The Main Health Risks

What are the main health risks in using high fructose corn syrup as a major sweetener? The research explores the main conditions which are caused by the use of this product, i.e. diabetes. Obesity is also discussed since it accounts for a large extent of nutritional conditions among the U.S. population. It should also be noted that obesity does contribute to Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, discussing the two conditions will help depict the association between high fructose corn syrup and the two health problems better.

Working thesis statement

High fructose corn syrup has been linked to serious health issues in the United States; therefore, the sweetener should be replaced with natural sugar and the community should be educated on the health risks involved.

Corn syrup and diabetes

The increased rate of high fructose corn syrup consumption is attributed to the prices of the products in which corn syrup is used as an additive. Most of the processed products in the market have a percentage of the corn sugar. Restricting people from using and consuming added sugar in their drinks will not solve the problem of acquiring diabetes. Products such as bread, ketchup, pasta sauce and most coating for fried food, cakes and sweets are all examples of foods with corn sugar content. The U.S. government has made a decision to subsidize corn; thus, most food and drinks manufacturing and processing companies have opted to use corn as their source of sugar. Consequently, the quantity of natural sugar used in the U.S. has declined while consumption of high fructose corn sugar increases. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. is averaged at 60 pounds per year (Parker, H. march 22, 2010).

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A close analysis of the trend of diabetes among Americans shows that diabetes cases are on the rise. In the past 15 years, rate of diabetes, in America, has escalated by over 45 percent. The number of children cases with diabetes is believed to have increased drastically during the time corn sugar gained prevalence in the food industry. The metabolism pathway followed by the fructose in the body is different from that of used by the glucose. This pathway differs from the other normal carbohydrates pathways since it skips the glycolysis step. Therefore, the body tends to accumulate a compound known as acetyl CoA. The compound is then converted for fat disposition in the body. The high levels of circulating blood sugars in the body interfere with the blood sugar homeostasis, thus increasing the chances of developing diabetes (Nelson, October 23, 2010).

In addition to these, fructose does not stimulate insulin production. Insulin hormone is a chemical that is produced to reduce the level of blood sugar once it increases beyond the normal range of 3.6-9.0 G/dl. This hormone activates glycogenesis in the body where glycogen is synthesized from excess glucose.  The end product is stored in the body and broken down during times of starvation. The inability of fructose to stimulate insulin production causes the body to have high levels of sugars. Body cells are unable to exhaust the excess sugar, hence the individual becomes hyperglycemic and is consequently diagnosed with diabetes.

Leptin is another vital hormone in the body. The hormone is attributed to the satiety level of the body, thus controlling the amount of food an individual’s consumers. In normal cases, the hormone production is controlled by insulin. Since fructose does not stimulate insulin, Leptin is absent in those who consume high fructose corn syrup. Consequently, they end up taking more and more sugar which is believed to contribute significantly to diabetes. This issue is prevalent in children who do not have the sense of controlling their intake (Nelson, October 23, 2010).

The increasing trend of diabetes in the U.S. needs to be taken seriously and intervention to control it implemented. Currently, 30 percent of Americans born in 2000 are projected to develop diabetes. If this happens, there will be increased incidences of blindness, renal failure, heart failure, heart diseases and nerve diseases. The causes of these diseases are directly linked to diabetes (Nelson, October 23, 2010).


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