Recently I’ve been seeing a commercial telling me that high fructose corn syrup is as good as sugar. They say sugar is sugar. I thought, as I watched, that someone is worried about the image of HFCS and I wondered why. The woman claims to have done research. I decided to do my own research to see if my results were the same as hers. Not surprisingly what I found was very different.
Yes, fructose isn’t bad for you but what is bad for you is consuming it in abundance. Fructose is readily absorbed and metabolized in the liver. The difference between fructose, sucrose (table sugar) and glucose is that fructose is 100% metabolized by the liver, sucrose, which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose is split to these sugars in the stomach by sucrase, and glucose is 20% metabolized in the liver. Every cell utilizes glucose and it’s burned immediately.
Fructose is turned into free fatty acids, VLDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. When you eat 120 calories of glucose only 1% is stored as fat. Forty out of 120 calories of fructose is stored as fat. For thousands of years humans consumed about 16-20 gm of fructose in their diet. The western diet consumes about 85-100 grams.
There have been concerns by some that fructose can directly lead to type 2 diabetes. Fructose doesn’t increase insulin levels itself but seems to indirectly cause hyperinsulinemia and obesity through other mechanisms. There is growing evidence that the insulin-resistant state developed by consuming fructose is associated with hepatic (liver) VLDL secretion.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis compared the glucose and fructose consumption of 32 overweight or obese people. After drinking either fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverage, which made up 25 % of their daily calories for 12 weeks, both groups gained a similar amount of weight. However, those drinking the fructose-sweetened beverage experienced numerous unhealthy effects, including 1. An increase in visceral fat, the kind that embeds itself between tissues in organs 2.Less sensitivity to insulin, one of the first signs of diabetes 3.Increased fat production in the liver 4. Elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol 5. Increased levels of triglycerides. The people who drank the glucose-sweetened beverage experienced no such changes.
Other differences between glucose and fructose are that fructose metabolism results in the creation of waste products and toxins, one being uric acid, which elevates blood pressure and causes gout. Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no such effect and interferes with the brain’s communication with leptin, which results in overeating.
Rats fed a high fructose diet had 72% higher homocysteine levels compared to the controls. An elevated homocysteine level is a risk factor for vascular disease.
My research showed that the best sweetener is glucose. But as foods are sweetened with either sucrose or HFCS your best choice is the sugar (my choice being GMO free cane sugar) and try to limit your consumption.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is one possible cause of atherosclerosis. It’s a condition that involves elevated levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Homocysteine, in elevated amounts, can irritate blood vessels and can contribute to blockage of these vessels. Physicians consider hyperhomocysteinemia to be a significant risk factor for heart disease, even more significant than high cholesterol.
Homocysteine is formed during the metabolism of the amino acid methionine. Something disrupts the metabolism and it pushes homocysteine production into overdrive. It seems the cause of this disruption is enzyme deficiency.
Also research shows that certain medications, such as anticonvulsants (seizure medication), chemotherapy drugs, and diuretics (water pills), as well as cigarette smoke can aggravate the situation.
Three B vitamins will prevent homocysteine levels from becoming too high. These B vitamins are folate (folic acid), vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. In order for these vitamins to be digested and absorbed a full-spectrum digestive enzyme should be taken along with the vitamins.