My first-born son has always been real sassy and hyper, with a very outspoken and unique personality. About two years ago, my husband and I decided that maybe there was something more to his behavior problems. During one of our first research missions, we found that we could make immediate changes to his diet. I stumbled across an article that has since been buried that suggested High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was the culprit for our problems in our sons’ behavior issues. Naturally, this article led me to more articles and more research to better understand if there really was any truth to the negative effects of HFCS in my child’s diet.
As a large family with four children, we recognize the importance of all-around healthy living. I’ve done some extensive research on HFCS and its effects on our bodies, but most specifically its effects on children. What I found is simply alarming:
For starters, just a little history on HFCS: its a sweetener made from corn starch, and it was introduced into American food’s back in the 1970’s after it was deemed safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. With the use of glucose, they’ve converted the glucose of cornstarch into fructose; in lamens terms it synthetic sugars. Seems simple doesn’t it?
It’s surprisingly clear that HFCS is not good for our bodies. It’s been proven that fructose affects the part of the brain that controls our appetite, most specifically causing us to not feel full. This is the element that has scientists demanding that HFCS is a main cause for obesity in Americans. One of the most attractive elements of HFCS for mass producers is that its cheap, therefore, it’s presence is almost guaranteed to be in every food our little boogers want to eat.
It’s recommended that kids ranging from 2-18 years old should consume less than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugars per day. This does not include complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains or fruits either. So, after learning this fact I began reading the labels of all of our foods with a red line laser and what I found was simply frightening. So manufacturers had managed to sneak HFCS inside the “low sugar” multi-grain cereal we ate almost every morning, the so-called “organic tomato” spaghetti sauce I made for dinner last night, our Sara Lee whole wheat bread, and into the bottle of ketchup and barbecue sauce sitting in the fridge; just to name a few.
A whole new reality had set in, I was going to have to change EVERYTHING about our diets to get away from HFCS. And the real question was, can we afford it?
Shortly after I learned that not only was HFCS taking my kido’s way past their daily recommended simple sugar intake, but its pesky presence was linked to other health issues I had been blind to in the past.
All while I’m still trying to help my behavioral challenged son, I’m learning that HFCS is just bad for us all. But then through my research, I stumble on the fact that Fructose, which is one of HFCS main ingredients, is sweeter to the taste, and it’s harder for our bodies to digest. Our bodies digest sugar in 24 hours, whereas it takes up to four days to digest high fructose syrup. Now I’m getting pissed, to say the least. Why would they incorporate something so hard on our bodies in all of our foods? Then, not be more open with the negative effects it has on the body? This then leads me to the studies that have proved that sugar including HFCS, when consumed in excess, can decrease the immune system of a child, increased hyperactivity (which is obvious), and inhibit the part of the brain that controls the short-term memory bank, alongside the attention abilities in a childs brain. Bottom line HFCS just takes my kids right over the top and decreases their ability to thrive. This just is not ok.
I won’t go into the fact that the Corn Refiners Association, who spends a lot of time and money covering up the facts and debunks the myths of what long-term consumption and digestion of HFCS can have on our bodies. But what I will say is that there is something to eating organic foods or foods without the junk which includes HFCS. I know for our family, and specifically, my son who already has issues with hyperactivity, HFCS is like poison and we do everything in our power to stay far away from it.
What about you?
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