As a child, I loved candy and sweets. I’m very lucky I didn’t have more than a few cavities. I still do, but for many years, I have significantly limited my consumption of sugar and eliminated sweetened beverages in exchange for water. Do you drink sodas, soda pops, or as we call them in the Midwest US pops? Do you drink more than one a day? Or do you eat a lot of processed foods?
Chances are you’ve overexposed yourself to a leading cause of obesity, diabetes, cancer and First and foremost, the evidence indicates most Americans and people living in industrialized cultures consume too much sugar. The average American eats over 142 pounds of sugar a year—over a half pound a day!
Beyond sugar, there is a particular form that is particularly harmful to our health. What could the ingredient be? High fructose corn syrup (HCFS). Despite the industry’s attempt to convince consumers that it is no different from any other sugar product, quite simply stated, all sugars are not equal.
Fructose, a sugar derived from corn, can cause fat cells to grow and increase, surrounding key organs. It can also stimulate the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.
In 1966, HFCS was invented in 1966 in Japan and in 1975 it entered the American market. Food and beverage manufacturers began to use it instead of sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup when they learned that it was much cheaper to produce. In comparison, sucrose costs about three times as much as HFCS.
HFCS is also, approximately 20% sweeter than table sugar. And it is made from GMO corn!
Still, the switch from sugar to fructose drastically altered the average American diet. The statistics are beyond alarming:
- Corn syrup is added to every type of processed, pre-packaged food imaginable. Between 1970 and 2005, according to the USDA, its use in the U.S. diet increased by 10,673 percent!
- The current annual consumption of HCFS is 63 pounds per person, almost half of the 141 pounds consumed in the US.
- Teens are eating over 3 ounces, 73 grams per day of fructose, primarily soft drinks and juice drinks -- and 12 percent of their total caloric intake is from fructose alone.
Even more concerning, many infant formulas are more than 50 percent sugar -- 43 percent being corn syrup solids.
A study published in 2009 determined for the first time that fructose, a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks, can damage human metabolism and is a significant contributor to the obesity crisis.
During a 10 week study, 16 volunteers were placed on a controlled diet including high levels of fructose. Their bodies produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also demonstrated indications of other food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. Interestingly, a second group of participants, consumed the same diet, with one exception they consumed glucose (another sugar) instead of fructose. No one in this group experienced these problems.
This study takes its place in a growing lineup of scientific studies demonstrating that consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health. It is now known without a doubt that sugar in your food, in all its myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll.
And fructose in any form -- including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose -- is the worst of the worst!
Also, fructose is makes a significant contribution to the development of:
- Heart disease, cancer, arthritis, liver disease and gout
- Obesity and Insulin resistance (Syndrome X)
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal fat metabolism including increased LDL (lower density lipoproteins) and triglycerides ( in our bodies carbohydrates convert to triglycerides and are stored as fat)
- Loss of vitamins and minerals
- Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis
Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium -- and in fact, every living thing on the Earth--uses glucose for energy.
If you received your fructose only from vegetables and fruits (where it originates) as most people did a century ago, you’d consume about 15 grams per day -- a far cry from the 73 grams per day the typical adolescent gets from sweetened drinks. In vegetables and fruits, it’s mixed in with fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients, all which moderate any negative metabolic effects.
It isn’t that fructose itself is bad -- it is the MASSIVE DOSES you’re exposed to that make it dangerous.
Fructose is so harmful because the body processes it very differently from glucose. Every cell has the capacity to absorb and use glucose as an energy source, while only your liver can process fructose.
Also, the massive quantities of fructose consumed, has caused much more damage.
What’s a reasonable alternative?
First and foremost, for many reasons, I think it is critical to seriously reduce your consumption of processed foods. It’s a challenge, but vital. Processed foods contain not only high fructose corn syrup, GMO soy, corn, other artificial sweeteners, and a host of chemicals, including preservatives that are not healthy. Plus, the food lacks life force—photons that’s present in healthy fresh fruits, vegetables.
I have used the herb Stevia for years, while honey or cane sugar (preferably organic) are much better.