5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You



The current media debate about the benefits (or lack of harm) of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diet misses the obvious. The average American increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero to over 60 pounds per person per year.

During that time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.

Doubt and confusion are the currency of deception, and they sow the seeds of complacency. These are used skillfully through massive print and television advertising campaigns by the Corn Refiners Association’s attempt to dispel the “myth” that HFCS is harmful and assert through the opinion of “medical and nutrition experts” that it is no different than cane sugar. It is a “natural” product that is a healthy part of our diet when used in moderation.

Except for one problem. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, and more.

Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?

The Lengths the Corn Industry Will Go To

The goal of the corn industry is to call into question any claim of harm from consuming high fructose corn syrup, and to confuse and deflect by calling their product natural “corn sugar”. That’s like calling tobacco in cigarettes natural herbal medicine.

In the ad, the father tells us:

Like any parent I have questions about the food my daughter eats–-like high fructose corn syrup. So I started looking for answers from medical and nutrition experts, and what I discovered whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar. Knowing that makes me feel better about what she eats and that’s one less thing to worry about.”

Physicians are also targeted directly. I received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the “science” that HFCS was safe and no different than cane sugar. I assume the other 700,000 physicians in America received the same propaganda at who knows what cost.

In addition to this, I received a special “personal” letter from the Corn Refiner’s Association outlining every mention of the problems with HFCS in our diet–whether in print, blogs, books, radio, or television. They warned me of the errors of my ways and put me on “notice”. For what I am not sure. To think they are tracking this (and me) that closely gives me an Orwellian chill.

New websites like www.sweetsurprise.com and www.cornsugar.com help “set us straight” about HFCS with quotes from professors of nutrition and medicine and thought leaders from Harvard and other stellar institutions.

Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?

But are these twisted sweet lies or a sweet surprise, as the Corn Refiners Association websites claim?

What the Science Says About HFCS

Let’s examine the science and insert some common sense into the conversation. These facts may indeed come as a sweet surprise. The ads suggest getting your nutrition advice from your doctor (who, unfortunately, probably knows less about nutrition than most grandmothers).

Having studied this for over a decade, and having read, interviewed, or personally talked with most of the “medical and nutrition experts” used to bolster the claim that “corn sugar” and cane sugar are essentially the same, quite a different picture emerges and the role of HFCS in promoting obesity, disease, and death across the globe becomes clear.

Last week over lunch with Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the foremost nutritional scientists in the world, and Dr. Jeffrey Bland, a nutritional biochemist, a student of Linus Pauling, and I reviewed the existing science, and Dr. Ames shared shocking new evidence from his research center on how HFCS can trigger body-wide inflammation and obesity.

Here are 5 reasons you should stay way from any product containing high fructose corn syrup and why it may kill you.  

  1. Sugar in any form causes obesity and disease when consumed in pharmacologic doses.Cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup are indeed both harmful when consumed in pharmacologic doses of 140 pounds per person per year.When one 20 ounce HFCS sweetened soda, sports drink, or tea has 17 teaspoons of sugar (and the average teenager often consumes two drinks a day) we are conducting a largely uncontrolled experiment on the human species.Our hunter gatherer ancestors consumed the equivalent of 20 teaspoons per year, not per day. In this sense, I would agree with the corn industry that sugar is sugar. Quantity matters. But there are some important differences.
  2. HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body. High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks through a process so secret that Archer Daniels Midland and Carghill would not allow the investigative journalist Michael Pollan to observe it for his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS. Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar (sucrose) is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together– glucose and fructose in equal amounts.The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body. HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. Fructose is sweeter than glucose. And HFCS is cheaper than sugar because of the government farm bill corn subsidies. Products with HFCS are sweeter and cheaper than products made with cane sugar. This allowed for the average soda size to balloon from 8 ounces to 20 ounces with little financial costs to manufacturers but great human costs of increased obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease.

    Now back to biochemistry. Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people.

    The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.

    But there was one more thing I learned during lunch with Dr. Bruce Ames. Research done by his group at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source).

    This depletes the energy fuel source, or ATP, in our gut required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining. Little “tight junctions” cement each intestinal cell together preventing food and bacteria from “leaking” across the intestinal membrane and triggering an immune reaction and body wide inflammation.

    High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in “corn sugar”.

    The takeaway: Cane sugar and the industrially produced, euphemistically named “corn sugar” are not biochemically or physiologically the same.

  3. HFCS contains contaminants including mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA. An FDA researcher asked corn producers to ship a barrel of high fructose corn syrup in order to test for contaminants. Her repeated requests were refused until she claimed she represented a newly created soft drink company. She was then promptly shipped a big vat of HFCS that was used as part of the study that showed that HFCS often contains toxic levels of mercury because of chlor-alkali products used in its manufacturing.(i) Poisoned sugar is certainly not “natural”.When HFCS is run through a chemical analyzer or a chromatograph, strange chemical peaks show up that are not glucose or fructose. What are they? Who knows? This certainly calls into question the purity of this processed form of super sugar. The exact nature, effects, and toxicity of these funny compounds have not been fully explained, but shouldn’t we be protected from the presence of untested chemical compounds in our food supply, especially when the contaminated food product comprises up to 15-20 percent of the average American’s daily calorie intake?  
  4. Independent medical and nutrition experts DO NOT support the use of HFCS in our diet, despite the assertions of the corn industry. The corn industry’s happy looking websites www.cornsugar.com and www.sweetsurprise.com bolster their position that cane sugar and corn sugar are the same by quoting experts, or should we say misquoting … Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has published widely on the dangers of sugar-sweetened drinks and their contribution to the obesity epidemic. In a review of HFCS in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,(ii) he explains the mechanism by which the free fructose may contribute to obesity.He states that: “The digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose. Hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis (production of fat in the liver). In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Because insulin and leptin act as key afferent signals in the regulation of food intake and body weight (to control appetite), this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased energy intake and weight gain. Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric over-consumption.”

    He states that HFCS is absorbed more rapidly than regular sugar and that it doesn’t stimulate insulin or leptin production. This prevents you from triggering the body’s signals for being full and may lead to over-consumption of total calories. He concludes by saying that:

    “… the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”

    The corn industry takes his comments out of context to support their position. “All sugar you eat is the same.”

    True pharmacologic doses of any kind of sugar are harmful, but the biochemistry of different kinds of sugar and their respective effects on absorption, appetite, and metabolism are different, and Dr. Popkin knows that.

    David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and a personal friend, has published extensively on the dangers and the obesogenic properties of sugar-sweetened beverages.

    He was quoted as saying that “high fructose corn syrup is one of the most misunderstood products in the food industry.” When I asked him why he supported the corn industry, he told me he didn’t and that his comments were taken totally out of context.

    Misrepresenting science is one thing, misrepresenting scientists who have been at the forefront of the fight against obesity and high fructose sugar sweetened beverages is quite another.

  5. HFCS is almost always a marker of poor-quality, nutrient-poor disease-creating industrial food products or “food-like substances”. The last reason to avoid products that contain HFCS is that they are a marker for poor-quality, nutritionally-depleted, processed industrial food full of empty calories and artificial ingredients. If you find “high fructose corn syrup” on the label you can be sure it is not a whole, real, fresh food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Stay away if you want to stay healthy. We still must reduce our overall consumption of sugar, but with this one simple dietary change you can radically reduce your health risks and improve your health.While debate may rage about the biochemistry and physiology of cane sugar versus corn sugar, this is in fact beside the point (despite the finer points of my scientific analysis above). The conversation has been diverted to a simple assertion that cane sugar and corn sugar are not different.

The real issues are only two.

  • We are consuming HFCS and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history–140 pounds a year versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago.
  • High fructose corn syrup is always found in very poor-quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals, and even mercury.

These critical ideas should be the heart of the national conversation, not the meaningless confusing ads and statements by the corn industry in the media and online that attempt to assure the public that the biochemistry of real sugar and industrially produced sugar from corn are the same.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

Do you think there is an association between the introduction of HFCS in our diet and the obesity epidemic?

What reason do you think the Corn Refiners Association has for running such ads and publishing websites like those listed in this article?

What do you think of the science presented here and the general effects of HFCS on the American diet?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD


(i) Dufault, R., LeBlanc, B., Schnoll, R. et al. 2009. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 26(8):2.

(ii) Bray, G.A., Nielsen, S.J., and B.M. Popkin. 2004. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 79(4):537-43. Review.

, , , , , , , ,

65 Responses to 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You

  1. Sheila Ray February 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Thank you for a great artical. If any one wants to know I was told I had diabeties, My Dr. wanted to put me on medication, I said no i would work on it my self through diet and excercizing. I did fairly well untill I hit a stand still. I was using a solid creamer in my coffee Which the ingreadents listed as corn syrup solids. And also listed the sugar content as zero!!! I stopped using it and within six months mt A1C went from 6.8 to 5.7 just because of that!! I hopemore people will do there homework as I had to, and read labels somthing I do all the time. Aches and pains are gone energy is up and never again will I consume CORN SYRUP Anything, I will never feed it to another human being either!! thank you for a more detailed artical. Wake up everyone, get HFCS out of your diet.

    • David Crain September 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

      WHY our government hasn’t taken action against these food company’s is sick.

      • Jennifer November 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

        What’s even sicker is that HFCS is a main ingredient in many infant formulas along with non organic dairy and GMO soy.

      • Sean Ahsan December 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

        I don’t blame them, step in their shoes and look who they’re up against. The combined economic power of the HFCS supporting companies is enough to hit the economy bad. As a government of a nation, that’s one thing you want to avoid.

      • David West December 3, 2013 at 1:18 am #

        David, you are so so wrong. Please don’t spread that ungrounded blasphemy in a health related forum. It’s clear you are no public health or economics expert.

        I’m by no means an advocate for HFCS, but to take government action directly against HFCS is a terrible proposition both economically and from a public health standpoint. It would literally destroy the US economy and would exacerbate obesity problems. Let’s be realistic about one thing–HFCS is just a form of sugar and not truly poison from a biochemical standpoint.

        HFCS is not common in other countries like it is in the US. That is for one reason: the US government has long maintained (since 1789) sugar tariffs in attempts to boost domestic sugar production. The 1990 Farm Bill helped render “regular” sugar costs 2-3 times higher in the US than the rest of the world. Taking direct action against HFCS would drive food prices up, reduce GDP, result in a loss of jobs, and lower household incomes on the bottom tier, thereby increasing obesity and diabetes en masse. And if you look at countries like Australia where HFCS does not commonly replace other sugar forms, obesity is worse. Not that that’s statistically significant.

        It might be a good idea to recognize we live in a global economy in 2013 and forget about that restriction, but it’s much more complicated that that. I’m a biomedical engineer, so not qualified to speak on the matter (but for the record I do cancer technology, and have no personal interest in HFCS).

        • Sharon January 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

          Check your facts David. The US still had the highest obesity rates in the world until last year (2013) when Mexico passed the US. Australia is catching up as more and more of the US multi national fast food and cheap food chains open up, but they are still even behind New Zealand which is more closely aligned to the US with its suppliers.

    • Joan Lowe December 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup in my diet, but this Christmas, two friends gave me chocolates with corn syrup, and “natural pear preserves” with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and sugar. I became sick with the worst cold and body aches in a long time after eating these for over a week. I am still recovering. It is helpful to know that HFCS can create a systemic inflammation. I am throwing these holiday treats in the trash can!

  2. Stephen in Houston February 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    In July 2011 I was hospitalized with Deep VeinThrombosis. At the time I also had diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic depression and a long list of medical problems. While in the hospital, my diet was strictly controlled, I had surgery on both legs and 35 days later was finally discharged but I had lost over 50 lbs.

    Now, almost two years later, I have lost over 150 pounds, I do not drink any carbonated beverages sweetened or diet, I am very careful to read food labels and I will not consume anything with HFCS. My diabetes is gone, my blood pressure is normal and though my legs were permanently damaged by the DVT, the loss of weight has helped them greatly. I will share your essay on HFCS with my friends and family and urge them to curb their addiction to sweetened beverages and other food products with HFCS. Thank you for writing.

    • Mary Nash Stoddard May 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Congratulations! You’ve discovered the Holy Grail of Truth About Sweeteners – ALL of them. Including Aspartame in Diet Drinks, Foods, Gums, Vitamins, Medications, etc. Prior to Testifying at the Senate Hearings on Aspartame Safety in Washington, Nov. 3, 1987, I sat in a closed meeting with an International Consumer Advocate, who knew why I was there. He said: “We are addicting our children to Sweet Taste. In all forms – causing them to crave heightened levels of sweetness in their lives.” Think about it. I’ve since made a concentrated study of what happens in the digestive system when ‘sweet taste’ is perceived in the mouth. And, how the brain is affected. Our bodies were not created to indulge in any treats that are sweeter than those found in Nature: an Apple; Oranges; Honey; Maple sap; bananas…you get the picture. All drinks now are technically Sugarfree! But, ALL are ‘sugary-tasting’ even Diet Drinks. Aspartame, in testing, makes people fatter. In India, it’s used in cattle feed to “Fatten” cattle. It’s called Sweetos w/Neotame. In today’s world, we must Prioritize Our Poisons. Which means we should be terrified of Aspartame, but not as much by Sugar. And, HFCS falls somewhere in the middle. Coca Cola is already stepping up as our ‘salvation,’ by cutting back their regular soda ads on TV to Kids…replacing them, instead with *healthy* Diet Drinks with (neurotoxic) Aspartame sweeteners. It’s a slippery slope we don’t want to go down. Thank you, Dr. Hyman for your common sense approach to Nutrition. I hope you might rethink the way you’ve presented all sweeteners as being created equal. (HFCS/refined cane sugars/corn syrup/etc.) BTW, I definitely want to see Aspartame and HFCS off the market, make no mistake about that! Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opinion here. — Respectfully, Hon. Mary Nash Stoddard/author Deadly Deception Story of Aspartame – Founder Aspartame Consumer Safety Network & Pilot Hotline since 1987

      • Réshanda Billy September 4, 2013 at 9:26 am #

        Hi Ms. Stoddard,

        I am a lay person doing research on the effects of sucrose on the body. In this article, I took away that the author is concluding that all sweetners are NOT created equal. It seems he is saying that: A) corn syrup and HFCS can be used interchangeably, B) that corn syrup is NOT equal to refined cane sugar as it is processed differently in our bodies, and that C) either way, they both are linked to obesity and diseases, for one reason, because they are consumed in exponentially greater quantities than ever before in our history as a species. Could you possibly clarify what you mean when you suggest that Dr. Hyman presented them as being “created equally.”I would greatly appreciate it as I am trying to get an understanding of as many perspectives on this topic as I can. Thanks, -Réshanda

      • Deborah Hunter January 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        Thanks for all your hard work and for your insight and the reminder about aspartame! I’ll have to make an additional tweet to my existing, (“Goal for 2014: HFCS is the crack cocaine of sugars. We need to stop subsidizing it!”), and post one regarding aspartame.

  3. Thomas in Portland Maine March 6, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    This explains so much. I’ve had excessive weight gain, crazy high appetite, and more or less nonstop bloody diarrhea since I was about 15 years old. (I’m 30 now) To the point that 4 GI specialists, 9 colonoscopies, and a lot of “I dunno, its probably stress.” I stopped consuming anything with corn syrup in it at all, and suddenly I’m normal, and not constantly ravenously hungry.

    Long story short, thank you very much for breaking the science down for me. I’ll share this with my friends and family.

    • Sean April 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Thomas, have you been check for Fructose Malabsorption? My doctors had the same issue and kept saying it was IBS. I cut out fructose and now everything is normal, again!

  4. Leah March 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    I agree with everything you say and I try to avoid HFCS, but it sure is hard
    to avoid it. You lost a little credability when you did not include how much mercury was found…is it above or below the “safe” amount in a serving of
    “food-like0Products”? If it is way below the “safe” limit, did you leave it out
    because you underestimate your readers intlligence. If so you may be
    correct. … and do not judge my intellligenc on my spelling… I’m dyslexic
    and am tired of waisting so mucy time correcting spelling.

    Sorry this sounds so negitive. I’m just bummed out on the inability to
    get our government to get this junk out of our food.

    • DD March 19, 2013 at 5:57 am #

      The reason the doctor did not give the amount of mercury in the HFCS is because mercury is toxic at ALL levels! There is no known level at which mercury does not damage the body. It is one of the most toxic substances known to man. Remember that when you hear people talking about putting thimerosol/mercury into vaccines…

      • SBB April 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

        Actually the form of mercury should have been mentioned as it is more important than the quantity.
        DD, maybe you need to look around you a bit more – if you want zero mercury intake you need to stop eating a LOT of foods.
        Mercury is in a lot of NATURAL food – particularly fish, with some of highest levels found in shark (flake), ray, swordfish, barramundi, gemfish, orange roughy, ling and southern bluefin tuna.
        The form that the mercury is in is very important, not just the amount – pure elemental mercury is actually quite harmless whereas the organic forms are the most dangerous, particularly methyl-mercury.
        Methyl-mercury in fish mainly comes from mercury in ocean sediment that is transformed into methyl-mercury by microorganisms – YES that’s right! Methyl-mercury is produced by a naturally occurring microorganisms from naturally occurring mercury in the ocean sediment!

    • Chris March 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

      I’m 53, I’m 30lbs overweight at 220. Was told I had fatty Liver and Trygeicerides wer about 235 them to 350. and Type II Diabetes. I’ve been hooked on Sodas for years. Doctor said to lose weight. Saw an article about HFCS being tied to Hign Tryglicerides ans fatty Liver. So I stopped drinking Sodas and strangly enough my Triglycerides dropped to normal in 3 months and no more fatty Liver. Did not lose a lot of weight. My Doctor said whatever you are doing keep it up.
      Why are Doctors not educated adout this information? It just boggles my mind to think that they spend tons of money and years in colleged highly educated and yet dont have this information. It’s just not right.
      Then I was told later I had type II Diabetes. Went on Meds for that with really bad side effects. Found a Diabetes reversay program through Juicing Vegetables.
      No longer on that Medication eigher and Diabetes is no more.
      We need to take our own health into our own hands expecting Doctors to take care of us through Meds. I’m not saying Meds are bad as a whole. But in my instances eating right and stopping sodas and eating dead processed foods has cured me. Not all Doctors are unimformed for sure. But all the ones I’ve had are all the same not giving critical information to me. I had to hear it from people who eat natural diets which ar many times thought to be Radicals when in fact they are in many times eating like my grand Parents did. Natural Whols Foods. It was normal back then. Fast food did not exist.

  5. Jason March 12, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Great article! I enjoyed the points that you make here but I feel one really big one has been overlooked. That the majority of the corn being used to make corn syrup is GMO corn. These days I try to avoid products containing corn but it is extremely difficult because it is in everything! Just the thought of it gives me the willies… A thick syrup of genetically modified organisums Yuck! It astounds me that this is deemed “safe”

  6. Harriet Sugar Miller March 13, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    I’m just a bit confused on the fructose.

    Could you compare the fructose in fruit juices, balsamic vinegar, other sweeteners (honey, agave, maple syrup, molasses)? Do they have effects on fat production by the liver or gut problems similar to HFCS?

    And you’re saying that whole fruit does not cause those two problems because the fiber and other contents slow down digestion?

    • Avatar of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff April 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Hi Harriet,

      All forms of fructose, once absorbed by the stomach, go directly to the liver where they trigger fat production and triglycerides and lead to the process that encourages insulin resistance and diabesity. So Dr Hyman suggests avoiding all processed forms of sugars and moderate intake of those found in fruit. Berries, apples, pears, melons etc. are best! Stay away from juices, dried fruit and added sweeteners such as those you listed! For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to: http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

      • Neelam May 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        I am diabetic since 20 years and take insulin twice a day+ medicine too. But My sugers are still very high. I stated taking Fluctos based sweetners 10 years back and very rarly take direct suger. I have low energy, stomach upsets and many other health problems. Could it be that sweetner be a parner in this. Please advise and reach out.

        • Mischa May 14, 2013 at 4:18 am #

          Yes, your sweetener is a huge part of your problem. Maybe more so than HFCS. Look up “aspartame” dangers and do more research on it. A good substitute for the artificial sweeteners you use may be Organic Agave nectar, which is purely from the agave plant. It is low glycemic that is 100% naturally derived from a plant.

          • J August 15, 2013 at 3:59 am #

            You do realize that all agave nectar contains more fructose than HFCS? HFCS is low glycemic too, all fructose is. The agave marketing companies just trot “Low GI!” out to make it seem healthy. People have known about this for years, I don’t understand why HFCS is demonized and agave is touted as some kind of miracle sweetener. They’re both awful for you.

  7. SK Miller March 18, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    Leah, How do you know that the government is ‘in-able’ to get this junk out of our food???

  8. PCL April 1, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    I agree with Leah; I’m interested in just how much mercury they have found in this stuff. Even if any level of mercury is harmful, an added source that is trivial compared to the “background level” in the environment is much less of a concern than one that could double or triple a person’s total mercury consumption. Of course, I try to avoid HFCS anyway, because of the health risks and because it make most things taste like stale apple juice. But it’s good to know every threat associated with it.

  9. Manuel April 2, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    About a year ago I was sent this video:


    And since then I have informed anyone that will listen about this poison. It is nearly impossible to find cookies, ice cream, bread, yogurt, cereals, hot dogs, etc, etc, etc wit out HFCS, and I continually write letters to Kellogs, Craft, Kiebler, Hood (chocolate milk) etc, that I will no longer buy any of their products. Sometimes they answer most times they don’t even bother.

    Lately I have been seeing thing like :”less that 5% HFCS” less that 5% of what? whole wait of the product? amount of sugars?

    Kiebler told me that they had over 25 cookies without it, I was unable to find 1 of those cookies in Market Basket!!!!

    Also you must be careful in Whole foods because they use High Glucose Syrup, and Glucose Syrup which is the HFCS of the Europeans and just as bad for you.

    I now make most cookies and cakes and Ice cream at home, since it seems that manufactures do not want to give up on this extra cheap sweetener. They don’t seem to grasp the idea, that most people do not mind paying extra for quality.

  10. SBB April 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Nothing wrong with genetically modified foods – a large proportion of the worlds population would have starved over 20 years ago if foods such as GM wheat hadn’t been developed to keep up with the global food requirements!
    If eating “Natural” or “live” foods instead of “junk” or “Dead” foods like our ancestors is better, and these relatively recent artificial substances are so terrible, then why hasn’t the average human lifespan dropped to reflect it?

    • Barbra May 7, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Of course, the “industry” has to get in on this. GMO is safe????????? Put down the crack pipe and educate yourself. The world was never starving, that was a huge lie too. We have plenty of food, we just waste too much of it.

    • A Ryan May 8, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      While GM foods have been wonderful for hunger issues it is a double edge sword. For a great deal of people these GMO’s cause alot of issues. I had been miserable for the last 12years constantly having severe stomach issues and inflammation. When I recently went to more clean pure foods my problems went away. So I guess you have to weigh the positives and the negatives. For me and my body GMO’s make a difference. Science can be wonderful but not always the exact fix we need. Just my experience.

    • Mischa May 14, 2013 at 4:31 am #

      SBB- There has been a huge lifespan drop. GMO is the cause of many diseases such as brain related diseases, all types of cancers, obesity, diabetes. We lose brain cells and studies that have lasted so long as 10 years show memory loss among the other named problems. We as a people are not as sharp as we used to be. GMO foods kills you slowly. It is something that scientist says will show result in 10-15 years and not overnight, but the results are very damaging. Studies show children who eat organic foods vs. GMO are better behaved, listen, less emotional, and do not have or rarely have food allergies…just to name a few!!! I have just scratched the surface.

    • FIT40 May 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      That’s simple SBB. With new advances in pharmaceuticals, the human race can easily offset the negative effects of bad diets and suspicious ingredients :)

    • BW August 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm #


      How healthy is the average human throughout their lifespan now, that are exposed to all the chemicals in our “food” these days, such as HFCS? GMO foods, we still don’t have all the information on.. sure it may keep you from starving, but who knows what kind of cancer or disease you will end up with. I’d rather live a healthy life for a shorter period of time than trying to stay alive in such a state of physical (and emotional) stress.

    • heidi November 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      ^^^BWA – HA – HA (I think what we just had here was a gmo shill)

  11. Robert April 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    I have been hearing this from kids and believe it or not my chyropratictor for a long time. It all comes down to the almighty dollar. Imagine what they would loose if the truth got out to everyone. Thanks for the great and informative artycle.

  12. http://equinoxfacts.com April 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the website is
    extremely good.

  13. jon May 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    As long as the government artificially keeps the price of cane sugar high, HFCS will have this kind of huge economic advantage. There are two sugar prices in the world…U.S. and ex-U.S. , truly a crime that negatively impacts our health. Clearly the corn lobby has far more power than any sucrose producing association.

  14. Louellen May 13, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you for your article. I have avoided all products containing HFCS for many years. It is a sure way to avoid poor quality foods. I also keep honey bees and lately have read that HFCS may be one of the culprits in Colony Collapse, a major problem in the USA. Many of the big time beekeeping operations feed HFCS to their bees to cut costs and it is causing problems with poor nutrition and lower resistance to p[pesticides. HFCS is not good for any living thing. It is made using genetically engineered bacteria to break down the molecules in corn starch into single molecules which make syrup. It is an unstable compound that has no place in a nutritional diet. It is a powerful Corn lobby that keeps such a dangerous substance in the diet of our children and now honey bees. Two living things who will eat any sweet substance provided to them. It is sad so many people are not yet aware of the danger. Thank you for your effort to help people learn better ways to improve their health.

  15. Rebecca May 17, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    First, thank you for the straight forward article. I will be forwarding it to my friends. I have two small children 6 and 4, I have been paying attention to hfcs for a long time. I never bring anything into my home that contains it. Yes they still get some because it is almost impossible to avoid if you do not supply your own food. The amount that children are consuming is staggering. I am always trying to tell other parents about it and they look at me like I am a weirdo. People think if they are not giving their kids soda then its not a problem. I read labels and it seems like almost everything for kids has it. I researched this topic on my own but why aren’t pediatricians warning parents? I believe more people would take notice if they were. It truly horrified me how much I see little kids consuming. I read a study about lab rats loosing memory after consuming hfcs over two weeks!

  16. Matthew Perez August 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Thank you for such a nice article, it’s pleasant. As I have experience tasting bad and good food due to indicated ingredients, feelings, and evidences- I rather stay with good nutritional foods than with other foods that are potentially harmful to your health. Because when you eat fruits, vegetables, meats, etc; you feel like you have good nutrition-of course when you know what you’re eating and drinking as well as having the sensation of feeling good. Therefore, you will even see signs of good health when you have a nice glowing texture of beautiful skin. But when your body consumes corn syrup, modified corn starch, bad fats, you feel that as if you like the other food better because IT IS WHAT THE BODY FEELS as an effect. If you feel that your body is compromised with bad nutrition and you even see evidence of you being obese, feeling strange in the body, and even other negative effects such as acne, it might not just be genetic but it could be sign of digesting foods bad for your health.

  17. Guy V.Coulombe August 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I am inclined I might be pre-diabetic, and that the corn syrup is to blame. This year, after about 10 years of eating too much junk, fast food, sugar, and HFCS, I started have periods of feeling weak and shaky, and I noticed anything with HFCS would bring it on a couple hours. I am only about 20 lbs overweight, and I run, but I can’t seem to get rid of those stubborn pounds. Had pizza last night, and don’t feel so good right now, only to discover the Little Ceasers Pizza has HFCS in it. I am taking vitamins daily in the morning.

    I think all of us should go cold turkey on HFCS and sue these a”‘s for what they put in our food.

  18. Curtius August 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    The easiest 10 lbs I have ever lost happened when I stopped eating (as best as is possible) foods with HFCS. I did not exercise or change eating habits – I just began omitting anything with HFCS ingredients. As stated in some of the replies above – It is very difficult to find foods without HFCS – especially some of my favorites – but it can be done. The interesting thing – and I am assuming coincidental – within about 8 weeks of changing my diet I ended up in surgery because of Diverticulitis – fortunately a mild rupture if I can use that definition – but major surgery none-the-less. Now, I am more conscious of the foods going into my body and, I am becoming much more active. I have dropped over 40lbs and lost 4 inches on my waist since May. I have not stopped eating sugars but regulate and minimize. I do love fruit drinks for example and currently dilute the healthier drinks I buy by 30 – 50%. There is some benefit to this as I wean away from fruit drinks and I save money. I find that I have also become more sensitized to the lowered amount of sugar in the diluted beverages as well and there are times when my dilution will almost be 75% of filtered water to 25% juice. Thank you for the article and to everyone who wrote positive, constructive feedback – I am learning a lot from all of you!

  19. Roberta Privette August 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Thanks so much. I have been frustrated trying to find useful info – intuitively I know but I want to tell others. It’s wrong that we have such powerful Lobbying interests in our nation. It is OUT OF CONTROL. “got milk” – that’s another one that kills me.

    Great example of Crony Capitalism: Farm Bill Corn Subsidies! Really??

    And here we are dying. Great. We need to take responsibility and become active and informed!

  20. Reece Tasker August 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    HFCS is a real worry in the food chain. I am vegan so avoid this stuff anyways however what i’m seeing of my friends and family is horrendous consumption of “fake” foods like HFCS.
    But people seem to be inherently stupid and there is 80% of the population who will believe anything they are told.
    It frustrates me know end when I see friends and family getting sicker and sicker and they just laugh at my food choice ………..
    First ingredients listed on food labels are largest quantity to lowest quantity, i’m trying to teach my step son but I have to work against the powers that be

  21. CyndyeB September 9, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I suffered from IBS for 30 years. Imagine my surprise when I was tested for food allergies and discovered I was allergic to most of my favorite foods! One of my mild allergies was corn. I can eat it in small doses, but HFCS is concentrated and sets me off with inflammation and constant cramping and diarrhea. I eliminated my allergens from my diet and lost 20lbs in 2 months.
    When you start reading food labels to stay away from allergens, it becomes increasingly clear what our obesity problem is stemming from in this country. Just try to find products that have no HFCS or corn syrup or corn sugar in them. Truly eye opening!

  22. Russ Lemon September 14, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    Some HFCS is said to be almost 90% fructose. [10% glucose].

  23. Sunny September 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Having trouble responding. Website is not respondiing. I agree that HFCS is awful, avoid it whenever possible. But it is hard to get around. It is so ubiquitous.

  24. Authentic Green Coffee September 18, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this web site.

  25. brandon October 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Thank you Dr Hyman, I through my half full pop away after reading this. I will now stop drinking Arizona green tea as well as it has HFCS, and I’ll NEVER EAT CORN AGAIN!

  26. MichaelM October 31, 2013 at 8:40 am #


    You are correct, the debate misses the point, but so do you and many other Americans. The one key thing left out of the debate that could have prevented the rise in obesity and still could reverse it is personal responsibility. Obesity is not caused by HFCS or cane sugar. It is caused by a lack of self control and laziness on the part of the people shoveling and dumping all these crappy foods down their throats in quantities vastly exceeding the requirements of a normal diet. Each and every person has a choice of whether to eat a nutritionally well-balanced that is calorifically suited to their needs. Exercise is also key to health. Most Type 2 diabetics wouldn’t be if they if they did those two things. If everyone did them, then obesity would be rare. Many Americans CHOOSE not to do this. So, they effective CHOOSE to be obese and diabetic. Quit blaming all the things that are not the problem.

  27. KathleenH November 6, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I am so glad to read your informative article-I have in the last month or so stopped using heavy cream in my coffee and switched to low fat coffee creamer(non-dairy).My last doctors appointment showed that I had gained 8 pounds! I was really stumped as to why this happened, as I have not changed my diet or exercise routine.Thank you ! I will go back to heavy cream(it is better anyway!)Hopefully this will help me rid myself of these unwanted pounds!

  28. Niki November 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Thank you for this article. My husband and I just started learning about the chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis both inside and outside of our bodies earlier this year. Just since March, 2013 we have seen huge improvements in our health and eliminating HFCS is a big reason!
    By avoiding HFCS and MSG in all their forms and labels, I have lost over 55 lbs so far. I went from being extremely overweight to almost ideal weight (according to BMI measures). I have felt improvement in my body as a whole as well…less aches and pains, better digestion, more energy, no heartburn (i used to experience it multiple times a day!), I had a physical done before we started and plan to go in again a year after. I had high cholesterol and was a risk for developing diabetes and of course was overweight. I can’t wait to see the improvements!
    We as a society have been relying on the FDA to regulate our foods and have blindly trusted them to keep harmful chemicals out of them…this is not true. Now when it comes to cleaning your body and home…that is hardly regulated at all! Of the over 80,000 chemicals created in the last 50 years, only about 200 have been tested for safety for humans and animals.
    We have gone back to basics, so to speak, by going to natural, whole foods and eliminating chemicals in our bodies and home whenever possible and we will never go back to the highly processed chemically enhanced junk we used too eat/use!

  29. Cheri Tambini November 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Interesting that this is 17 % GDP and Medical Care is 16 %. Nearly half of US economy. Very hard to convince people to really want to change their habits to create better health

  30. Collin December 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    I have to say I absolutely loved your article and the use of facts was superb. Looking forward to more !

  31. spices still play December 8, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Can I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody who actually knows
    what they are discussing on the web. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light
    and make it important. More people should read this and understand this side of the story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you certainly have the

  32. conraad hahn December 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Its really quite simple, if you consume un natural (artificial foods), you suffer, but if you consume wholesome organic, natural foods, you are successful,
    thrive & generally have a happy long livelihood.
    This action is working for me.!

  33. Brian Fields December 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I was diagnosed with type two diabetes. I only took the meds for 3 weeks. and went on a no sugar or high fructose corn syrup diet for one year. and I’m no longer diabetic. My father did the same after finding out how I did it. and he is also no longer diabetic. He had been type two for a couple of years. Now all I do is make sure Whatever I eat does not include ingredients like HFCS or corn solids. and also I eat very little sugar.

  34. Terry P. December 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Migraine like headaches? High dextrose corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are connected to headaches and migraines. For years I have suffered from on and off headaches, migraines and what I thought were sinus headaches. After starting a food diary, I narrowed it down to HDCS and HFCS as the headache triggers.

    Thanks for writing this article. People need to know the dangers of HDCS and HFCS and that so many food companies like General Mills are using high dextrose corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. (One bite of a General Foods Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Granola Bar containing high dextrose corn syrup will give me a severe migraine like headache.) They should have large warning labels or enough consumer backlash to stop using HDCS and HFCS.

  35. Alan Duerden December 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Thank you for a clearly written account of why HFCS is used and its potential problems.
    I live in the U.K. and was very interested to hear the reasons for the American food inductry using HFCS in food products. The high price of imported sugars, raised by import tariffs, is something I had not understood.
    However, we are seeing a lot of products in Europe with ‘Glucose-Fructose Syrup’ (our name for HFCS) in them. Presumably our food manufacturers don’t have to pay ‘American’ prices for sugar, so why are they using HFCS? The only reason that I can think of is that it is cheaper for the manufacturers. Where are they sourcing their HFCS? I wonder if it is the American Corn Industry? If you guys are using less of the stuff now than you were 20 years ago, there will probably be excess capacity in the USA looking for a new market……

  36. ChrisJL December 19, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Listed in the “advantages” of using HFCS are “more stable” and “longer shelf life”. But what do these things really mean..? They mean that even SLIMY MOLD and BACTERIA do not want to eat it!

  37. john December 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    I believe it’s population control is all. Why is their rat poison (sodium flouride) in our drinking water? Why is aspartame (which comes from literally the feces of ecoli and is a neurotoxin the same as flouride)? I see no other reason than population controlled.

  38. Susan Taylor January 2, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks for such an informative article. I live in the UK and for the last few years have suffered migraines and IBS (which I have controlled somewhat with probiotic yoghurt) and more worryingly I had extreme fatigue at work which would come on some afternoons and leave me unable to concentrate for a couple of hours and wanting to just put my head down on the desk and sleep. This fatigue got so bad recently causing me to have to go to bed if at home or wanting to cry if at work, that I feared pre diabetes. I therefore did loads of internet research and finally concluded it must be the HFCS. I”‘ve cut them out for five weeks now and not had any fatigue or a migraine during that time. Thanks again for this information. I’ve also just coincidentally watched the US award winning documentary Food Inc from 2008 _ very interesting!!!!!!

  39. alejandro January 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Hello, I live in Colombia and I’ve been stuck with acne for over 10 years and I haven’t figured out whether it’s related to food or genes but after reading such and interesting and eye-opening article along with your meaningful feedback and stories, I think I’m going go through one of those rebooting experiences that use leafy greens. I’m very scatterbrained and that’s why it’s difficult to put together a nice and consistent diet for the next weeks or months but I hope I can keep up, juice a lot and I’ll go back to post my results…. thank you all.

  40. Stephanie Eads February 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,
    Thank you so much for your article and the clear and consise way you have helped me understand the dangers of HFCS. I have been a migraine sufferer for 20+ years, most recently on high doses of Lamictal and Keppra as preventatives and taking about 9 100 mg imatrex in 3 weeks for acute migraine. I have recently completed 30 days of a Daniel Fast (veggies, fruits, nuts, nut butters and small amount of oil) and i have been migraine free for 30 days. I am off all of the medications noted above. Now the embarrassing part, I am also a medical care provider (FNP) and I never in a million years would have linked my migraines with food. Of course, the usual suspects I did, alcohol and MSG, but never sugar or HFCS. I am now trying to add back a few foods and I believe sugar to be a trigger. You have helped in my quest to understand what I need to do. Thank you.

  41. Andrew Distad April 7, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    Dr. Hyman,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you so much for exposing the evil corruption of companies that clearly know full-well what they are doing.

    You are such a credible and trust-worthy source and I love your books!

    Thanks for all you do to make up for what the FDA should be doing.

    You clearly have a passion for making a difference!


  42. Joe April 7, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    I’ll try and keep this simple. I think we are fucked, as in literally fucked by the acronym of “fuck”: fornication under consent of the king. Christians are NOT on our side. Even if Christianity’s social-sciences are vaguely pure like a mere star on mere space, but not a negotiating Earth. As long as those niggas praise Jesus, it doesn’t matter how fat they are. If one of them so serving wants to lose weight, he has their support, as long as a majority of them are not champion, but reluctantly champion. It’s reluctant, simply because it spikes human-emotion to have further compromise. By having HFCS in the drinks, people face a much greater difficulty in resisting the spiritual-sized conflict you’d blame demons on, if you had something to hide. In retrospect, the ones willing to die for nothing, or servile Christians, will be on the look out for deviants. The HFCS’s effect blends GREATLY with people not caring about diet and SUPPORTING dark euphemisms for greater conflict like the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, conformists are the MAJOR wave of attack. I nearly can’t believe I CAN’T say THEY are the white horse of death! LOL I LOVE IT, but who understands what I am saying with a great reading level?

    I just think we’re fucked, and if you want to die peacefully in any way, practice being healthy in secret, because those niggas, including Christians, will eat you alive. They’re always funny at first, like the little dinosaurs on Lost World: Jurassic Park, but they catch up on you like mosquitoes or running away from pigs in a locked mud-hole. G damn, I hate life. sometimes, I wish knowing things would get you killed, but no one kills you. It’s all about torture lol.

Leave a Reply