Global health activists have warned about the inherent health dangers from the daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for many years. Numerous studies have linked the artificial derivative from corn to an array of maladies including diabetes and organ damage. The human organ most at risk from the long term consumption of HFCS is the liver.
Now a new study published in the journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Hepatology reports a team of medical scientists has linked increased levels of fructose and HFCS consumption to deleterious effect on a critical compound called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP permits energy transfers between the cells in the liver. Higher consumption of products containing fructose and HFCS tend to suppress and reduce the normal levels of ATP, that in turn can compromise the primary function and stability of the liver eventually leading to organ failure.
Fructose—and the concentrated form HFCS—found its way into America's food chain as a sweetener after a dramatic spike in sugar cane commodity prices during the mid to late 1970s. Scrambling to find a cheap substitute to avoid slamming the consumer with significant hikes in their products, food manufacturers and processors introduced fructose and HFCS as an alternative to sugar.
During the 1980s thousands of products once containing sugar were made with fructose and HFCS instead. Leading the way were sugary drinks like sodas and certain processed fruit juices. But fructose and HFCS can be found in almost every processed food product. Today, the sweetener is virtually ubiquitous. It's an ingredient in soups, packaged foods, even certain brands of nuts and baby foods.
Interestingly, as more manufacturers substituted HFCS for sugar in their products the rate of obesity and cases of adult diabetes began climbing.
In a report on the study, John Phillip writes that "The researchers determined that participants with the highest intake of dietary fructose had lower liver ATP levels and a greater change in ATP content following the fructose challenge as compared to those who consumed a lower amount of fructose. Patients with high uric acid levels displayed lower ATP stores in response to fructose. This means that fructose consumption is directly correlated to metabolic liver function and is a significant determinant in how well the liver performs its more than 300 critical functions necessary to sustain life."
The study's data indicates that the equilibrium of liver functions may be impaired by a relatively high daily consumption of HFCS and the less concentrated fructose.