August 26th, 2009

danger poison

Metabolic Danger of High-Fructose Corn Syrup

By Dana Flavin, MS, MD, PHD

Americans are being poisoned by a common additive present in a wide array of processed foods like soft drinks and salad dressings, commercially made cakes and cookies, and breakfast cereals and brand-name breads.

This commonplace additive silently increases our risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.

The name of this toxic additive is high-fructose corn syrup. It is so ubiquitous in processed foods and so over-consumed by the average American that many experts believe our nation faces the prospect of an epidemic of metabolic disease in the future, related in significant degree to excess consumption of high-fructose corn syrup.

The food industry has long known that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in the most delightful way.” And cane sugar had been America’s most delightful sweetener of choice, that is, until the 1970s, when the much less expensive corn-derived sweeteners like maltodextrin and high-fructose corn syrup were developed. While regular table sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, high-fructose corn syrup can contain up to 80% fructose and 20% glucose, almost twice the fructose of common table sugar. Both table sugar and high-fructose sweetener contain four calories per gram, so calories alone are not the key problem with high-fructose corn syrup. Rather, metabolism of excess amounts of fructose is the major concern.

The alarming rise in diseases related to poor lifestyle habits has been mirrored by an equally dramatic increase in fructose consumption, particularly in the form of the corn-derived sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup. In this series, we’ll examine the evidence for these associations, and we’ll attempt to determine if high-fructose corn syrup is a benign food additive, as the sweetener industry has lobbied us (and the FDA) to believe, or a dangerously overlooked threat to public health.

While cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in America, scientists have noted that “we are experiencing an epidemic of [heart and kidney] disease characterized by increasing rates of obesity, hypertension, the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease.” Add to this list a disturbing rise in new cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and you have a public health crisis of enormous proportions.

With a growing sense of urgency, scientists are examining the relationship between consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and numerous adverse medical conditions. And they’re coming away with a sour taste in the mouth. Emerging research shows that excessive dietary fructose, largely from consumption of HFCS, represents “an important, but not well-appreciated dietary change,” which has “…rapidly become an important causative factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome,”9 a conglomeration of risk factors that greatly elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Other research suggests that high dietary fructose consumption contributes to obesity and insulin resistance encourages kidney stone formation, promotes gout, and is contributing to an upsurge in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Furthermore, high dietary fructose consumption is associated with increased production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are linked with the complications of diabetes and with the aging process itself.

Next: Stealthy Insertion Into the Food Chain


 


 

NO bull shit

Stealthy Insertion of HFCS Into the Food Chain

With little fanfare, and even less scrutiny,  high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was introduced into the food supply decades ago. It is now commonly found in an astounding array of popular food and beverage products. Sweetened, carbonated soft drinks are considered by many to be the worst offenders. Food manufacturers embraced HFCS wholeheartedly because it is substantially cheaper than sucrose (table sugar) and mixes well with a variety of products, including beverages, baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, and dairy products. In fact, between 1970 and 1990, the annual intake of HFCS increased by more than 1,000%, greatly exceeding the change in intake of any other food or food group. High-fructose corn syrup is now the primary caloric sweetener added to soft drinks in the United States, and comprises more than 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages

While it is derived from a natural source, HFCS is essentially an unnatural product, in the sense that for most of human history we consumed no more than about 15 grams of fructose per day (approximately one-half ounce), mostly from fruits and vegetables. In contrast, daily consumption in 1997 was estimated to have increased to 81 grams (nearly three ounces) per day. For the first time in history, humans are consuming fructose at extraordinarily high levels.

NEXT: 
The Dangers of Fructose