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How Processed Foods Destroy Your Health, Part II

See Part I – Enriched, Processed and Bankrupt!

Ingredient Investigator Extraordinaire: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Hello, my friends!  I hope that you are treating life well. Today, we are going to investigate the ever ubiquitous and pernicious sweetener: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This common sweetener is often used in place of sugar in the United States. In fact, Americans eat over 41.5 pounds of HFCS per year, and consumption rates continue to increase!

To put things in perspective, experts estimate that nearly 70% of the American population (of all ages) is addicted to sugar. HFCS has exponentially increased this percentage.  We know that over 64% of us are either overweight and/or obese, and we know that HFCS in large part is to blame. Unfortunately, obesity is just one of the health problems linked to HFCS. Other negative side effects include heart disease, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, diabetes, and more.

The Nuts & Bolts of Corn & Syrup!

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is considered processed food because the enzymes in the original corn have been processed from natural glucose into fructose.  This is a significant problem, as you will soon find out. HFCS consists of 24% water and the rest SUGAR—yes, sugar, so don’t let the euphemistic term “syrup” fool you!  There are also different types of HFCS, such as HFCS 55, which is commonly used in drinks. HFCS 55 is composed of 55% fructose and 42% glucose.  HFCS 42 is also used in beverages, but it is more commonly used in processed foods, baked goods, and cereals. HFCS 42 is approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose.  HFCS 90, which is more commonly known as crystalline fructose, is 90% fructose and 10% glucose.[1][2]

“Corniferous” Mud Slinging

Depending on which side you are on, this substance is either the savior of the food industry because of its cheap production and titillating ability to sweeten food, or it is the devil hiding in your salad dressing. Some claim that HFCS is worse for your health than sugar, while others state that it is essentially the same. I tend to support the latter view because if you break down sucrose (table sugar) into its molecular constituents, you will find that it almost mirrors that of HFCS 42 and 55.  Sucrose is 50% fructose and 50% glucose.

Getting To The TRUTH Of Things

So why do I tell you about fructose vs. glucose and attach percentages to the HFCS?  The reason has to do with METABLOLISM!  Yes, your body metabolizes fructose much differently than it does glucose.  Let’s use the example of a 120-calorie potato (glucose) vs. a 120-calorie glass of lemonade. I want to show you how you store them differently so that you can start to make more informed decisions.

Consider the following storage patterns of glucose vs. fructose:

Glucose Storage

Where do you put a 120-calorie potato (glucose)?

Glucose abides Pareto’s Law, which is also known as the 80-20 rule. Specifically, 80% of the calories go to EVERY ORGAN of your body totaling= 96 calories. The remaining 20% are responsible for the 24 calories that go to your LIVER to be stored as GLYCOGEN! Glycogen is your liver’s storage form of glucose, and it is not stored as fat! The total liver burden from glucose: 24 calories. Net Fat Storage: LESS THAN ONE GRAM!

Fructose Storage

Where do you put a 120-calorie glass of lemonade?

Remember that lemonade is made from a sugar called sucrose, and that sucrose is composed of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. The 60 calories of GLUCOSE also abides by the 80/20 rule, meaning that 80% of them (48 cals) go to every organ of your body for energy, and 12 of them go to your liver to be stored as GLYCOGEN. The 60 calories of FRUCTOSE is 100% metabolized by your liver and is NOT stored as glycogen. The total liver burden from sucrose: 72 calories, which is a whopping three times that of glucose!

How many of those 72 calories are converted to FAT?

Around 40!

Bottom Line:

Glucose: 1 Calorie of Fat

Fructose: 40 Calories of Fat

Given these physiological and mathematical facts:

Fructose Will Make you 40 times FATTER than Glucose!*

The Solution:

You are now armed with the physiological facts that will keep you from gaining excess weight and predisposing yourself to hypertension, gout, non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome, and more.  The solution is to eat whole, natural foods that nature intended!  Specifically, try to avoid fast foods that typically contain HFCS. Additionally, try to read food labels carefully, especially because HFCS can be found in foods that are not considered “sweet,” such as sliced bread and processed meats. Finally, most canned and bottled beverages contain HFCS, such as lemonade, iced tea, soft drinks, and drinks, so try to avoid those as well.

Well, there you have it, my friends. Eat healthfully is not rocket science!  When is the last time you went out to your garden and picked a bottle of Mountain Dew off of your Mountain Dew plant?  My point exactly! Buy fresh food and learn how to cook it. Life is good without excess fructose from processed foods!

God Bless,

Griff

  1. ^ “UM. Study – Not Enough Evidence to Indict High Fructose Corn Syrup in Obesity” (Press release). Ellen Ternes, University of Maryland. July 24, 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2013.

  2. Jump up^ “ERS/USDA Briefing Room – Sugar and Sweeteners: Background”. United States Department of Agriculture. updated August 6, 2009. Retrieved November 18, 2011.

  3. *Source:  Sugar The Bitter Truth: Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF.

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