Below is a summary of the research (and conclusions arrived at) by the University of California, on high fructose diets. The research is headed by Robert H Lustig, who has authored over 85 research articles and 45 book chapters on the topic.
High-fructose corn syrup was invented in 1966 in Japan, and made its way to the US in 1975. This form of sugar represented a cheaper version of the ingredient (at less than half the cost). Because of the reduced cost of this ingredient it started being used everywhere - in fact, it is now very difficult to find a package product that does not contain high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup solids. Use in packaged foods was further increased as the country became fat conscious, and was looking for ways to reduce saturated fat intake – the result: low-fat versions of the original that needed to be sweetened in order to replace the flavour lost when reducing the fat.
High-fructose corn syrup is made up of 1 glucose molecule and 1 fructose molecule (Sucrose is the same - 1 glucose molecule/1 fructose) and has been shown to be the worst combination for weight gain is the incidents where you have sucrose coupled with saturated fat (donuts or similar) if those two are on the ingredient list it's instant weight gain!
Alteration of our food supply (in fast food specifically):
- Addition of fructose for palatability and as a browning agent in foods. Fructose is also seven times more likely than glucose to form advanced glycation end-product's - these are responsible for browning reaction...but instead of it browning your food, it browns your arteries.
- Fructose does not for suppress ghrelin (hunger hormone) so you end up eating more. Chronic fructose exposure promotes the metabolic syndrome.
- Removal of fiber for increased shelf life, ease of freezing/re-thawing and quick cooking. Today's fast food is fiber-less food.
- Substitution of trans-fat as a hardening agent ads shelf life now being removed due to cardiovascular disease risk
Metabolic breakdown within the body:
Lustig has called fructose “a poison.” This is because only the liver can metabolize fructose (glucose can be metabolized by the body)…and what do we call it when we take in a compound that's foreign to your body, and only the liver can metabolize it (and in the process generates various problems)? A poison.
Because of the way that fructose is processed through the liver, uric acid is produced as a by-product. Uric acid is directly correlated to hypertension. So, as uric acid goes up, blood pressure goes up. There is a direct connection between high fructose intake and high blood pressure.
Lustig has also stated that "when you are consuming fructose, you are not consuming a carbohydrate, you are consuming fat.” He has shown that 30% of calories consumed as fructose turn directly into fat. His point being, that a high sugar diet is a high-fat diet.
Another study which involved a 6 day trial of high fructose feeding showed that after the six days, triglycerides doubled, lipogenesis went up five times higher, and the free fatty acids which cause insulin resistance doubled.
A regular diet high in fructose also eventually leads to:
Liver insulin resistance -- pancreas forced to work harder -- higher insulin levels -- raising blood pressure further -- further fat making -- more energy into your fat cell -- obesity.
Not only that, their research has shown that the higher your insulin levels go the less able your brain is to see the leptin (hormonw that tells you that you’re full), so you never know that you’re full...and you've got continued consumption because your brain thinks that it's starving. This all generates a vicious cycle of consumption and disease.
Comparisons between Fructose and Alcohol:
Because fructose is metabolized by the liver alone it is also associated with eight of the 12 phenomenon associated with overexposure to ethanol [alcohol]. The symptoms are the same because there are metabolized in the same way. This makes sense if you look at the way that you make alcohol - you get it by fermenting sugar, naturally.
- get rid of all sugared liquids.
- make sure that all of your carbohydrate sources are high in fibre
- wait 20 minutes before going for second portions
- Buy your screen time minute to minute with physical activity
Take-home message: if there is high-fructose corn syrup, or corn syrup solids listed anywhere on the ingredient list, do not buy it or eat it!