Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis, which causes liver damage to 70 million people around the world annually. 
How’s that for an eye-opener? Liver damage is no joke. Unfortunately, it’s only one of the horrible effects of regularly consuming high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). One of the questions I’ve recently come across is, “Is high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup the same?” This is a great question because they sound so similar! However, they are certainly different and in this post, I will tell you why!
Can you do me a favor? I want you to do some critical thinking and identify a clear difference in naming. Are you ready? High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. Do you see the difference? That’s right! The only real difference between the two is the fact that one has high fructose. Sometimes we use the term HFCS so much that we tend to group the words as one. However, we have to remember the ‘high fructose’ part makes HFCS unique.
Fructose is sweeter than glucose, which is the substance table sugar is made of. Therefore, by finding a way to incorporate more fructose to sugar is genius! The only problem with this solution is it’s causing massive harm to those who are consuming it.
How Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Corn Syrup?
While sucrose can be digested throughout the whole body, fructose can only be digested in the liver. When a person consumes large amounts of fructose, the liver can become overloaded.
Picture this: You’re at work and your boss is giving you too much work to get done in your shift. You start off fine, but as the final hour approaches, you begin cutting corners and doing things wrong. You begin shoving work in areas for the next shift in hopes your boss won’t find out. That person you’re imagining is your poor liver!
With all the workload, your liver begins to convert fructose into fat that remains in the liver. Because of this, an estimated 80 to 100 million Americans suffer from fatty liver disease.  Fatty liver disease is something to be concerned about. It blocks normal digestion and about one-third of those with this disease will progress into its ugly relative disease: NASH.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, means the liver is in chronic inflammation mode and this can result in cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Does corn syrup have this same effect? Nope! The primary reason HFCS has the ability to affect the liver this bad is because of the high amount of fructose we’ve discussed.
Another reason to cut out high fructose corn syrup from your diet is that eating fructose releases dopamine into your brain. Dopamine is a chemical that causes you to feel a sense of pleasure or happiness. It’s why many people get addicted to hardcore drugs although they know it negatively affects them.
Q: What’s this mean?
A: I’m glad you asked! Simply put, this means high fructose corn syrup is highly addictive.
But there’s another reason to avoid this substance’s high dopamine release! Have you ever heard of tolerance levels? For example, some people end up overdosing on drugs because their tolerance level is so high that it requires them to take a large, deadly amount. The same thing happens to our brain. By consuming foods that release dopamine, we are becoming resistant to it! We now need more dopamine to make us feel happy. This can lead to depression because we just can’t find anything to make us feel happy anymore.
People who are depressed can have a risk of eating more and doing less, which negatively affects the body too!
Q: If high fructose corn syrup comes with all these negative side effects, why do companies use it in their products?
A: That’s also a great question! Companies love using this substance because it’s extremely affordable to manufacture and they can use less overall since fructose tastes sweeter than glucose (corn syrup). Why else would they do it? It’s all about the money.
But you, as a parent or role model, know that it’s not all about the money when it comes to your health or your children’s. There’s great news to all this gloomy doomy stuff though, you can control what comes into your house! The companies are forced by law to disclose all the ingredients found within their products on the nutrition label. All it takes is a little research. Flip that item over and get to reading! And don’t worry if you don’t understand everything on the nutrition label, you’re only looking for the words high fructose corn syrup under ‘ingredients’.
Something to try: If you have a family, get them involved. Make food shopping a scavenger hunt. Who can find the most foods on the shopping list without high fructose corn syrup? Winner gets to choose dinner!
Isn’t your health and your family worth it? When I first began my eating healthy journey, it was (and still is) all about my family. I want to have healthy offspring and enjoy my time with my future grandkids. To me, it’s worth spending a little extra time and money on food. If you want to join me, it’s incredibly easy! I cannot stress to you how easy it is to make little changes that accumulate into massive results.
Plus, you’d be surprised at how many foods you can eat that do not contain high fructose corn syrup. Since you can eat foods that contain corn syrup, remember to recognize the two as different. It’s only the high amount of fructose that poses such a large health threat. Don’t worry, you can do this!