One Important Step Toward Better Health

If there is one dietary change that you can make immediately to attain better health for you and those you cook or shop for, I suggest you eliminate high fructose corn syrup (“HFCS”) from your diet.  Check the labels on all the foods you buy, and if high fructose corn syrup is one of the first five ingredients, consider replacing that product with another, less processed substitute. Why? While there is debate, more and more studies suggest that HFCS is not only linked to obesity and its related diseases, but also to cancer. 

To jog your memory, HFCS is a sweetener  found in most processed foods and beverages, including candy, crackers, salad dressing, soft drinks, juices, barbeque sauces, yogurt, bread, cookies, frozen entrees, and  canned soup. According to an August 17th article posted on Phil Lempert’s Supermarketguru.com site, two recent studies have uncovered more bad news. One study found a link between fructose and the accelerated maturation of fat cells, while the other study found a link between fructose consumption and the proliferation of cancer cells.

Here are the highlights of the informative Lempert article and substantiating information from a ScienceDaily release:

What is HFCS? It’s corn syrup that is processed to transform its glucose molecules into fructose molecules (both of which are simple sugars; but fructose is more than twice as sweet as glucose) and is then mixed with pure corn syrup (100 percent glucose), to produce a specified level of sweetness. Why bother? HFCS increases the shelf life of processed foods, is cheaper than cane sugar (about half the price), and is easy to incorporate in food manufacturing. Sounds like a perfect ingredient, but some sources claim that it is a toxic chemical. On the other hand, HFCS supporters dispute these claims saying that the ingredient is comparable to table sugar.

Debate is fine, but a recent study conducted by a team at the University of California Los Angeles found that tumor cells thrive on sugar, (both fructose and glucose), but specifically used fructose to multiply. In short, cancer cells readily metabolize fructose for proliferation.

While fructose naturally occurs in fruit, health professionals believe that fruit is not the culprit since most of American’s fructose intake comes from processed foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 75% of Americans do not eat the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Meanwhile, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, states that US consumption of HFCS increased 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990.  Since most Americans consumption of processed foods far outpaces their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables – processed food is the likely source of the astounding increase.

Why is fructose specifically suspected of contributing to America’s increasing waistline? The lead researcher quoted in the ScienceDaily article  about the laboratory study from the University of Bristol in the UK that looked at biopsy specimens of both subcutaneous and visceral fat (belly fat) from 32 healthy-weight children said that,  

“Our results suggest that high levels of fructose, which may result from eating a diet high in fructose, throughout childhood may lead to an increase in visceral [abdominal] obesity, which is associated with increased cardiometabolic risk,”  Fructose, the research team found, had different effects than glucose and caused fat cells to differentiate more — that is, to form more mature fat cells — but only in abdominal fat.      

The Lempert article goes on to say that having a large waist circumference is associated with inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease. Additionally concerning, a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine  found that larger waist circumference was associated with higher risk of death for all categories of Body Mass Index in people 50 years or older, in other words, regardless of whether you are normal weight, overweight or obese!

So think twice about ingesting HFCS.  Read labels, and decrease your overall sugar consumption where you can, especially HFCS. The American Heart Association says too much sugar of any kind not only adds pounds, but is also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke. So cut it out wherever you can!

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Date: Friday, 3. September 2010 0:27
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1 Comment

  1. 1

    Hi,

    My google alert for HFCS picked up your post.

    Solid article. If your readers want a quick math lesson about HFCS try this:

    Sucrose, a disaccharide of fructose linked to glucose is precisely 50% fructose: 50% glucose.

    It can be no other ratio.

    HFCS-55, which sweetens all national brands of soda, is 55% fructose: 45% glucose. This appears to be similar to the ratio found in

    sucrose. About 5% different, right?

    Now, let's do the numbers.

    55%:45% = 55/45 =1.22

    This means in every American Coke, there is,

    compared to glucose, 22% more fructose. According to current statistics one third of our ingested HFCS calories come via sweetened

    beverages. That's a lot of extra fructose our

    livers are forced to metabolize.

    And remember, the CRA, not mother nature, designed that ratio.

    Trying to get the HFCS-out,

    Cynthia Papierniak, M.S

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