|Posted on September 5, 2009 at 12:49 PM|
This may not be news to many of you, but it was to me. Due to a recent health condition, I was looking for information online that might aid me along with the medicine from my doctor. All the information I found said I should avoid all artificial sweeteners, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), bread, refined flour/sugar, etc. Those are things I should already have been avoiding due to my insulin issues from PCOS. Now I have more incentive. I have gone about one week into avoiding HFCS and artificial sweeteners. I couldn't believe the difference in that short amount of time. I have had absolutely NO cravings for any junk food, fast food, or Coke, all of which I used to live on. As if that's not amazing enough on its own, I have had an easier time getting to sleep, I have been satisfied on less food, and I haven't been as anxious. This led me to start asking more questions about HFCS.
I was sharing my revelation with my friend Marlene, and she had her own story about HFCS. She was in Scotland for school one year. They don't use HFCS there, so everything is made with real sugar. She and her friends partook of the normal sweets: cake, candy, etc., not noticing anything different. Then her mom sent a care package from home. They decided to eat the iced animals and study. However, they couldn't concentrate on anything, were bouncing off the walls for hours, and felt out of control. The next day, they were talking about what could have been going on that they should act so strange. The only difference they came up with was that the cookies contained HFCS!
I think we all know that the American diet leaves much to be desired, but this is far worse than unhealthy. I believe that HFCS is actively contributing to many of our nation's physical and mental health woes. There is a clear parallel between the increase in the use of HFCS and obesity in the US since the 70's. Unfortunately for us, it's much cheaper for Big Business to make products with HFCS than to use real sugar; and as we all know, this county cares far more about money than about our health. Beyond that, if we're sicker, Big Business (including "health" insurance) makes more money. Not to mention the fact that other countries won't put up with HFCS. "Outside of Canada, the United States is the only country with a significant consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, largely because other countries have erected successful trade barriers to protect sugar." (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/business/yourmoney/02syrup.html?_r=1) Cynicism aside, there are many reasons why HFCS should not be part of the diet of any human.
Prior to the 70's, everything in the US was sweetened or preserved with fructose from sugar cane, sugar beets, or molasses. At that time, manufacturers wanted a cheaper way to produce fructose, so they came up with a process to create corn syrup that is higher in fructose than regular corn syrup. "High fructose corn syrup is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods. It is cheap to produce, sweet and easy to store. It's used in everything from bread to pasta sauces to bacon to beer as well as in "health products" like protein bars and "natural" sodas." (http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html#author#author) The problem with HFCS is not that it has fructose, but that it's an unnaturally derived version of it; our bodies were never meant to process this and cannot do so very well.
Michael F. Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group that often criticizes the food industry, says that unlike sugar molecules, which reside in the stalks of sugar cane or the beets that are used to make sugar, high-fructose corn syrup is artificial because it is not found anywhere in corn. ... Produced in large manufacturing facilities scattered mostly across the flat, golden expanse of the American corn belt, high-fructose corn syrup is not a product that anyone could cook up at home using a few ears of corn. The process starts with corn kernels and takes place in a series of stainless steel vats and tubes in which a dozen different mechanical processes and chemical reactions occur - including several rounds of high-velocity spinning and the introduction of three different enzymes to incite molecular rearrangements.
The enzymes turn most of the glucose molecules in corn into fructose, which makes the substance sweeter. This 90 percent fructose syrup mixture is then combined with regular corn syrup, which is 100 percent glucose molecules, to get the right percentage of fructose and glucose. The final product is a clear, goopy liquid that is roughly as sweet as sugar.(http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/business/yourmoney/02syrup.html?_r=1)
Of course, the manufacturers say that their product is "natural" because it's made from corn. Not good enough: 1) it's genetically altered & molecularly modified, 2) even snake venom is "natural", that doesn't mean it's good for us. (By the way, the FDA does not regulate the use of the word "natural", so anyone can claim that on any product. By contrast, they do regulate how "organic" is defined.) Of course, the manufacturers maintain that there is no scientific evidence to support that our bodies process HFCS any differently than regular sugar. Yes, the amount of fructose and glucose is similar in both HFCS and sugar, but HFCS is not how God created sugar. Our bodies need the nutrients in unprocessed foods; the rest is empty filler at best and potentially very harmful for us.
I'm certainly not saying that we can eat as much natural sugar as we want; too much of anything is not ok. However, the farther we deviate from what God has created for us, the less beneficial and potentially the more harmful. Almost anything we eat in this country has been processed, and sugar of some kind (usually HFCS) is part of that process (even bread, crackers, etc).
Professor Bray of the Pennington research center - a lean, bespectacled man who had spent much of his career studying obesity and diabetes - said he had been pondering the obesity problem for several years when, in early 2002, he had a sudden insight. Charting federal data on the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup against data on obesity rates, he found amazing parallels between his two graphs.
Starting in 1980, around the time that manufacturers started replacing sugar in sodas with a more cheaply produced sweetener - high-fructose corn syrup - there was a sharp increase in male and female obesity in the United States. From 1980 to 2000, the incidence of obesity doubled, after having remained relatively flat for the preceding 20 years, the data showed. Could high-fructose corn syrup be making us fat, Professor Bray wondered? After all, according to his analysis of government consumption data, per capita intake of the syrup had increased by more than 1,000 percent from 1970 to 1990, exceeding the changes in the intake of any other food group tracked by the Department of Agriculture. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/business/yourmoney/02syrup.html?_r=1)
Not only is its benefit in doubt, the FDA knows it's tainted with mercury of all things! (http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/2) "Several chemicals are required to make HFCS, including caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, alpha-amylase, gluco-amylase, isomerase, ilter aid, powdered carbon, calcium chloride, and magnesium sulfate." (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm) Caustic soda and hydrochloric acid can contain mercury. There is also evidence that HFCS inhibits the production of leptin, which is what triggers hunger. So, HFCS can make us think we're hungrier than we are, and not know when we're satisfied. It's also been suggested that once you have it you want more. No wonder obesity has become a problem.
There are serious implications for HFCS in both the existence of diabetes and some of its complications. It was first thought that fructose was more beneficial for diabetics than glucose, but now research is showing the opposite. Fructose reduces the affinity of insulin for its receptor, which is the hallmark of type-2 diabetes. This is the first step for glucose to enter a cell and be metabolized. As a result, the body needs to pump out more insulin to handle the same amount of glucose. (H. Hallfrisch, et al.,The Effects of Fructose on Blood Lipid Levels, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 37: 5, 1983, 740-748). "Because it is metabolized by the liver, fructose does not cause the pancreas to release insulin the way it normally does. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar." (http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html#author#author) Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., did chemical tests among 11 different soft drinks containing HFCS. He found 'astonishingly high' levels of reactive carbonyls (believed to cause tissue damage) in those beverages. These reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar. "Reactive carbonyls also are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Based on the study data, Ho estimates that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes." (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070823094819.htm)
Setting all the research aside, I know how I felt when I wasn?t eating anything with HFCS or artificial sweeteners. I know that God intends the best for us, which He created first - natural sugar, not manufactured (in moderation, of course). While I'm weak and give in to my cravings for Coke, I have to admit that ridding myself of all artificial sweeteners, especially HFCS, is the best thing I can do for myself.
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Categories: physical health