High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common sweetener in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks. As use of high fructose corn syrup has increased, so have levels of obesity and related health problems in the country.
HFCS is corn syrup that has undergone an enzymatic process to convert some of its glucose into fructose, a type of sugar that is actually sweeter.
It is found in beverages, processed foods, cereals, and baked goods. In other words, it’s found in a vast array of processed foods — exactly the foods that make up the diet of too many Americans.
Chemically, high fructose corn syrup is similar to regular sugar, but there is a difference in the way that the body metabolizes it.
As part of the chemical process used to make HFCS, the glucose and fructose — which are naturally bound together — become separated. This allows the fructose to go directly into the liver, which turns on a process of fat production called lipogenesis.
Because of this difference, some people think that HFCS is the real driver of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases we face today.
This is a key reason why HFCS is being blamed for the growing epidemic of fatty liver disease, which has become one of the most common diseases in the U.S. today and a leading cause of liver transplantation.