The corn syrup used in ketchup is actually high-fructose corn syrup, a very common ingredient in processed foods that can pose dangers to those who are allergic to fructose or corn and possibly to healthy people as well.
Americans consume 30 percent more high-fructose corn syrup than they did 20 years ago. The additive is more stable than sugar and ensures a longer shelf life when added to beverages and processed foods, such as ketchup.
Researchers suspect links between high fructose corn syrup and the increasing numbers of cases of obesity and diabetes. There may also be a link to high blood pressure in previously healthy people. A 2009 study by Dr. Diana Jalal, of the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center, found that if subjects with no history of high blood pressure consumed the high-fructose corn syrup equivalent of 2.5 soft drinks daily, their risk of high blood pressure went up 25 percent to 87 percent.
Those in immediate danger from the high fructose corn syrup in ketchup and other processed foods are people born with a rare genetic condition called Hereditary Fructose Intolerance (HFI). Their bodies cannot process the fruit sugar called fructose.
People who are allergic to corn and following a corn-free diet are also in danger of a life-threatening allergic reaction from consuming ketchup or other processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.
Diabetics are in particular danger from the hidden sugars in ketchup. Those risks increase when combining any of the processed foods with high-fructose corn syrup, which means 40 percent of all processed foods.
Some natural food advocates view high-fructose corn syrup as more harmful than sugar. Scientific evidence has not proved those claims, but too much sugar of any kind is a danger to health.
The American Chemical Society has compiled a list of foods such as ketchup that can hike up sugar consumption to danger levels due to high-fructose corn syrup. Many items on the list are not things anyone would expect to contain sugar, including meat products such as hot dogs, chicken products, sea food and ham; baked goods including bread and even low-carbohydrate breakfast cereals; dairy products such as yogurt, cheese spreads and flavored milk; and snack foods such as crackers, potato chips and pretzels.
- Natural-Cure-Alternatives.com: High Fructose Corn Syrup
- FructoseIntolerance-Options.com: Discover and Compare Alternative Medicine"
- OneTouchDiabetes.com: High Fructose Corn Syrup: How Sweet It Isn't
- Heathmad.com: Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup
- "News.Health.com: Fructose may raise blood pressure" October 30, 2009
catsup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
About this Author
Lynne Murray has over 40 years writing experience, with publications including six mystery novels and an interview with Darlene Cates, of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." Lynne received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from San Francisco State University. She's conducted workshops at the Open Education Exchange and Southwestern Writers Conference.