An Update On Fructose And High Fructose Corn SyrupApr 12, 2005 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in NutritionThe Bottom Line HFCS is probably in most processed foods. Beware of how much you're ingesting! Fructose in fruit okay.
A few years ago I wrote an article about the differences between fructose (natural fruit sugar) and high fructose corn syrup, but lately Ive realized I didnt do the subject justice. I was inspired by a commenter on that article who thought fructose wasnt quite as harmful as I thought. Unfortunately it is and I dug a little deeper for the truth. First I will start out with probably the leading health site, drweil.com, with his June 2002 reply to an Ask Dr. Weil question about fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup:
Yes, there is a difference between fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Fructose is fruit sugar, a simple sugar that makes up one-half of the moleclue of sucrose or table sugar. (The other half is glucose, usually called grape or blood sugar.) Fructose tastes sweeter than sucrose but has fewer calories because the body does not metabolize it well. This has led some people to recommend crystalline fructose as a low-calorie alternative to regular sugar. I do not agree with that recommendation.
The body doesn't handle large amounts of fructose well. You can maintain life with intravenous glucose, but not with intravenous fructose; severe derangement of liver function results. There's also evidence that a high intake of fructose elevates levels of circulating fats, (serum triglycerides), increasing the risk of heart disease. I never use fructose in my home.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a recent invention of the food industry, made by an enzyme-mediated process. Old-fashioned corn syrup is less sweet and contains mostly glucose...
HFCS contains 54 percent fructose. Never before in history have so many people been consuming so much fructose, and I am concerned about its possible disruptive effects on metabolism. I'd advise you not to buy products made with HFCS...
Dr. Andrew Weil
I think Ill have to try some corn syrup now in my baking, hehe (I haven't, but I might). You might want to start baking with it, too, because chances are that any junk or processed food you buy will use HFCS. Many health food products, like the Luna bars or Spiru-tein High Protein Energy Meal I have reviewed and often consumed, use fructose or even High Fructose Complex as first or second ingredients. I wont buy products with the latter, but am not so worried about the fructose I ingest because aside from a homemade dessert a day I dont consume much and have no bodyfat or health problems.
Now about HFCS. It has genetically-modified enzymes for better processing and probably genetically modified corn. It also has a little more fructose than glucose in it while sugar, sucrose, is all glucose, which isnt to say that sugar isnt harmful in large quantities. Sugar will fuel cancer cells like healthy cells, deplete us of vitamins/minerals like calcium that leads to osteoporosis, create tooth decay, compromise our immune system and create extra cholesterol that hardens arteries and fattens the liver. HFCS, Ive found out, with its high fructose, will likely make us fat.
Fructose appears to behave more like fat with respect to the hormones involved in body weight regulation," explains Peter Havel, associate professor of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. "Fructose doesn't stimulate insulin secretion. It doesn't increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin (unlike glucose). That suggests that consuming a lot of fructose, like consuming too much fat, could contribute to weight gain." Whether it actually does do this is not known "because the studies have not been conducted," said Havel.
Fructose, being concentrated in fruit juice and HFCS, should be quite limited in our diets, it seems to me. There are no redeeming factors for sugar, either, except one. Its not nearly as harmful to our bodies and minds as High Fructose Corn Syrup and fructose because at least sugar contains glucose to reduce the amount of fructose we ingest from it.
So should we instead turn to artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which is called Nutrasweet and found in diet colas and products? No. To begin with you wont lose any weight because youll just drink or eat more of them. Secondly its not safe as a doctor shows us:
(he) believes, based on his database of more than 12,000 'aspartame reactors,' that aspartame can cause neurological, psychological, endocrine and metabolic problems, can cause, aggravate or accelerate migraines, and, in sensitive people, can be downright addictive. In susceptible people, 'consuming aspartame may result in such symptoms as mood disturbances, sleep disturbances, headaches, dizziness, short-term memory loss, fuzzy thinking and inability to concentrate.'
Now I reviewed another artificial sweetener called Splenda, which refines sugar into sucralose, and I concurred with the medical finding that it was safe for diabetics and a delicious way to lose weight. My diabetic friend was overjoyed with the taste and no side effects, spreading the good news to her diabetic family and friends. I wasnt so impressed with it, not being a sugar lover, and kept using honey, which is forty percent fructose, but now I use the much healthier brown rice syrup, which is maltose (a disaccharide), glucose and complex carbs. Last week my friend had to go to the hospital a couple of times because of high blood pressure. I think they just put her on more medication, so the Splenda certainly doesnt seem to be helping her. She hasnt even lost weight.
I put in a google search for fructose dangers and read various arguments about its dangers from a doctor and Jack Challem the Nutrition Reporter alongside the FDAs assumption that its safe and studies arent needed.
This Challem guy has a column or two in the Lets Live GNC magazine that I regularly read and I always enjoy him. In this article about fructose he recommends a natural sweetener from a Paraguayan rainforest plant called, in our language, stevia. Ive been using it in my baking for over two years, usually with some brown rice syrup, but not always. I reviewed it (http://www.epinions.com/content_4174291076) and here is the link to Challems excellent article.
Im incensed and you should be, too. The FDA simply ignores the very evident and pressing need to determine the safety of fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup. With an epidemic of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart problems and cancer, they should not dismiss the incredible amount of sugar and its manmade substitutes that most Americans are addicted to. Shouldnt it be obvious that the body does not work as well when overfed cheap, poor quality food as fuel?
No one expects you to go cold turkey on HFCS, fructose or aspartame products, of course. I have always gone for quality myself, but maybe you havent and are feeling intimidated by the prospect of changing your diet. Addictions are tough to crack, but if you start by substituting one food or drink at a time, itll become easier.
Check labels for HFCS. Drink filtered water instead of reaching for another cola or fruit juice. Exercise more. Bake or cook more, possibly with a slow cooker and with brown rice flour, for example. Substitute corn syrup, brown rice syrup or stevia for sugar (one teaspoon of stevia equals one cup of sugar!) and use spices. Eat more fresh or stirfried vegetables, fruits (1 to 7% fructose), whole grains like brown rice and old-fashioned oatmeal if you have no allergies, non-genetically modified soy products (tofu also has high calcium), nuts and flaxseed. Use an oil like walnut, olive or grape seed (I prefer the latter) and eat avocadoes. :-)
Ive been a vegan for about four years, but a vegetarian for almost two decades. Its been well over a decade that Ive had the flu and that was caused by going on a four-day orange juice fast (fructose flooding!) and strenuously exercising for three of them. Dont do that, please. Perhaps a day or two homemade vegetable juice fast, though.
Good luck and thanks for reading!
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