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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Another Reason For Your Thyroid To Hate High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Post Published: 09 August 2009
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Category: How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass
This post currently has 19 responses. Leave a comment

This month, our Dear Thyroid Flickr photo pool,  theme is hope.   You know, hope as in, where do you find that reason to keep going, keep living, keep doing and dreaming, even whilst living with this horrific disease.   For me, as you all know, food is the biggest part of that hope (and my photo contribution clearly depicts this).   But when it comes to food itself, another hope I have is that one day, we’ll be sold readily accessible and affordable goods that aren’t highly toxic, highly addictive, and in the end, disease-promoting (and, hello!!! — endocrine disrupting).   I really believe in this from-the-ground eating stuff because it just makes so much sense to me: we’re all denizens of this certain ecosystem where what we should eat is already provided via the earth, naturally.   This means without industry and production.   So in following that theme, today I think it’s important to talk about high-fructose corn syrup, and maybe not necessarily for the reasons you’d think.   It’s found in practically every premade item we buy, and yes, many of us are in agreement that we could all use much less of the stuff in our diet.   HFCS has been linked to various diseases and disorders, including diabetes, liver damage, metabolic syndrome, and many others.   It can lead to cravings and vicious binges of calorie-laden, high-carbohydrate and nutrient-devoid foods.   It may come from corn, but in reality, there’s nothing natural about it: it is highly refined and is not found in nature. And HFCS consumption gets even more serious for those of us with chronic illness and compromised immune systems, for a reason other than these.  It’s been swept under the rug — under wraps — but recently has received some national and mainstream attention.

It’s only common sense that something with a name like “high-fructose” wouldn’t be good for anyone (though it does happen to be America’s favorite manufactured sweetener, because after all, fructose is a simple sugar).   It’s been banned in most of Europe, but we still consume vast quantities of the stuff.   Sure, most natural foods (including fruits, vegetables, and natural sweets like honey) usually contain fructose (and glucose for that matter), but not at the high levels and unnatural ratios as high-fructose corn syrup.   Nothing screams “delicious and sugary sweet” like large vats of viscous extraction.

Speaking of vats of viscous extraction, here’s what we thyroidish people need to know.   High-fructose corn syrup is created when corn kernel starches are extracted for processing, using lye. Yes, you read that right.   Lye.   Lye, as in laundry detergent, soap, chemical cleaners, metal polish, hair products, drain de-cloggers, and even pool cleaners.   Makes you hungry right?  If this weren’t reason enough to stay the fuck away from HFCS, there’s more (as if I wouldn’t have more debbie downerish stuff?).   Lye is made when salt is pumped through vats of mercury.   (This is scary to you too right?)  Mercury, as in the neurotoxin.   Mercury, as in human beings, when exposed to continual doses (such as, everyday eating, every meal, every few hours in this country), experience serious adverse reactions and disease.   Mercury, of course, is linked to all sorts of neurological disorders, in addition to posing serious harm to fetuses and children and causing things like dizziness, blurred vision and headaches in adults.   But, for you and I, mercury means bad things for our impaired immune systems.

Mercury is linked to the development of autoimmune diseases, plain and simple.   In studies involving mice, animals administered mercury developed lymphocyte proliferation and autoimmunity resulted.   Not only does this mean that mercury can cause autoimmune disease, but also that it can speed up a preexisting autoimmune disease (increase its severity and the overall process of degeneration).   But get this, the mice who were exposed to mercury before receiving an official diagnosis of autoimmunity actually fared much worse and had much more severe manifestations of illness than those who were first diagnosed and later exposed to mercury.   What this tells us is avoiding mercury-containing foods is paramount for those of us with chronic illness.   But these words of wisdom extend further than just to those of us with Hashimoto’s or Graves’.   Even if your thyroid is simply hyper or hypo, without the autoimmunity, the idea is that we are all still susceptible to the potential of developing autoimmune disease via mercury exposure, such as in high-fructose corn syrup.   (Note that there are many other dietary sources with high mercury content, but today, HFCS is our target because it is just in so many foods.),   We know that the main causes of thyroid disease are antibody attacks on the gland, and that the autoimmune varieties of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common forms of all thyroid disease.   Therefore, if you already have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, without autoimmunity, you are still at risk, via mercury exposure, of developing Thyroiditis. This is big news.

The best way to avoid high-fructose corn syrup without going crazy is to simply eat from-the-ground foods; things in their whole form: fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, grains if you can tolerate them, etc.   Stay away from processed foods as much as possible and learn to read not only the nutrition content on packages, but also the ingredient labels.   For me, ingredient labels are so much more important and deserve more of our consideration.   And this idea has even spawned an eating plan of its own: the no high-fructose corn syrup diet.   Sounds reasonable to me.   Oh, and of course, it’s not so simple as merely eliminating “sweet” foods from your life.   No, actually, high-fructose corn syrup is in everything. We’re talking bread, mayonnaise, pickles, salad dressing, and so many savory others.   Avoid processed foods and read those labels.

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

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19 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Another Reason For Your Thyroid To Hate High-Fructose Corn Syrup”

  1. Sz says:

    You said it all. If there is one thing to avoid (other than GMO food) it is HFCS. And guess what! HFCS is probably GMO as well! Double whammy!

    Also: Ewwww lye and mercury 🙁

  2. Pam says:

    Wow, I didn’t know HFCS was banned in Europe. I used to work at a company called Mercury. I had no idea they used lye & mercury to make HFCS; I just figured if there was so much sugar in all these foods, it can’t possibly be good for you so I tried to avoid it. But it’s difficult when eating out since many restaurants don’t post ingredient lists. As I always say, quantity does not equal quality. Very informative article, Liz!

  3. Pam says:

    Liz, have you done a column on tap water? I use a Brita filter b/c I don’t like the taste of tap but I know mercury and other bad things are common in our water. It’s just impossible to stay away from! I mean, we have to shower & wash our hands with it. I stopped drinking bottled water when I learned how bad it is for the environment. I drank bottled water for years though. I rarely drink anything besides water so it’s very possible I could have become sicker b/c of whatever was in the water. 🙁

  4. bee says:

    the only time i want “something not found in nature” on or in my body is my hair dye—actually, that was when i did dye my hair—and i kept looking for colors “not found in nature”…so i stopped b/c it was getting too weird-thanks for the info—i confess to not paying as much attention to some of this stuff as i should cuz i’m just so damn tired of it all—if i wanted to be a rocket scientist, i would’ve applied to NASA or MIT

  5. Pam says:

    Aw, you’re making me blush! 😉 Ah, I did read that column but I will re-read it. My memory is bad these days (imagine that! 😉 I have been interested in environmental issues ever since one of my junior high teachers taught us about recycling. I always wonder about “invisible” pollution & wonder how people can knowingly hurt the environment (and who knows what else) all just to make a buck. It is a lot to worry about though so I try not to. You can only do so much.

  6. Regina says:

    Great article Liz. I mean no disrespect but.. what the hell do you eat? I’m trying to clean up my diet but trying to find anything that doesn’t have HFCS, antibiotics, poisons, grains I should avoid or is GMO is practically impossible. What’s left? Is there any “real” food anymore?

    PS. sorry I’m behind with my comments. I’ve been away on vacation and I’m catching up.

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