Do not be fooled, be informed and educated! In the following blog I point out some facts regarding high fructose corn syrup and then offer my recommendations in regards to diet!
The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has petitioned the U.S. FDA to allow manufacturers the option of using the term “corn sugar” instead of “high fructose corn syrup”.
In their press release on the subject, they claim that “independent research demonstrates that the current labeling is confusing to American consumers.”
They blame “inexact scientific reports and inaccurate media accounts” for the current stigma associated with high fructose corn syrup.
In reality, as opposed to the CRA’s dream world, if you need to lose weight, or if you want to avoid diabetes and heart disease, high-fructose corn syrup is one type of sugar you should avoid!
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.
Dr. Pascoe’s comments:
The #1 source of calories in the United States is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), mainly in the form of soda.
This dangerous sweetener is also in several processed foods and fruit juices.
Even seemingly “health-conscious” beverages contain more fructose than is recommended, such as Vitamin Water and Jamba Juice.
The corn industry continues to claim that it is not much different than sugar and is perfectly safe, but we beg to differ!
The primary reason HFCS so dangerous is that it is cheap to produce, so it has been added to nearly all processed food! The excessive consumption of fructose, such as HFCS, is a primary driving factor behind a number of health epidemics, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
How Fructose Ruins Your Health
Contrary to industry claims, your body does NOT recognize and treat all sugars the same.
HFCS is a highly processed product that contains similar amounts of unbound fructose and glucose.
Fructose and glucose are metabolized in very different ways in your body.
Glucose is metabolized in every cell of your body and is converted to blood glucose, while all fructose is metabolized in your liver, where it’s quickly converted to fat and cholesterol. (When a diet includes a large amount of fructose, it can therefore create fatty liver.)
Sucrose, on the other hand, is a larger sugar molecule that is metabolized into glucose and fructose in your intestine.
Fructose is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (sodas), its negative metabolic effects are further magnified.
Why does it turn to fat more readily than other sugar?
Most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. However, researchers have discovered that fructose bypasses this process and turns directly into fat.
According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and lead author of a recent research study on fructose in the Journal of Nutrition:
“Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body.”
It is also this uncontrolled movement of fructose through these metabolic pathways that causes it to contribute to higher fat synthesis. There are over 35 years of hard empirical evidence that refined man-made fructose like HFCS metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose.
When fructose is metabolized, it creates increased levels of uric acid in your body. In fact, fructose typically generates uric acid within minutes of ingestion. When your uric acid level exceeds about 5.5 mg per dl, you have an increased risk for a host of diseases, including:
- Kidney disease
- Insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes
- Fatty liver
- Elevated triglycerides, elevated LDL, and cardiovascular disease
- For pregnant women, even preeclampsia
Other specific health problems associated with excessive fructose consumption include:
- Metabolic Syndrome
- High blood pressure
- An increase in triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol level
And if you’re currently eating a diet full of processed foods, sodas and sweetened drinks, that restriction will need to be quite severe, because you’re ingesting massive amounts of fructose in the form of HFCS and other forms of corn syrup, such as crystalline fructose.
Please understand that if you eat processed foods, there’s fructose in practically every single bite of food you put in your mouth.
Ironically, diet foods are clear culprits here as well.
Yes, the very products that most people rely on to lose weight, low fat foods, are often those that contain the most fructose!
The downside of this is that fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production. (Leptin is a hormone thought to be involved in appetite regulation.) Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.
So, any “diet” food containing fructose will not help you lose any weight. Same is true with artificial sweeteners.
Another significant health concern of HFCS is that the majority of it is made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own side effects. And, adding insult to injury, last year nearly 50 percent of tested foods and beverages containing HFCS also had mercury in them!
In closing, I recommend eating a whole foods diet, and avoid soda all together! Eat as much organically grown food as possible and avoid processed foods (most foods in the middle of the grocery store). When choosing a sweetener I recommend Stevia (plant-based and SAFE).
Health be with you and yours, Dr. Angela Pascoe