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Video: Why You Should Never Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup

Published on December 4, 2013,

According to Dr Mark Hyman, high fructose corn syrup is the real driver behind our current epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. As well as being a huge source of ‘hidden sugar’ – especially fructose – it contains mercury and other contaminants and is a marker of poor quality, processed food…

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This is from Dr Hyman:

…In America today, we are eating huge doses of sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. In recent history, we’ve gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year (in the form of fruit) to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. That’s a half pound a day for every man, woman, and child in America.

Sugar at that dose is a toxin. And high fructose corn syrup is the worst toxin…

See more from Dr Hyman at his UltraWellness YouTube channel

Paleo Guide To High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Published on September 27, 2013,

Here’s an interesting article about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and why it is such a concern for anyone on a low carb or paleo diet. This is from PaleoDietPlusPlus.com…

Railroad tank car transporting high fructose c...

Railroad tank car transporting high fructose corn syrup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What reeks un-paleo more than something called ‘high fructose corn syrup?’ It’s excessive, it’s processed and, as if that weren’t enough, it’s extracted from a mass-produced grain. It’s also heading the list of commonly-used artificial sugars. I don’t mean ’0-calorie’ sweeteners which are easy enough to avoid, but the sweeteners in most popular supermarket foods, from Coke to white bread. But that shouldn’t be a problem on the paleo diet, should it? We steer clear of the processed stuff anyway.

However, the harmful effects of high-fructose corn syrup aren’t just from the fact that its corn-derived and chemically altered; part of the responsibility falls on the concentrated fructose— a strain of sugar that we naturally associate with fruit. What are fruit carbs doing on the paleo diet’s naughty list? To make sense of that, you’ll have to take a look at where this not-so-sweet sweetener comes from, and the relationship that it has with your body.

It’s Corn processed Twice Over

As a paleo dieter, you’ll learn soon enough how bad corn is for you. Most of the corn you find is genetically modified; on top of that, it gives you far too much starch and inadequate protein. Now, take that corn into a factory and converted to even more concentrated cornstarch. Then treat it with hydrochloric acid and microbial enzymes to create corn syrup— a well-known ingredient in processed food because of its capacity to retain moisture, and to keep your white bread fluffy and soft (preservatives, anyone?). Sounds bad enough, right?

Well, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) takes it a step further. Corn syrup is made of short-chain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides, which aren’t nearly as sweet or as soluble as the monosaccharides (single-unit molecules) fructose and glucose. That’s why it needs even more enzyme-induced breaking down to reach that stage. Of course, by this point, you can regulate the chemical activity to get the glucose-fructose ratio you want. As such, you end up with strains of HFCS whose levels of sweetness are determined by the amount of fructose. It’s like we no longer need to worry about the digestion process— or, for that matter, the tasting process—anymore, since it’s being done in labs for us.

Well, why not simply measure out regular cane sugar, honey or molasses as sweetening agents, then? Why go through the hassle of chemically tampering with corn when natural alternatives are available anyway? But there’s the rub: these natural alternatives aren’t as available as corn. It comes down to ‘economic feasibility,’ as with most commercial crops. Sugarcane or beetroot isn’t as multipurpose or as high-yielding as corn, after all. Hence, while corn production gets subsidized, sugar production gets taxed. In the process, the food industry’s main sweetener becomes a chemical mix that, on some days, makes table sugar look nutritious by comparison.

It’s High-Fructose Food for a Low-Fructose Body

Table sugar, or sucrose, isn’t all that great. It’s a molecule made up of both glucose and fructose, which is broken down into both during digestion. While sucrose is available in nature, our paleo ancestors definitely couldn’t shovel concentrated teaspoonful into their tea as we do now. So how is that very different from HFCS , which is about as sweet? Apart from the fact that we get to digest the sucrose ourselves, not very. But that difference alone is still what makes sucrose the healthier choice (though the paleo diet discourages both). As anti-paleo as sucrose may be, large quantities of independent fructose— as is present in HFCS— is even worse.

Our bodies don’t use fructose for energy production— the primary player in cellular respiration is glucose. That’s why glucose and fructose are metabolized independently, despite being similar molecules. While they are both processed through the liver, glucose, playing the more active role in the body, is kept in check by insulin, with excess glucose being converted to the inactive form glycogen. Also, glucose is transported and metabolized throughout the body.

Fructose, however, doesn’t have an insulin check and is converted almost entirely by the liver. Therefore, the more independent fructose you absorb, the more pressure your liver takes on. Furthermore, because this sugar isn’t used up in respiration, all the fructose you ingest is converted directly to stores of fat, alongside excess glucose.

This tells us two things: first, our bodies aren’t equipped to handle large quantities of fructose; from which we can infer that the original hunter-gatherer diets didn’t have a lot of fructose to begin with. Secondly, independent fructose is far easier to absorb than sucrose that needs natural digestion; so even if the glucose-fructose balance in HFCS is similar to sucrose, the syrup is still better at enabling problems like liver disease and obesity. Let’s not even go as far as HFCS!

Now, that first point might strike you as a little odd, since fructose is, after all, naturally available in fruit. Remember, though; plants too, use glucose and not fructose for cellular respiration and growth. At the other end of the plant’s functions, starch is how they store that sugar. Fructose does play its part in plants; it is a stored sugar; and more importantly, it makes fruit flesh pleasant for animals to eat and disperse the seeds. Fructose is also a component of the nectar that attracts pollinating insects. Both of these are key processes in the reproduction and proliferation of a flowering plant— but neither dispersion nor pollination applies to humans. That didn’t matter for the original paleo eaters, anyway. They ate apples and berries as they came into season, utilized the glucose and starch, and stored the smaller quantities of fructose as a secondary energy source. Our physiology still treats fructose that way; unfortunately, it didn’t count on us guzzling that one monosaccharide by the pound.

The Risks of HFCS:

The lack of filtering for fructose by our bodies, coupled with the economic ease of making and using this ‘sweetener,’ means that HFCS has had ample time to contribute to many of the health disorders that the modern-day dieter faces. As aforesaid, it overworks the liver, eventually leading to the same results as excessive alcohol consumption: liver cirrhosis. And if it’s hindering the liver’s functions, HFCS is messing with the neighboring pancreas’ work too, compromising insulin secretion and increasing the risk of a disease that we’re all too familiar with: diabetes.

The inability to metabolize fructose isn’t the only thing that adds to adipose deposits and obesity; this molecule wreaks more havoc than that. Fructose acts as a leptin inhibitor— leptin being the hormone that regulates appetite, the voice of reason to our cravings. Princeton University has experimentally proven— albeit with rats— that excessive fructose disrupts the feedback loop between leptin and the food you need to replace after respiration, enabling you to crave more indigestible carbs without so much as a prick of your intestinal conscience. And we all know that obesity and excess fat are first cousins to clogged arteries and heart disease.

All of that being said, note that the operative problem isn’t ‘fructose’ but ‘high fructose.’ The paleo diet— and common sense— can’t stress enough on the fact that an excess of any food group or type is a health hazard. Overproduction of un-paleo grains and legumes, the replacement of seasonal and organic fruits with GMOs, and the rising popularity of processed, apparently ready-to-eat food are all examples of that. High-fructose corn syrup and its consequences are simply a demonstration of what those problems can do together, condensed to a spoonful of ‘sweetener’. However, it’s very easy to pin down fructose as the bad guy along the way, considering that it’s to blame for the eventual effects.

Does that mean we steer clear of fructose? If it’s in the form of anything called ‘HFCS’ ‘corn sugar,’ ‘corn syrup’ or ‘glucose-fructose syrup’ in your ready-made pastries or tinned fruit, then yes— run! But from your grape vines or strawberry bushes? Why not? That’s not high-fructose corn syrup, after all; that’s a small dose of some good old wholesome fruit sugar, as paleo as they come.

More at:  Paleo Guide To High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

More like this at paleo-diet-plus-plus-logo

Mainstream Media Reporting Health Risks of Fruit Juices and Smoothies

Published on September 9, 2013,

The UK’s Guardian newspaper is running a high profile article alerting readers to the health risks of drinking fruit juices and smoothies – for so long seen as a ‘healthy’ alternative – based on warnings from the scientists who previously raised of the dangers of soft drinks and sodas. This is an extract…

Fruit juice drinks in Tetra Pak

Fruit juice drinks in Tetra Pak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fruit juices and smoothies represent a new risk to our health because of the amount of sugar the apparently healthy drinks contain, warn the US scientists who blew the whistle on corn syrup in soft drinks a decade ago.

Barry Popkin and George Bray pointed the finger at high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks in 2004, causing a huge headache for the big manufacturers, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

“Smoothies and fruit juice are the new danger,” said Popkin, a distinguished professor at the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, in an interview with the Guardian.

He added: “It’s kind of the next step in the evolution of the battle. And it’s a really big part of it because in every country they’ve been replacing soft drinks with fruit juice and smoothies as the new healthy beverage. So you will find that Coke and Pepsi have bought dozens [of fruit juice companies] around the globe.”

In the UK, Coca-Cola owns Innocent smoothies while PepsiCo has Tropicana. Launching Tropicana smoothies in 2008, Pepsi’s sales pitch was that the drink would help the nation to reach its five a day fruit and vegetable target. “Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to boost daily fruit intake as each 250ml portion contains the equivalent of 2 fruit portions,” it said at the time.

However, Popkin says the five a day advice needs to change. Drink vegetable juice, he says, but not fruit juice. “Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled,” he said. “Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat. The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large coke. It is deceiving.”

Nine years ago the two scientists had identified sugar-sweetened soft drinks, full of calories and consumed between meals, as a major cause of soaring obesity in developed countries. But they argue that as people change their drinking habits to avoid carbonated soft drinks, the potential damage from naturally occurring fructose in fruit juices and smoothies is being overlooked.

All sugars are equal in their bad effects, says Popkin – even those described on cereal snack bars sold in health food shops as containing “completely natural” sweeteners. “The most important issue about added sugar is that everybody thinks it’s cane sugar or maybe beet sugar or HFC syrup or all the other syrups but globally the cheapest thing on the market almost is fruit juice concentrate coming out of China. It has created an overwhelming supply of apple juice concentrate. It is being used everywhere and it also gets around the sugar quotas that lots of countries have.”

In a survey of sweeteners in US food products between 2005 and 2009 for a paper published in 2012, Popkin and colleagues found that fruit juice concentrate was the fifth most common sugar overall and the second most common, after corn syrup, in soft drinks and in babies’ formula milk.

More studies need to be done before governments and health bodies around the world will take notice. There are only two really good long-term trials – one in Singapore and one by Harvard, he says. “But all the long term studies on fruit juice in anything show the same kind of effect whether it’s a smoothie or natural [juice] and whether it’s a diabetes or weight gain effect,” Popkin added.

…In an article this year in the journal Pediatric Obesity, Bray and Popkin review the issue 10 years on from their famous paper. “The concern with HFCS in our diet has led to a reduced proportion of HFCS in beverages compared to other sugars,” they say, but add “this is a misplaced shift … fructose remains a major component of our global diet. To date, to the best of our knowledge every added amount of fructose – be it from fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverages or any other beverage or even from foods with high sugar content – adds equally to our health concerns linked with this food component.”

More at:  Smoothies and fruit juices are a new risk to health, US scientists warn

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