Sugar, and Corn sugar, and Fruit sugar, Oh My! It's such a confusing world. What is good, and what is bad, these days?
So recently I dissed fructose. Leslie checked me on it, which I appreciate. More specifically I should have labeled my rant against crystalline fructose. I have some more work to do on this topic, clearly. So the question here today is, is it really bad news? What's the deal? Is it as bad as HFCS? And while I'm at it, is HFCS really all that bad?
What I've found is, once again, that everything consumed in excess is bad. Some things are better than others. And everything artificial is just garbage for the system.
Let's start with Fructose. Aside from the potential of causing gas or diarrhea, fructose is not sounding so bad when compared to other alternatives. Cane sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose during digestion. Fructose is fruit sugar, found in fruits and veggies, and it's also in honey. However excess fructose consumption has been hypothesized to be a cause of insulin resistance, obesity (especially central obesity, the most dangerous kind), and elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, leading to metabolic syndrome.
Fructose is diabetic-friendly as far as insulin, but great care should be taken on the moderation. "Every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic." [link]
Another theory against diving headlong into Fructose is it doesn't trigger insulin secretion, so the body doesn't register that its energy needs have been met, and this leads the body to crave more and more food."
It may be a lot to "stomach" -- study has shown that consuming more than 25 grams of fructose a day often causes gastrointestinal distress, including stomach pain and diarrhea.
It has been suggested in a recent British Medical Journal study that high consumption of fructose is linked to gout. The liver has to process fructose out and it yields uric acid, which is what uric acid is formed from (crystallized deposits in the joints or kidneys as stones).
Crystalline fructose seems to be considered safe by the general masses, but concerns have been raised about health effects, particularly hepatotoxicity. "As of January 2010, the FDA has not designated crystalline fructose to be generally recognized as safe."
HFCS advertisements are misleading in how they state it is made from corn. So are some glues, paints, and cosmetics, but you don't go around ingesting those, now do you? It begins with corn but the resulting product is processed and contorted into something that simply just doesn't exist in nature.
"HFCS contains more fructose than sugar and this fructose is more immediately available because it is not bound up in sucrose. Since the effects of fructose are most severe in the growing organism, we need to think carefully about what kind of sweeteners we give to our children. Fruit juices should be strictly avoided--they are very high in fructose--but so should anything with HFCS." [link]
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