Normally we take these little opportunities to tell you about some lesser known food, some exotic fruit or unpopular vegetable, that you should be eating. But now we'd like to point out an insanely popular food you are probably already consuming that is killing you.
“High fructose corn syrup.” You've read those words on hundreds of food labels. It's a type of artificial sweetener that may be at the crux of today's obesity epidemic, but getting fat from it might be the least of your worries.
The big problem with HFCS is the “F,” the fructose. Most of the carbs you eat are broken down into glucose, which is easily delivered to every cell in your body where it serves as fuel. Fructose, on the other hand, is artificial sugar and mainly processed in the liver and is poorly absorbed by the cells in your body. And HFCS delivers so much fructose, your body is simply not designed to manage it all.
Consumed in such excess, HFCS is converted to fat easily, as your liver has very limited capacity to store it as carbs. Your liver is meant to handle the rather limited amounts of fructose expected from a daily diet of fruit; excess of this, and your body turns it to fat.
The result of this liver-fructose-overload can be fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. We're not talking dribs and drabs here, either: one three-week study showed that the overconsumption of sugar and fructose led to an amazing 27 percent increase in liver fat. In fact, no other food contributes as strongly to fat gain as HFCS.
HFCS also causes an increase in the worst type of fat, the so-called visceral fat that accrues around your organs. Its presence is linked directly to diabetes and heart disease.
Consume too much fructose and your body's ability to move carbs out of your bloodstream and into your cells will become impaired. This condition is known as insulin resistance, which can result in type 2 diabetes. Another study indicates that HFCS has a part to play in metabolic syndrome, which in turn is at the root of numerous other ailments, including heart disease and certain cancers. HFCS intake leads to uric acid production which can lead to inflammation, and gout.
The short version of all of this? As one study showed, HFCS will likely just make you die faster.