High Fructose Corn Syrup: Something to Be Avoided

The book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” by Michael Pollan provides 64 principles of wise eating, mainly obtained from cultural traditions. According to Pollan, there is a need for Americans to change their diets which comprise of mainly processed foods, meat, fat, sugar and refined grains.

This kind of diets has resulted in particular diseases that are common in the west, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Pollan, therefore, suggests that traditional diets are the key to reduced diseases and improved health conditions.

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He encourages people to buy their foods from groceries as opposed to supermarkets, stating that food advertisements are conducted by companies that have the funds to modify foods commonly found in supermarkets (Pollan 11). Hence, it is necessary to admit that the consummation of the HFCS food must be avoided, and eating vegetarian food must be encouraged so that people could adhere to healthier diets and improve their state of health.

The book is a campaign about avoiding processed foods, regardless of the appealing labels provided to entice consumers. “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” He also encourages people to avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup and other sweetened foods (Pollan 51).

In addition to this, he urges people to keep away from refined flour, stating that it is as harmful to the body as sugar, once it is ingested. This paper looks at the HFCS-rich food and considers the impact that the HFCS-rich products have in (on) people’s organisms, as well as concludes why HFCS products are to be avoided and natural food is to be consumed.

It cannot be denied that in the modern world, the humankind adheres to a less healthy food consummation. However, it is important to keep in mind that the lifespan of the current generation is shorter, which is, no doubt, the result of the wrong diet that consists mostly of the food created artificially, as Pollan claims.

Among the most potentially dangerous food additives that are to be avoided as malicious ones is the so-called HFCS – the high-fructose corn syrup. Glucose converted to fructose, the given solution adds the sweetness to certain food and creates the illusion that the food is several times sweeter than usually, it still has the most deplorable effect on people’s health. Other than that, HFCS has considerably negative effect on people’s health.

Nevertheless, HFCS is produced in huge amounts, which is most upsetting: “The first generation of high fructose corn syrups (42 percent fructose, 50 percent dextrose, 8 percent higher saccharides) are being used in soft drinks, ice cream, jelly, sweet pickles, confections, canned fruit, and baked goods” (Thor and Carman 13).

Considering the viewpoint of Pollan, one can see clearly that there are certain reasons to think that the notorious HFCS is harmful for people. According to the author, HFCS, the product of chemical reaction and the food addition created artificially, is not to be used at all cost (costs):

Avoid food products that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Not because high-fructose corn syrup is any worse for you than sugar, but because it is, like many of the other unfamiliar ingredients in packaged foods, a reliable marker for a food product that has been highly processed. (Pollan 11)

Indeed, Pollan does offer an impressive argument contra the use of HFCS. It cannot be denied that the use of HFCS has rather harmful effect on people’s health. While there is no obvious negative effect that can be visible, the results of the HFCS within the organism is still far from being positive.

It is important to mark that a number of people share Pollan’s viewpoint and consider the HFCS food as useless and even dangerous for people’s health, yet it is consumed in great volumes due to its relative cheapness. For instance, Merin’s King Corn movie conveys the same idea that Pollan expresses:

So, why then, one wonders, are Americans devouring the stuff as though it were the last apple on the tree? Because it’s cheap, and available, and they don’t know enough to realize that’s what they’re ingesting when they eat something that doesn’t look the least bit like an ear of corn and bears their favorite brand name of soft drinks, ketchup, breakfast cereal, jams, jellies, peanut butter and luncheon meats (Merin).

Indeed, it is obvious that what people eat makes mostly corn, as Merin claims. Yet the corn people consume as HFCS brings rather harm than the positive effect, in contrast to what real corn does to a human body. What has to be remember (remembered) is that people should avoid not eating corn and corn products, but the HFCS that has been generated artificially and contains the harmful elements that the real corn does not. Therefore, one can conclude that eating HFCS products is highly dangerous and is to be avoided.

Another important thing to ponder over, Pollan’s rule 22 is actually the continuation of the Rule #4 and the logical conclusion to the latter. Developing the idea of the health hazard that HFCS conceal, the writer emphasizes the necessity to consume only natural products. As Pollan himself explains, only the products obtained from plants do not presuppose health hazard: “Eat mostly plants, especially leaves” (50).

There are certain reasons to believe that Pollan’s ideas are doubtlessly correct, since the vegetarian food is considered to have only the elements necessary for human body to function impeccably, whereas the products created artificially also contain the ingredients that have negative effect on people’s organisms, as Curtis and Misner claim: “Flavonoids are micronutrients found in food which play important roles in preventing cancer and heart disease.

It was found that the highest levels of flavonoids were found in foods grown by a method called sustainable farming” (Curtis and Misner).

Therefore, it must be admitted that natural food is the only way out for the people who want to maintain healthy lifestyle and consume the food that has a positive effect on their health. It seem (seems) that Pollan’s idea of the grown food as the only source of the necessary vitamins and minerals proves right. Though the importance of consuming protein and fats cannot be denied, these are mostly plants that help people to maintain the fragile balance within their organisms and avoid blocking the organism with harmful substances.

Eating the HFCS-free food, one can stay relatively certain of the state of his/her health, knowing that the harmful non-organic ingredients that most HFCS contain will not cause any health problems. Hence, the food rich in HFCS must be considered as the meals that cause health complexities and must be avoided at any cost.

Works Cited

Curtis, Crabtree and Misner, Scottie. Food Safety, Preparation and Storage Tips. University of Arizona, 2006. Web. October 22, 2011
.

Merin, Jennifer. King Corn. 2007. Web. 21 October 2011 .

Pollan, Michael. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. London : Penguin (Non-Classics), 2009. Print.

Thor, Peter K. and Hoy F. Carman. “High fructose corn syrup: An important new sugar substitute.” California Agriculture (1979): 13-15. Print.

Wallinga, David. High fructose corn syrup’s not-so-sweet surprise: mercury! 26 January 2009. Web. 21 October 2011 .

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