Having a product be “natural” means that it “exists in nature or is created by nature and isn’t made by or caused by humankind” (Webster Dictionary). The corn refiners industry has been pestering the FDA to use the term “corn sugar” in lieu of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Their claims are; High Fructose Corn Syrup has similar molecules as sugar; fructose and glucose, and is metabolized in the body in the same way as sugar.
Unfortunately for the corn industry not one of these statements is correct. High Fructose Corn Syrup is chemically created. It is not found in a plant BUT is made in a plant. Corn is milled into corn starch then processed by adding water, heat and enzymes to change the glucose into fructose. In different percentages of fructose and glucose, High Fructose Corn Syrup is added to products to make them sweet. Because HFCS is easy to make and a little goes a long way, it’s more desirable to use than sugar. Which is why in the late 1970’s early 1980’s companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi changed the recipes of their carbonated drinks from sugar to High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Fructose and Glucose, found in High Fructose Corn Syrup, are found naturally in nature…separately. Fructose is a monosaccharide, one of the simplest sugars you can find. It’s found in honey and in fruits. Glucose is also a monosaccharide, a simple sugar, and it’s found in many plant foods. Your body will not turn fructose into glucose. Fructose can bind with glucose making sucrose, or sugar we know as table sugar. Our bodies are in the habit of breaking down sugar ingested to use it as energy. We won’t turn fructose into glucose; only in a chemical plant can you do that.
There is nothing natural about High Fructose Corn Syrup and unfortunately it’s in many products we have ready access to. Salad dressings, candy, processed cookies, granola bars, breads including bagels and English muffins all use HFCS to sweeten their products and make them more desirable.
A pregnancy filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup is also filled with questions. HFCS can lead to a fatty liver and fat build up (excess weight) and during pregnancy this will affect the growing fetus. Excess exposure to High Fructose Corn Syrup can contribute to gestational diabetes and large for gestational age babies, who at birth weight more than 10 pounds. Babies at birth who weight an excess amount have trouble controlling their own blood sugar, have trouble regulating insulin, have difficulties regulating their own breathing and are seen to have an increase in birth defects.
Don’t be fooled by companies that try to trick us into thinking what they offer is “healthy” by throwing around terms like “natural”, “organic” or “found in nature”. A healthy body and a healthy baby are created with unrefined products; ones that are found in nature and closest to their natural form; fruits, vegetables and whole grains.