High Fructose Corn Syrup and Your Child’s Diet: Is HFCS a Health Danger?

High Fructose Corn Syrup and Your Child’s Diet: Is HFCS a Health Danger?

The crux of the corn refiners’ stance is the consumer who eschews products with corn syrup is simply misinformed as to how safe corn syrup is, especially in moderation.

Are children moderate in their intake of high fructose corn syrup? And is it dangerous for your child?

HFCS in Your Child’s Diet

Check any label and you’re likely to find high fructose corn syrup listed as an ingredient. The corn syrup is found in everything from cereals to breads, frozen foods to condiments. Sometimes surprisingly, HFCS is a component in so-called “health” foods such as protein bars, granola, and sports drinks. Unfortunately, HFCS is most often the primary sweetener in juices and soft drinks, which children consume readily.

Between 1978 and1998, soft drink consumption among youth ages 6 to 17 years increased 48% [J. American Dietetic Assoc., Vol 103, Is 10, p1326-31].

Considering HFCS products are full of empty calories with possible simultaneous reduction in milk intake and other healthful foods by children, nutrition suffers by default.

Dangers of HFCS

High fructose corn syrup has been implicated in everything from tooth decay to obesity and high cholesterol to, recently, diabetes, especially in young children [ScienceDaily]. However, other studies have found only a temporal link between HFCS intake and increased obesity [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 4, 537-543]. With studies moving one direction to another, common sense should prevail. To ensure your child a healthful diet:

Avoid HFCS When Possible

  • Serve foods and juices in their most natural state
  • Read labels and avoid products where HFCS is listed as one of the first five ingredients
  • Encourage children to drink milk or water with meals
  • Limit juice to a serving or two per day
  • Limit intake of candy, cookies, syrups and condiments and soft drinks
  • Remind your child to make smart choices at school
  • Keep fresh fruit and raw vegetables within easy reach for snacking

Essentially, avoiding HFCS is good sense as is any reduction in natural or refined sugars to the inclusion of whole foods in your child’s diet. If your child eats a balanced diet of whole grains, protein, dairy sources and fruits and vegetables, he will have less room to fill up on the empty calories of sugars and processed foods.

Yes, high fructose corn syrup is an additive worthy of attention when it comes to your child’s health. But common sense, label reading, and food in its basic form are keys to stamping out the concern

Categories: Diet, Health, Nutrition