Tuesday, July 6, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup - A big No, No

Take a look at this newsletter from Dr. Gabe Mirkin about high fructose corn syrup. If you are an athlete, read food labels and stay away from this awful ingredient in many foods!

Is high Fructose corn syrup more fattening than sugar from sugar cane and beans?

Possibly. Researchers from Princeton University report that rats become more obese by drinking high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) than by drinking sucrose, sugar from cane and beets (Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, March 18, 2010). Rats fed high-fructose corn syrup drinks in addition to their standard rat food gained much more weight than rats given sugar water plus their regular diet.

In a second experiment by the same research team, rats on a regular laboratory diet were offered free access to HFCS. Compared to those given only the regular diet, they had a 48 percent greater weight gain, higher blood triglycerides and higher body fat content, primarily in their bellies. Of course, the rats drinking any kind of sugared drink in addition to their meals would gain more weight than rats eating only their regular diet. Sugar water in any form is fattening, and that includes fruit juices.

Both HFCS and conventional sugar (sucrose) contain a mixture of two sugars, glucose and fructose, in nearly the same concentrations: HFCS has 55 percent fructose/42 percent glucose, while sucrose is a 50/50 mixture. So the relative concentrations of glucose and fructose are not important. According to the authors, the fructose in sucrose from cane or beet sugar is bound to glucose and must be first separated from it, so it is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. The manufacturing process for HFCS frees the fructose from glucose to makes it into a free, unbound form that is absorbed more rapidly into the bloodstream. This caused the rats to have *a higher rise in blood sugar, associated with cell damage in diabetics, *a greater production of insulin that increases heart attack risk, *a higher rise in triglycerides, and *abdominal obesity associated with increased risk for heart attacks and diabetes. However, this has not yet been demonstrated in humans.

The glucose in regular sucrose from cane or beet sugar may be safer because it is more likely to be stored as glycogen, in the liver and muscles, where it is used for energy. If the unbound fructose from HFCS is more likely to be converted to fat, it would make you fatter and increase risk for heart attacks and diabetes. Again, this has not been proven in humans.

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