Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So Tell Me…What’s Wrong With High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Have you heard the phrase “a little knowledge is dangerous” ??? Well, that’s what the corn refiners association’s new T.V. commercials are banking on. Both a little of YOUR knowledge and a lot ofTHEIR knowledge. Why? Because their hoping that if you know very little about it, they can easily convince you (with a bit of "spin") that High Fructose Corn Syrup isn’t harmful to you.

You may have seen a seemingly innocent commercial. The last one was a young, probably mid 20-something couple on a picnic blanket. The woman offers the man a popsicle. The man refuses and says, no thanks, that has high fructose corn syrup. Then, the question……. So What’s Wrong With High Fructose Corn Syrup???, It’s made from corn. The man fumbles with his thoughts and can’t come up with an answer. Then he accepts the popsicle and you are now assured that high fructose corn syrup is, well, okay...if not, even good.

Knowing what I know about high fructose corn syrup, seeing and hearing this TV commercial made my blood boil. They innocently try to convince you that it’s made from corn, therefore it’s natural and harmless. It’s an easy argument if you don’t know what high fructose corn syrup is. They bank on your naïveté in not being able to come up with a reasonable answer and therefore concluding it’s "fine". They bank on the fact that you don’t know enough to answer the question as to why high fructose corn syrup is bad for you.

So….. I feel compelled to day to give you the knowledge and tools to answer this questions.

Here’s the science. The next 5 paragraphs are more technical and the information is from Mark Hyman, MD's book Ultrametabolism, his blog at http://www.Ultrawellness.comas well as 2 articles published at http://www.westonaprice.org/ , but read through them and get a basic understanding…..I simplify it further down

1. Let’s start with the base product….Corn. The corn used in high fructose corn syrup is genetically modified(as nearly all corn is). It has 13 carbon molecules instead of 12(The original non GMO stuff had only 12). According to Dr. Mark Hyman, there are no good long term studies on the effects of eating genetically altered corn or corn products. So if you are concerned about eating genetically modified foods, you already have a problem with high fructose corn syrup.(1)

2. High fructose corn syrup is far from “a natural product made from corn” as the argument goes. High Fructose Corn Syrup (here after called HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch into glucose, using 3 different enzymes and at least 5 different steps(2). Therefore, High Fructose Corn Syrup is far from being “natural”. I mean...it's not like you can blend up a can of corn in your vita-mix and come up with HFCS. It's not quite as simple as making a fruit smoothie

3. The introduction of HFCS into the food supply in the USA is associated with the beginning of the obesity epidemic. Don't believe it says Dr. Hyman....who goes on to say: Even a slight difference of an extra 100 calories a day can add up to a 10-pound weight gain in just one year. And the average American drinks 440 12-ounce cans of HFCS-laced soda each year (1). Not to mention the HFCS in ketchup, yogurt, breakfast cereals, cookies, breads, ice creams, popsicles and hundreds of other products.

4. HCFS is bad news for your waistline and your health…It makes you eat MORE!!! Yes, you read that right. HFCS actually increases your appetite.

Here's how: Regular table sugar is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, while -- as its name implies -- HFCS is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose. Doesn't seem like a big difference, but it can have HUGE effects on your appetite.

When you eat fructose, it doesn't set into motion the chemical reactions and hormones that tell your brain you are full. For instance, high fructose corn syrup doesn't stimulate insulin secretion or the increase in leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full). While glucose is transported into the brain, affecting brain signals that control or limit appetite, fructose is not.

Plus, high fructose corn syrup doesn't reduce ghrelin, a stomach hormone that stimulates appetite. And high fructose corn syrup may also decrease adiponectin levels, which is a hormone made by fat cells that helps make you more sensitive to insulin and helps control your weight and appetite. What does all that mean? Simply put, when you eat more fructose you don't feel full -- so you keep eating!(1)

And if 1-4 aren’t convincing enough….read on:

5. Here's an undisputed medical fact: You can survive on an intravenous drip of glucose. But replace the glucose with fructose, and you'd get a fatty liver. That's because fructose is the source the chemical building blocks of cholesterol and triglyceride production. And fructose just isn't digested, absorbed, or metabolized in the same way as glucose. Instead, it goes right to your cells without the help of insulin(1).

The result? Fructose moves right into fat production -- so it spikes your triglycerides but lowers your HDL ("good") cholesterol. It also increases your levels of small, dense LDL (called LDL-B) cholesterol, which is much more dangerous than regular LDL ("bad") cholesterol. (1)

Let’s Bullet Point Your Answers clearly.

Here’s the Top Ten List of Why High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for you:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup is made from genetically modified (GMO) corn. Which you should know, most corn nowadays is GMO.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup is far from being natural as it takes high heat, 3 different enzymes and 5 different processes to create it.

3. The introduction of High Fructose Corn Syrup into society coincides with the beginning of the obesity epidemic. As HFCS beame more widely used, the rate of obesity climbed as well, bringing with it all those obesity related problems like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

4. Because High Fructose Corn Syrup is so far removed from a natural food, it fails to stimulate leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.

5. Because High Fructose Corn Syrup is so far removed from a natural food, it fails to reduce ghrelin, a stomach hormone that stimulates your appetite.

6. Because High Fructose Corn Syrup is so far removed from a natural food, it may also decrease adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a hormone made by fat cells that helps make you more sensitive to insulin and helps control your weight and appetite

7. Because of #’s 4, 5 & 6, eating high fructose corn syrup fails to do 3 things your body needs to feel full and curb your apetite…..so you keep on eating and eating and eating...

8. High Fructose Corn Syrup spikes your triglyceride levels

9. High Fructose Corn Syrup lowers your levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL)

10. High Fructose Corn Syrup increases your levels of LDL-B cholesterol. LDL is your “bad cholesterol”, the LDL-B is the “bad of the bad cholesterol”.

The science is clear: HFCS/Fructose consumption in this mannor is associated with insulin resistance, increased calorie intake, impaired metabolism, weight gain, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.(1). All of which is associated with Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer and a hell of a lot more…

So the next time someone asks you what’s the big deal with HFCS….read them bullet points 1-10 and I’d just about guarantee ya they’ll soil their pants when you rattle-off that answer.

The information in this blog post is based on, and excerpts are taken from the references listed below. I strongly encourage you to go to the original source and read the info for yourself.

‘nuff said


PS... after further thought, I realized I should have made it a "Top 11" List. As I have said in prior blog posts, what we should and should not consume comes down to evolution. Corn itself is a newer evolutionary product. 99% of the corn available today has been genetically engineered and is far from it's original form. Then, it's refined, heated, treated with 3 different enzymes in 3 different processes, put through 2 more processes to come up with the HFCS. So number 11 is:

11. EVOLUTION. High Fructose Corn Syrup has not been part of the human evolutionary diet over the past 50,000-100,000+ years and our bodies don't have the physiological process to adapt to it. Therefore, we cannot properly process HFCS which is why it fails to stimulate the 3 hormones listed above, bypasses insulin to get into your tissues and causes weight gain, increased triglyceride and cholesterol levels, increased risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Now...'nuff said



1. High Fructose Corn Syrup; How this liquid poison can make you fat, Mark Hyman, MD /

2. The Murky World of High-Fructose Corn Syrup,
Linda Joyce Forristal, CCP, MTA , http://www.westonaprice.org/motherlinda/cornsyrup.html

3. The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup,
Bill Sanda, BS, MBA; http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.


Anonymous said...

You might not have to worry about these commercials. Awareness of HFCS has SKYROCKETED since they began. Probably not something the Corn Refiners Association wanted, after all - most of the top search results do not make them look good. OOPS!

Check out my stats and analysis: http://www.thereluctanteater.com/2008/10/proof-sweet-surprise-high-fructose-corn.html

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the article. Doesn't eating a lot of fruits with fructose in them have the same effects that you describe that HFCS has? I think the argument should be simple, fructose is not glucose. And people do not understand how your body metabolizes each chemical differently, which you explained very well.

Dr. Todd Narson said...

Reply by Dr Narson:
The Fructose is fruits are protected by the fiber in the fruit. Additionally, all sugar, no matter what kind of sugar, within its natural state in the fruit contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals necessary for proper assimilation.

Remember, if it has been part of the human diet for the past 50,000+ years, it is okay to eat as our physiology has adapted and evolved to process it.

In other words, our bodies have adapted to our enviornment and the foods in that enviornment. That's why a couple blogs ago wrote if you want to be healthy, eat like a caveman. Read about The Paleo Diet to learn more. Also, another great reference is Dr. Johnny Bowden's book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

But, fructose eaten in whole fresh fruit is totally okay. If you juice that fruit (or vegetable for that matter) you strip away the protective fibers and expose the sugars.

This fiber really helps how your body processes the sugars. Just ask a diabetic who CAN eat whole fruit but cannot drink fruit juice.

Thanks for the question

Dr. T

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Dr.DevineSeattleChiropractor said...

Large portions of Europe have already succeeded in removing GM foods from their food supply, forcing food manufacturers to use real ingredients in their European product lines. But here in the United States we’re still stuck with it to a very large degree.

It all starts with you and the choices you make when buying your food. So please spread the word. If more of us begin to refuse GM foods, food manufacturers will have no choice but to listen.