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High Fructose Corn Syrup and Mercury

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Yet another reason to beware of high fructose corn syrup:

From the Washington Post-


"MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of tested samples of
commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which
was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and
beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled
ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods
such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups
and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per
day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent
more HFCS than average.

'Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn
syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional
source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for
immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug
Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of
the food supply,' said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies."


post #2 of 4

That's weird - was there any explanation as to why there would be mercury in HFCS?

post #3 of 4

The article I read about this also noted comments from those doing the study that they did not test any food products that did not have HFCS in them to see if those foods also had mercury.  In our home we try - sometimes in vain - to avoid HFCS as much as we can... it can be difficult as it is in such wide spread use.


My feeling is that there needs to be more study to see if the mercury is from the use of HFCS, or if it is from - gasp! - some more universal process that may add mercury to any food. 


That being said, there is evidence that HFCS may contribute to diabetes, and fatty infiltration of the liver.  I do ultrasound for a living and frankly 1 out of 3 livers I scan is what is called a "fatty liver".  It can be caused by a number of lifestyle choices, but poor diet is at the top.  If you buy cheap food that is sweet junk food type - you are virtually guarenteed to have a high intake of HFCS.  ...future studies will be interesting on this.


One quick way to significantly reduce your intake of high-fructose corn syrup is to:

> Buy "USDA Organic" when possible.  If it's labeled as USDA Organic, HFCS should not be an ingredient.

> Use real 100% maple syrup.  Most brands are just "table syrup" (like Eggo, and Mrs. Butterworths) and are simply a blend of corn syrup and HFCS.

>  Avoid sweet junk food.

>  Avoid non-diet sodas and certain juices/punch.  Most regular/"sugar" soda is sweetened by HFCS.  Many juices and fruit punches are heavy with HFCS.

>  Watch your ingredients labels - items like yogurt and canned/single serving fruit cups and apple sauce have HFCS added.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry, I seem to have screwed up the article link.


It sounds like the contamination has to due with the manufacturing process- "The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda."


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