Thursday, October 20, 2011

High Fructose Corn Syrup's Contribution to Obesity in the US

Over the last two decades, the obesity rate in the United States has risen at a steady rate. There are many contributing factors to why this is; from people not eating healthy, to people not exercising, to people having health issues; such as, hypothyroidism, is when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone, and could cause weight gain. The CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has kept track of the obesity trend in the United States over the last 20 years, and found that the obesity rate in the United States has risen to well over 30 percent of the population. This trend is in line with the introduction of high fructose corn syrup and the fact that it's put in every type of processed food or drink in the United States. High Fructose Corn Syrup can be found in soda, cereal, breads, and even dog food. I believe that the processed sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup has contributed to rise in obesity in the United States.

How the Body Processes Sugar

Fructose, is a sugar that is found in most fruits: and glucose is a sugar that is also found in fruits and vegetables, which is processed through the liver. Glucose is almost always used as energy for the body, since it needs energy to function. Fructose on the other hand, is more than likely to be stored as fat and to be used for energy later.

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS?)

HFCS is a processed sugar, where corn is used as the main ingredient. The corn is processed into the consistency of syrup, at this stage the syrup is just fructose. Enzymes are added to the syrup, so some of the fructose is converted to glucose, to make a fructose-glucose mixture. Since the late 1970s, HFCS has been added to almost every processed food in the United States, as a sweetener. HFCS has replaced the traditional table sugar; which is sucrose, another type of sugar, in most of these foods. A couple reasons HFCS has become so heavily used in the United States is that it was cheaper to process HFCS, than import sugar cane from the Caribbean; another reason the United States government offers subsidizes to farmers who grow corn.

High Fructose Corn Syrup's (HFCS) Contribution to Obesity

According to studies, HFCS is not anymore unsafe than any other sugars but sugars need to be consumed in moderation. Ever since U.S food manufactures switched to the use of HFCS as its sweetener, the sugary syrup has found its way into almost every food product that we consume. Now, that's where the problem occurs; for example, in an Italian three course dinner, almost every food item that would be consumed has HFCS in it. Since, HFCS is mainly fructose; and the body stores fructose as fat, people are putting on more fat and are unaware of doing so. While other things, such as lack of exercise and some health issues may contribute to weight gain; HFCS is playing a major part in obesity.

In conclusion, in order to fight against obesity and other health risk, one must be attentive to the amount of their daily sugar consumption, whether it is natural or processed. By doing so, one must try to include more natural foods, rather than processed foods in their daily diet. Creating good eating habits, will benefit ourselves and can be passed down through the generation, so that the obesity rate in the United States can finally curve into a downward trend.

For more information on family health and nutrition topics visit http://myfamilyplate.com/


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