High Fructose Corn Syrup, Real Sugar, Who Cares? You’re Fat Anyways
March 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Saturday Night Live did this parody commercial which may remind you of the conversation we’re about to have.
As for the HFCS-vs.-sugar smackdown, you might as well debate whether whiskey is healthier than rum. “In high-enough quantities, they’re both poison,” says Lustig.
Kiera Butler of Mother Jones writes:
After years of flogging by nutritionists and foodies, HFCS has become, well, a four-letter word. This wasn’t always so. Back in the ’70s, table sugar (a.k.a. sucrose) was the bad guy. People associated it (rightly) with tooth decay and diabetes, whereas fructose, the predominant sugar in fruit, seemed a more natural option. Gary Taubes, author of the nutritional bestseller Good Calories, Bad Calories, explains that manufacturers of items like Snapple and sweetened yogurt didn’t want sugar in the first few ingredients, because it made their products appear unhealthy. So corn-syrup marketers capitalized on fructose’s good reputation, and by the ’80s, food and beverage manufacturers were switching to HFCS in droves.
I can anecdotally attest to the problem stated later in the article – perhaps the only true neg ative of HFCS: the different way our bodies process glucose and fructose. The anecdote being my type-1 diabetic brother’s blood glucose levels being royally fucked by a waitress ignoring the request for “diet Coke”. Unlike the addition of sugar or carbs in equal amounts from bread or cookies, the sodas would make his glucose levels uncontrollable for hours.
Unlike glucose, which the body stores in various tissues for use as fuel, fructose is sent to the liver for processing. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California-San Francisco, has shown that it causes a buildup of fats there, triggering a host of health problems including diabetes, gout, and heart disease. Most worrisome, Lustig says, it can lead to insulin resistance, a hormonal snafu that makes you feel hungry even when you’re full. “The way fructose is metabolized leads you to want to eat more,” he explains—no great revelation to anyone who’s ever slain a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting.