16 July 2010

How Bad Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup For Your Health?

*** Lots of problems with high fructose corn syrup and latest study links it to elevating high blood pressure.

*** Karo corn syrup Photo by kerryvaughn @ flickr

From Denny: The soft drink companies are at war with the health industry about high fructose corn syrup. The big business of soft drinks is worried consumers may quit drinking their products so they are advertising to counteract the latest studies about high fructose corn syrup. This corn syrup is an intense sugar that bypasses everything and goes straight to fat. Not anything people want to hear when they are trying to get those perfect abdominals.

Two kinds of sugar

OK, let's discuss kinds of sugar. There is the usual sucrose that comes from sugar cane and beets. Then there is fructose which is created from corn. The problem with fructose is it can raise your uric acid levels which is really bad for your kidneys. Too much acid in the body is bad in general and can cause swelling.

Elevating blood pressure

Here's the deal about elevating your uric acid levels: it can set off the hormone angiotensin II that causes your blood vessels to contract. Yes, and this hormone can increase your blood pressure, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Which sugar is healthy?

So which sugar is healthy? The normal sugar we know about, sucrose, isn't exactly healthy either. It's just that fructose is far worse. Sugar of any kind has to be taken in moderation and watched you do not have too much in your diet. We all know that if we consume too much sugar we are prone to adult onset diabetes, stroke and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

One good piece of news: regular sugar from sugar cane or beets does not raise blood pressure. Only fructose is known to do that. (Study: the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology)

Big Business in damage control mode against new study

Of course, watch big business launch into damage control mode. The Corn Refiners Association has decided that study is flawed, probably because they didn't pay for the study where the results were predetermined. And, makers of soft drinks, also went into self-defense mode, like the American Beverage Association, lending their objections to the study.

"This study, which looks at fructose intake, furthers the confusion and misunderstandings about high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened beverages," Dr. Maureen Storey of the Beverage Association said in a statement.

The big business companies are claiming that no true cause-and-effect relationship has actually been proven. They got one Colorado researcher, Michael Chonchol, to agree with them, sort of. She is calling for a clinical trial to compare the effects of fructose to other kinds of sugars.

Sugar Embargo

Of course, many kinds of sugars have been tested in countless studies since the 1950's when they first developed high fructose corn syrup in an effort to develop other sources for sugar than from sugar cane. At the time America was dependent upon Cuba for sugar but with the political revolution and the American embargo that source dried up.

American sugar industry developed, then decimated by Republicans

Since that time Louisiana farmers still grow a lot of sugar cane. But it was President George Bush who decimated the sugar cane industry in America just a few years ago. He gave sweetheart deals to foreign countries to bring into America cheap sugar that took jobs away from Americans and no longer made it feasible for American farmers to grow sugar cane.

Favorite Foods

So, when the holidays roll around and you want that piece of awesome pecan pie that is chock full of high fructose corn syrup, make those slices small. The holidays are tough enough about putting on extra weight. Why eat something full of fructose sugar that you know goes straight to putting on fat? At least let me enjoy the meal first! And I think I'll skip those soft drinks from now on... :)

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