A Not So Sweet Surprise

I keep coming across articles & conversations about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and its dangers. I know it’s bad stuff, but didn’t really know that it’s MUCH worse than sugar. I skim most but took the time to read this one.

As usual, I feel like I don’t have time to write a thorough post. But I’m going to try to get back to posting more frequently, and keeping it short, just doing what I can. Better to “hit a lick at a snake”, as Flylady would say.

Most of the following info. is from this article; click to read the whole thing. Bold is mine to emphasize main points.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) came around in the early 1970s. It’s now the main sweetener in soft drinks and is increasingly replacing sugar in baked goods, bread, cereals, canned fruits, jams and jellies, dairy desserts and flavored yoghurts. Sweeter and less expensive than sugar, HFCS represents the major change in the American diet over the last forty years.

Although the food industry made this change very quietly, consumers are beginning to ask a lot of loud questions about the new sweetener as research accumulates to indicate that it is much worse for us than we thought. Growing consumer resistance to HFCS is the likely explanation for a recent industry campaign to put the new sweetener in a favorable light. Ads run on television and in popular magazines portray HFCS as benign and its critics as bossy, overbearing, unqualified and misinformed.

Since refined carbohydrates, sugar and HFCS included, tend to be addictive, it is basically impossible to follow the advice to consume them “in moderation.” In fact, the entire food industry has succeeded very well over the past thirty years in getting Americans to consume far more than moderate amounts of refined sweeteners, particularly high fructose corn syrup. Between 1970 and 2000, the per capita consumption of HFCS in the U.S. increased from less than one pound per person to over sixty pounds yearly. There can be no debate about the fact that both sugar and HFCS, with their empty, depleting, addictive calories, are bad for you. But the real question is whether HFCS is actually worse for you—more depleting and more damaging— than ordinary sugar. The research indicates that it is.

Calorie for calorie, HFCS is more likely to cause weight gain than sugar.
The industry would have the public believe that the fructose in fruit and in HFCS are chemically identical. The fructose in HFCS is not recognized in the human Krebs cycle for conversion to blood glucose in any significant quantity, and cannot be used for energy utilization. Instead, these refined fructose sweeteners are primarily converted into triglycerides and adipose tissue (body fat). In fact, a new study found that obese people who drank a fructose-sweetened beverage with a meal had triglyceride levels almost 200 percent higher than obese people who drank a glucose-sweetened beverage with a meal.

Chronic high triglycerides translate into increased insulin resistance, inflammation and heart disease. HFCS is a recipe for obesity, lack of energy and metabolic syndrome—sounds like the modern American addicted to a diet of HFCS-sweetened sodas.

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