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High FructOSE Corn Syrup….. “Ose” is Gross!

Did you know……High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  was originally created in the 1970’s as a cheap alternative to sugar?  Due to trade restrictions,  the price of sugar was escalating and corn was a cheaper and very accessible alternative. Manufacturers benefited financially by switching to HFCS in their products.

In 1984, Coca Cola and Pepsi, the #1 and #2 soft drink manufactures, decided to switch from sugar to HFCS in the United States.  Shortly thereafter additional food manufactures made the same substitution in processed and packaged food products.  The cheaper sweetener allowed for portion sizes to increase dramatically.  For example, the average soda size ballooned from 8oz to 20oz with little increased cost to the manufacture.  Today, not only is HFCS is the #1 sweetener found in most US grocery stores, but the US also leads the world in HFCS consumption.

What is it? The high fructose corn sugar alternative is created by milling the corn to produce a starch and then hydrolyzing that starch to yield a corn syrup.  The chemical structure of corn syrup varies from traditional table sugar.  Table sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, whereas HFCS is generally 55% Fructose and 45% glucose.  (Note: there are several forms of HFCS and percents vary in fructose concentration, but all have higher fructose concentrations as noted in its name.)

What is the problem with it? When HFCS is consumed, the human body has to do very little work to digest it. The fructose goes straight to the liver which stimulates the production of both triglycerides and cholesterol and over the long term can cause a fatty liver.  The presence of an increased amount of fructose in the gastrointestinal tract is also associated with “leaky gut”,  thus affecting our body’s immune function.  A study in mice showed that a high fructose intake increases adipose cells and visceral fat.  Leptin and ghrelin, two hormones associated with satiety, are also negatively influenced by the presence of fructose in the body. Rapidly absorbed fructose causes a spike in insulin (think fat storage) and thus a cascade of metabolic disturbances occur in the body.   Excess fructose consumption has been linked to insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, tooth decay, inflammation, liver disease, digestive dysfunction, decreased immune function, cancer and much more.

What is NCPR’s recommendation? While HFCS is responsible for a large portion of the increased amounts of fructose in our diets, it is NOT the only enemy on our tables!  Additional dietary sources of fructose (including fructose in sucrose) are foods containing table sugar, agave nectar, honey, molasses, maple syrup and fruit juices.   Recently certain food manufactures are advertising their products as “made with real sugar” as if it is healthier…..NOT!  Sugar is still, well…..SUGAR! Whether it is in the form of HFCS, agave nectar or table sugar, consumption creates metabolic disturbances and chronic health problems.

My recommendation…..hold the sugar as “ose” is gross!

Copyright © Jaime Coffey Martinez, Nutrition CPR, LLC

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