Quantities of mercury have been found in high fructose corn syrup, the ingredient that has replaced sugar in many of our processed foods. Reports have also come out that the FDA knew about traces of the toxic substance in food, and sat on the information.
(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," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.
In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.
And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.
More charming facts about high-fructose corn syrup
HFCS contains more fructose than sugar and this fructose is more immediately available because it is not bound up in sucrose. Since the effects of fructose are most severe in the growing organism, we need to think carefully about what kind of sweeteners we give to our children. Fruit juices should be strictly avoided--they are very high in fructose--but so should anything with HFCS...
...(Scientists conducted) studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose (the sugar found in corn syrup.)
The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results.
The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy--that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development.
Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen production. (Copper deficiency, by the way, is widespread in America.)
In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young.