Something is radically wrong with high fructose corn syrup.
I’m writing this as a matter of caution. Truly, all of the answers are not in, but enough is coming to light that should make us take a hard look at these products.
First, table sugar — sucrose — is a disaccharide. That means that it is composed of one molecule of the monosaccharide glucose and one molecule of the monosaccharide fructose.
During digestion this disaccharide splits into its component parts, one molecule each of glucose and fructose. But only glucose is used in the body, so fructose has to be converted into the usable form.
High fructose corn syrup can be manipulated to contain equal amounts of fructose and glucose, or up to 80 percent fructose and 20 percent glucose. Thus, sweeter with almost twice the fructose, HFCS delivers a double sweetness compared to sugar.
HFCS is very much cheaper to produce than cane sugar. Obviously, the manufacturers want to hold on to their market.
A Princeton University research team has shown that rats with access to HFCS gained weight faster than those who ate only sucrose even when their caloric intake was the same — according to a study that was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.
Research continues to show that overconsumption of these altered sugars is a growing health hazard — at the same time food manufacturers make it increasingly hard to avoid them.
Look at the labels of items in which you would not expect to find any sweeteners, like ketchup, tomato sauce, cereal and crackers. HFCS is everywhere. In one day it is entirely possible that 80 percent of the processed food you consume is chock–full of HFCS.
Studies propose that because fructose doesn’t trip our sense of satiety as sugar would, we are, perhaps, eating more sugars to compensate, and upping overall caloric intake in the process. And for fructose to be used in the body it must be converted into glucose. We’re not entirely sure how or where this happens.
So what? Is obesity the only problem we have here?
As I said above, this all is very complicated and all of the answers are not yet in. But, for example:
Lysyl oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme that participates in the formation of collagen and elastin in our bodies. Fructose seems to interfere with copper metabolism to such an extent that collagen and elastin cannot form in growing animals, hence the hypertrophy of the heart and liver in young males.
So, then, what else does the HFCS do within our bodies? We simply don’t know all the answers yet. But a few anecdotal concepts are “on the table”. Does it affect our energy levels? Is it contributing to the exploding problem of “heartburn and diabetes? Must we take supplemental copper to compensate?
In the past, I have warned against the use of the synthetic sweeteners called “cyclamates” (before your time?) They finally took them off the market when they found that they increased the cancer risks but only after 20 years of using us as human guinea pigs. I suggest that we don’t go down that road again. So, my friends, let’s stay away from the potential danger of the high fructose corn syrups, and read those labels.
Francis Trapani’s background includes active practice for 41 years; investigative reporting for many years on stations KTRG and KPOI on Hawaii radio and exercise/fitness yoga TV broadcasts on channel KHVH, also in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a fourth; a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to drftrapani.com.