
  • Increases triglycerides—and thereby VLDL particles that cause lead to small LDL particles and coronary disease
  • Causes weight gain–especially contributing to expansion of visceral (inflammatory) fat and thereby contributes to overweight and obesity and all their health consequences
  • Increases uric acid–That, in turn, increases risk for other health conditions. (Here is my Defiant Health podcast interview with Dr. David Perlmutter on this topic.)
  • Fails to satiate–Because of the unique metabolic pathway followed by fructose, high intakes fail to “turn off” appetite

Throw the preservatives, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, into the mix, compounds that exert antibacterial effects on human microbiome species. Preliminary evidence suggests that these preservatives are lethal to advantageous microbial Lactobacillus and other species in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, while not harmful to unhealthy species (i.e., much like glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup that is now detectable in the body fluids of 100% of Americans, these chemicals select for the proliferation of unhealthy microbial species). Sodium hexametaphosphate is an emulsifying agent; recall that emulsifying agents have also been associated with disrupted GI microbiome composition, also.

As a society, we have drifted so far away from notions of real food that many of us don’t bat an eye to such corrupt garbage food products and may even give into our kids’ pleadings to allow them to consume them. To me, this is little different than marketing cigarettes or vaping products to children.