Sugar is Not Sugar: The Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup Every one has seen the infamous TV commercial with the young couple sitting in a park on a blanket, innocently sharing a Popsicle made out of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The female offers her male cohort a portion of the frozen treat, responding to his hesitance with the disreputable claim hosted by the corn industry, “sugar is sugar.” Ironic, this commercial enticing the general public to accept the ill-fated ingredient of High Fructose Corn Syrup, is the epitome of Eve offering Adam the apple in The Garden of Eden. High Fructose Corn Syrup has seemed to invade even the most discrete products in the current day kitchen. Hiding in ketchup, soups, and meats, to name only a few, this overused sweetener has wreaked havoc on the American people; much less the unfortunate, overweight, diseased, diabetic rats that fell victim to its studies. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a man made, chemically altered, and potentially neurotoxic byproduct, largely at fault for our nation’s health epidemics of obesity diabetes and cardiac disease, but if eradicated from our diet the sequelae of its morbid effects could be alleviated. Problems
Although society is starting to hear more controversial information about the ill health effects of HFCS consumption, what they are not aware of is the dangerous contaminates within it. Chemicals and enzymes used in the processing of corn into HFCS are polluting it with unsafe levels of mercury, and since this heavy metal is neurotoxic, it could very well be to blame for the rapid rise in Autism and other neurological disorders amongst our youth (Geier, King, Sykes, & Geier, 2008). To first understand how mercury ends up invading the Nation’s processed food sources, people need to understand how HFCS is developed. As described by Wallinga, Sorensen, and Yablon (2009), through an industrial process, enzymes and caustic soda are used to synthesis the sweetener from corn. Caustic soda is used throughout the process for many reasons, including its initial employment in the separation of the starch from the corn kernel (Wallinga, Sorensen & Yablon, 2009). The problem is, caustic soda is produced in industrial chlorine plants, which many still use a technology relying on the use of mercury, allowing the heavy metal to seep into goods made from its use in processing (Wallinga, Sorensen &Yablon, 2009). Multiple studies done by the Environmental Health and Food and Drug Administration have found commercial HFCS, and many name brand food items with HFCS in their ingredient list, contaminated with mercury (Wallinga, Sorensen & Yablon, 2009). An article written by Hyman (2011), presents us with an interesting case, in which a FDA researcher was denied a request for barrels of HFCS in order to test for contaminants. Once she represented herself as an entrepreneur to a new soft drink company, a large vat of the sweetener was sent and used as a part of her study, showing toxic levels of mercury present in some of the samples. The importance one could gather from these findings is that mercury has invaded our food sources, and in all of its forms, it is toxic to the brain (Wallinga, Sorensen & Yablon, 2009). Studies show that maternal antenatal consumption of mercury-contaminated food “adversely affected the IQ, language development, visual-spacial skills, gross motor skills, memory and attention in their offspring” (Schettler, 2001 p. 814). All of these symptoms are similar to conditions of Autism, or Attention Deficit Disorder. An article, supporting mercury provocation of Autism, written by Geier, King, Sykes, and Geier (2008), provides evidence that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) may result from exposure to mercury at critical times of brain development. It goes so far as to state “mercury...