Yeah, you read that headline right – there’s mercury in high fructose corn syrup. Not in all HFCS, but in at least some. It apparently depends on the type of caustic soda used in the processing of the corn. Sounds yummy, yes?
We already know of the possible links between HFCS and obesity, insulin resistance, and (eventually) diabetes, and that we should consume it in moderation, if at all. (Studies here, here, and here, just to name a few.)
Now, with mercury possibly contaminating a large percentage of our processed foods, moderation is no longer enough. There is no truly safe limit of mercury exposure, especially in pregnant women or children. We are already exposed to it in fish, meats, and vegetables (due to bioaccumulation) – we shouldn’t also consume it in every cracker, slice of bread, or can of soda.
The study that found the mercury (abstract and full PDF, for free, here) estimates that that potential average daily mercury exposure from HFCS could range from zero to 28.4 micrograms mercury.
To put that number in perspective, the researchers point out that Canada and other countries do not recommend the use of dental amalgam, a common source of mercury exposure, in pregnant women or children. Dental amalgam exposure ranges, on average, from 0.79 to 1.91 micrograms of mercury. The possible exposure from HFCS is 14 times that.
Our food system is slowly killing us.
Next time you want to pour a bowl of cereal with HFCS for breakfast or crack open a soda with lunch, why not lick a broken thermometer too?
Check your pantry and get rid of HFCS. It’s in more items than you might realize. The government won’t act quickly or on our behalf – the industry lobbies are too strong and the FDA too incompetent. (They have long insisted that HFCS is “natural”.) But if we stop buying it, manufacturers will stop putting it in everything.