High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Most Successful Food Ingredient in Human History

Christine L. Foutch Naturopathic Physician Rock Island, Illinois

Christine Foutch is a practicing Holistic Physician in Rock Island, Illinois, specializing in Holistic Nutrition and Biomechanics. Holistic medicine is the art and the science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies... more

Fructose is a hexose-sugar. Hexose refers to the number of carbon-atoms within the sugar- molecule itself.

Naturally present with glucose, and forming with sucrose, this disaccharide would be found within fruits, honey, and vegetables.

Humans and most mammals have developed the ability to use fructose as a metabolic substrate at some point during our evolution. The presence of specific metabolic enzymes are showing this as evidence.

This was an advantage for mankind and influenced our survival rates.

Fructose consumption has been relatively low until the middle ages. This was because the consumption of foods that contained fructose are quite limited. Depending on the season and wildlife at the time, there was a lot of difficulty in gathering these foods in large quantities.

Sugar was available in Asia, where the sugar cane was able to grow. It was then provided to countries in the Middle East through their trade with Asian countries.

In Europe, the consumption of sugar started after the crusades, once the crusaders became familiar with the product.

Sugar, as scarce as it was, was only used in small quantities and generally considered as a spice. This is very different from our modern times.

As the availability of sugar increased, its consumption was heightened by the entrance of some newer beverages that we have grown to know very well, such as tea, coffee, and even hot chocolate.

Within the twentieth century, its consumption further increased; technological developments brought in the production of our sodas, ice creams, and chocolate candy bars.

Unfortunately, there has been a continuous sugar consumption increase, going from daily consumption of 15–30g near the start of the twentieth century; ranging to the current amount at about 140–150g per person every day.

This includes Europe, North and South America, spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

The estimations in the United States, alone, are set to show what sugar represents. On average, of about 20% of total daily energy intake.

No doubt here, we have the highest sugar consumption in our human history.

Originally, the major source of sugar was sugar cane. During the colonial era, it was largely cultivated in South America, the West Indies, and Asia.

Since the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, Sugar Beets have been grown in Europe and North America; individually securing their natural sources of sugar.

Both the sugar cane and sugar beets are natural producers of Sucrose, which is the disaccharide composed of one molecule of glucose linked to one molecule of fructose.

Even as late as the 1970s, these were the main dietary sources of fructose: Sugarcane and the Beet-Sugar.

Though starting back in the 1950s, early developmental work had already begun to be carried out. With the very first shipments of the new product, high fructose corn syrup was shipped to the food industry in the late 1960s.

With the amazing growth that it has had within the recent years, high fructose corn syrup became the most successful ingredient in human history.

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