High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is in too many of our kids’ foods. I used to be one of those parents that liked to stock the freezer every summer with freeze pops. Now I run from freeze pops and Popsicles like the plague. They are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which was found to contain a dangerous toxic metal in a 2009 study.
As parents, we know that sugar in general should be avoided as much as possible in our kids’ diets. It’s a no-brainer. But high fructose corn syrup is especially troublesome given that it can cause neurological issues when consumed regularly. This is possibly because a dangerous metal can be found in it after it’s been processed in the chemical plant.
A neurotoxin is a poison to the nervous system.
How High Fructose Corn Syrup becomes a Poison
What’s the dangerous metal, you wonder?
It’s mercury, the stuff that was removed from most vaccines several years ago due to its neurotoxic properties.
High fructose corn syrup requires mercury in order to separate the corn starch from the kernel. Chemical companies make lye by pumping salt through large vats of mercury and lye is a key ingredient in making HFCS.
The thing is, you can argue that not all chemical companies today are using this process. True. But which brand of freeze pops and Popsicles do you buy, then? We simply don’t know. So the only option is to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup all together.
I’m not here to sensationalize the dangers or preach to all the parents out there that feed their kids freeze pops and don’t notice any damage. I’ve seen freeze pops act like a poison on my kids’ nervous systems enough times to stand by my claim. Just consider my words as a gentle warning. If you’re like me and have a child with a delicate nervous system, stay clear of anything with high fructose corn syrup.
I’m not here to argue science or politics on the issue, either. But I will give you insight into why I feel so strongly about ditching this dangerous sweetener in your kids’ foods.
Learn More about the HFCS Mercury Study by Dufault
The original investigation into whether high fructose corn syrup contains mercury began in 2004. An environmental health researcher at the FDA named Renee Dufault stumbled upon a report about mercury emissions from chemical plants. Dufault wondered if mercury might be getting into the high fructose corn syrup used in a majority of processed foods. Dufault decided to test that theory and discovered a potential hidden danger in our food. Her study was answered by the Corn Refiner’s Association decision to file a lawsuit to regain their reputation. They hoped to rebuild their brand through corn sugar campaigns touting the health benefits of corn sugar.
But the high fructose corn syrup ship is sinking. If you haven’t jumped ship yet, consider why Yoplait is advertising the fact that they’ve removed it from all their yogurt products. (Of course, we still avoid Yoplait products because they contain many other bad ingredients, but I won’t get into that right now.)
According to Bloomberg the average American eats 131 calories worth of high fructose corn syrup a day now. That’s down since Dufault’s study was published in 2009 by over 15%. It may be a testament to her work. But more than likely, I think more and more Americans are dropping the stuff from their diets because of testaments like mine. People are talking about how they feel better after they’ve given up high fructose corn syrup and corn sugars.
Freeze Pops and Kids with ADHD, Autism, Neurological Issues
Understand that my opinions on the dangers of freeze pops are based solely on my own personal experience with my own children. I’m a mom of 4 kids. I’ve got three school aged boys and two of them inherited a tendency to tic when they are exposed to allergens and toxins in their environment and diet. We learned early on that the biggest tic trigger of all was a freeze pop.
The only time I ever see neurological ticcing is when they’ve ‘cheated’ and had some candy or food sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. We aren’t a perfect family and my kids have been known to cheat from time to time. If you ask them they will tell you freeze pops are bad. They know it.
After several years corn syrup free and avoiding freeze pops altogether one of my sons decided to have a few without telling me. To protect his innocence (and guilt) he shall remain nameless. What resulted was an immediate onslaught of eye winking that just wouldn’t stop for weeks. I mean, WOULDN’T STOP, PERIOD! Of course it was exasperated by stress and continued freeze pops behind my back before my son finally came clean. I was nearly losing my mind trying to figure out if all my research and practice was really flawed or not. I had begun to do extensive new research on causes for chronic ticcing and kids with tic disorders. I prayed a lot, and asked God for some wisdom. Then it dawned on me. I needed to really sit down and talk with the boy. He came clean. Fessed up. Owned it.
My Son’s Journey with his Tic Disorder
In 2007 we eliminated artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and corn products from our house after my son was diagnosed with a chronic multifocal tic disorder. Since that time I’ve been able to reintroduce small amounts of organic corn to our kids’ diets without issue. But we are corn “light” in our house and very diligent in avoiding GMO corn like the plague. Aside from my son’s decent into freeze pop hell this past spring, he had been completely tic free for over 5 years. I asked him if he’d like to say something to our Healthy Family readers about eating freeze pops and Popsicles. He gave me a funny smile and said, “Mom, just tell them to stay far away from the stuff, especially kids like me who have tics.”
He also wanted to tell kids not to worry. It’s possible to make homemade Popsicle-like treats that taste fantastic using fruit, yogurt, even homemade lemonade. Lucky for me he developed his own passion for a replacement treat and hasn’t bothered me with yet another mom job. His stuff tastes pretty good, too, which is quite a bonus.
Read the Study on Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup
(i) Dufault, R., LeBlanc, B., Schnoll, R. et al. 2009. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: Measured concentrations in food product sugar. Environ Health. 26(8):2.