Recently New York City and Mayor Bloomberg has been in the news over banning large sugary drinks in the city. With much bickering back and forth over what role government has in our food/drink consumption, I thought it would be good to take a look at exactly what is high fructose corn syrup.
How Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Made?
During the 1950′s, researchers found that they could turn glucose into fructose with a certain enzyme. It wasn’t until 1971 when the Japanese modified and improved upon that it went mainstream.
With the US. Government subsidizing corn growers, high fructose corn syrup made food cheaper and easier to sweeten. It is a man-made sweetener that chemically modifies the glucose (sugar) in corn syrup with enzymes and turns it into fructose. Fructose is one of three types of sugars – the others being sucrose and dextrose. Both sucrose and dextrose are are easily broken down into our bodies long before they ever make it to our liver but fructose does not breakdown and when it reaches the liver it is almost fully intact. The fructose in high fructose corn syrup has a higher concentration and thus is pushed to the liver.
The Effects Of High Fructose Corn Syrup On The Body
Once the high fructose corn syrup reaches the liver, it builds triglycerides which imitate insulin and forces the liver to release fatty acids into the bloodstream causing our muscles to develop a resistance to insulin. High fructose corn syrup does not stimulate the production of insulin, leptin or ghelin. These tell the body how much food to eat. So, in essence, high fructose corn syrup is a powerful appetite stimulant. This gives people an increased desire to eat more.
But that’s not all. High fructose corn syrup causes the body to burn sugar not fat which leads to obesity. It also throws off the good HDL/bad LDL cholesterol ratio by increasing the LDL and lowering the HDL. To make matters worse, high fructose corn syrup is 6 times sweeter than sugar and has 10% more fructose than sugar. This means you could eat the same foods that are sweetened by sugar but you would be consuming 10% more sugar.
As you can see here in this article, high fructose corn syrup doesn’t sound too good when it comes to our bodies being able to digest it. So, if we are aware of it, should our government keep us from something that is potentially dangerous? Or should we be able to police ourselves when it comes to eating something, doing something, participating in something that isn’t good for us?
This is an interesting debate for sure. What do you think?
Here’s to Your Health
Dr. K Bennett