High Fructose Corn Syrup

Is high fructose corn syrup safe for regular consumption?

HFCS is safe to consume on a regular basis
There are physical or mental health concerns
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Started by
Aya Abitbul
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The Issue

High fructose corn syrup has become a staple in the American food industry in the last several decades, due to its sweet taste and low cost. The demand for corn syrup has rapidly increased as it has steadily replaced traditional sucrose, or table sugar, marking the sweetener as one of the most common ingredients in nearly every American’s diet. However, health officials argue whether high fructose corn syrup has the same effects as other natural sugars, or whether it could be causing additional health problems in Americans.

Remaining Questions

5 questions total

Final Thoughts

What people think
Pro: Corn Syrup
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    Lauren Lankford

    I would not necessarily say I am "pro corn syrup" so much as I would say I am "pro everything in moderation". The research presented here is clear, pointing to negative ramifications on environmental wellbeing and nationwide obesity. But obviously corn syrup is not the only product to blame. Sugar intake in general is something that should be carefully monitored by American consumers- in my opinion, that is the bigger issue at hand here. Obesity, disease, and an overall lack of wellbeing is a problem that demands that all components of the typical American diet be reconsidered.

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    Aya Abitbul
    Nia Creator

    Ultimately, there is as much reliable research asserting that consuming corn syrup is a health risk as there is insisting it's no different than table sugar. However, none of this research is particularly long term (given corn syrup's recent introduction into American food, and given the even more recent trend of studying its effects on our health), so it's difficult to ascertain how dramatically corn syrup alone will change the country.
    However, we do know one dramatic change has been the rise in American obesity, which as the Nia indicates, is hard to pin solely on HFCS. In the last forty years, the rise in the consumption of numerous other sugars, namely sucrose, has accompanied the rise of HFCS and obesity rates. Therefore, health professionals seemed to have reached a consensus: too much sugar is unhealthy and fattening, no matter what kind it is, so it's probably best to limit added sugar intake, or to avoid it all together.

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Depends
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    Jordan Grossman
    Founder of Niaterra News

    There are clearly two issues to address for HFCS:

    1) Is HFCS worse than table sugar?
    2) Is the use of either a concern?

    It seems clear that HFCS is worse than table sugar, but it's not clear by how much, or if it actually matters that it's metabolized differently. It seems reasonable to say that it raises triglycerides more so than table sugar.

    The bigger health issues we are seeing, with increase obesity and diabetes, make it clear that lowering intake of sweet foods in general is what needs to happen, and being overly concerned about any type of sweetener in particular may serve to be more of a distraction, and lure some people into demonizing one sweetener so they can over-consume another.

    We need to keep our eye on the ball.

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    Lea Thali

    While the Nia shows that there are a number of problems with high fructose corn syrup, it appears that these problems are not unique to the sweetener. HFCS is chemically very similar to sucrose (table sugar), and they both are to blame for aiding in the obesity epidemic and can be linked to mental health issues. However, the problems do not seem to be the sweeteners alone, but the overconsumption of them. HFCS, in moderation, is not inherently dangerous.

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    Molly Banta

    The Nia shows that High Fructose Corn Syrup is an obvious problem for a multitude of reasons: it is harmful for mental health, the corn industry negatively impacts the environment, and leads to weight gain, obesity, and related disorders.

    However, it seems HFCS is not the only cause of these problems. Regular sugar can be equally as bad for mental and physical health, and HFCS is merely a small portion of the corn industry that harms our environment.

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    Satchie Snellings

    After reading this Nia, my suspicions surrounding the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup have been confirmed. My decision to vote "depends" instead of "anti" is based on the fact that HFCS is not the problem, it is merely a part of it. The excessive consumption of sugary products in America, and the resulting obesity, is the real issue. As the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains above, it is the consumption of caloric, sweetened soft drinks that leads to obesity. Whether HFCS or another sweetener is used does not make the difference. The FDA reiterates this point through their recommendation that Americans limit their consumption of all added sugars, including HFCS.

    Alternatively, my decision to vote “depends” instead of “pro” is based on the research that suggests HFCS can increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, mercury poisoning and mental health problems. The third of which was addressed in a 2013 study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found that consuming beverages containing glucose caused the brain to feel that it no longer desired food, while those containing HFCS had no such effect. Further research ought to be done on the subject, but the possibility that HFCS could trick the brain into overeating makes me especially weary of its presence in the daily diet of most Americans.

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    Karan Shah

    On one hand, it seems that high fructose corn syrup [hfcs] does not differ greatly from regular sucrose consumption. The dangers are essentially the same and hfcs is not even directly linked to the issue of obesity prevalent today. As the obesity trend has increased, hfcs intake has actually decreased- implying no correlation. However, despite it not causing obesity or being any more unsafe than sucrose, hfcs has been linked to mental health problems as well as birth defects. The mental effect is one that seemingly causes people to overeat. As far as birth defects, it seems hfcs is able to cause metabolic problems to newborn babies. This goes to show that hfcs may be viable in moderation and at the proper times. Although it may not be directly responsible for larger issues, it should be approached with caution.

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Anti: Corn Syrup
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    Qiao Xue

    According to this Nia, it seems that high fructose corn syrup is not healthy for daily consumption.
    It could directly cause obesity epidemic as the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and bound (which means they are ready for absorption and utilization). Also, countries with higher availability of HFCS have a high prevalence of diabetes and obesity, which proves that compared with regular table sugar, HFCS leads to more healthy problems. Further, it could even impact the brain and mental health,
    Therefore, for both physical and mental health, we should get rid of high fructose corn syrup.

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    Yunah Baeg

    There seems to be a lot of health risks for consuming corn syrup daily. While I believe obesity could be caused by other components of food, high fructose corn syrup leads to other serious health problems. This article clearly states a higher prevalence of diabetes in people who consume high fructose corn syrup regularly. Also there is evidence that high fructose corn syrup may cause birth defects, due to mercury exposure. Additionally, there is a possibility that the high fructose corn syrup can mess with our brain in a way that encourages us to overeat. I personally think that HFC has too much health risks associated with it that it should not be consumed daily.

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    Anoushka Parthasarathi

    High fructose corn syrup is one of the most unhealthy and dangerous sweeteners on the market right now. As research from Princeton University showed, the molecular structure of high fructose corn syrup is such that it's able to be metabolized quickly and enter our bloodstream fast, leading to weight gain and obesity.

    Diabetes prevalence was higher by 20% in countries which had a higher availability of HFCS than those who had a low availability, according to Taylor and Francis online.

    The corn industry is also harmful to the environment and HFCS has been shown to encourage our brains to overeat.

    Overall, high fructose corn syrup has more negative effects than it does positive effects, which makes it pretty clear to me that it's just very unhealthy.

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