What is one simple measure I can take to avoid weight gain and NAFLD?

smiling topless man standing beside woman wearing black dress taking selfie

Previously I wrote about sugar being added to almost all processed foods.  Yet, I omitted specifically discussing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  I thought most people know about the adverse effects of HFCS and it is rarely used any more.

HA!!!  I was wrong on both counts.  Many people are unaware of its extremely dangerous effects.  And it is still widely used.

Thus, I felt it important to give a brief education on this product.

In the 1970’s the food industry found that soybean oil worked better than corn oil for making partially hydrogenated oil.  Hence, they started using soybean oil for this process, leaving corn farmers in the lurch.

What was the corn industry going to do with the excess corn?  They still needed a market.

So, they came up with an enzymatic process that ferments glucose and transforms it into fructose.  The end result was a sweetener that has a concentration that is 42-55% fructose, that they called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). 

HFCS has the exact same sweetness and taste as an equal amount of sucrose (table sugar) from cane or beet sugar.  However, it is much more complicated to make, involving vats of murky fermenting liquid, fungus and chemical tweaking. Yet, despite this complicated process, HFCS is actually cheaper than sugar. [1]

With the cheap cost to make and following qualities, it quickly found its way into almost every processed food. This translated into high profit margins for food producers.[2],[3]

HFCS:
  • is sweeter than glucose
  • prevents freezer burn
  • helps browning
  • mixes easily
  • extends shelf life
  • keeps bread soft
  • has a low glycemic index (a false indicator that it is good for you)[4]

Two of the enzymes used in the production process, alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase, are genetically modified to make them more stable. This is on top of the fact that the corn is almost certainly genetically modified as well.[5]

Fructose is the sweet molecule in sugar that causes addiction.[6]  Corn does not have fructose, just glucose.[7]

Both sugar and HFCS are problematic, as they both contain similar amounts of fructose, the problematic component. Despite having a similar amount of fructose as sucrose, HFCS can be even worse because of the difference in how it is metabolized.[8]

HFCS contains free-form monosaccharides of fructose and glucose, whereas sucrose has a glycosidic bond that links the fructose and glucose together, and slows its break down in the body.[9]

Glucose is the form of energy our bodies are designed to run on. Every cell in our bodies uses glucose for energy, and every organ metabolizes it.  The liver metabolizes about 20 percent of our glucose.[10]

However, fructose can ONLY be metabolized in the liver; it does not circulate in the blood.[11]

Fructose and ethanol are handled identically in the liver.  Excess fructose (be it from sucrose or HFCS) taxes the liver in the same way alcohol does, in regard to the metabolic havoc it wreaks.  And just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat, not cellular energy, like glucose.  This in turn causes mitochondrial overload and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).[12],[13]

Now you are set up for insulin resistance in the liver, obesity and obesity-related diseases.[14] ,[15]

Sadly, kids as young as 5 years old are getting NAFLD.[16]

45% of adults in America have fatty liver disease.[17]

*   *    *    *    *

So, what do we need to do to avoid weight gain and NAFLD?  We need to do away with the added sugars and sweeteners I have already discussed AND ALSO THE HFCS

Sadly, HFCS still lurks in lurks in many processed foods and fast foods, even in those that have been touted “sugar-free” or “low-calorie”!

So read the ingredient lists on labels, especially on ketchup and other condiments, fruit juices, sodas, and sport drinks.  You can also find HFCS in our modern energy bars and other so called “natural” products.

And be leery of restaurants, fast food establishments and school lunches.  These are prime places for the use of HFCS.

Interestingly, it is used in many products aimed at children.  So, again, read your ingredient list.  If not for you, consider your children, grandchildren, grandnieces, grandnephews…

two cups of tacos with potato fries

You may be thinking, “but I only get a little of it in my Heinz ketchup (or my weekly donut or my sport’s drink…).”   But you would be surprised how much a little adds up, especially if you are not aware of how many products contain it.  As the saying goes, “it only takes a small leak to sink a big ship.”

Furthermore, for me, I do not want to support an industry that seems bent on doing us harm for their monetary gain.  “Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”  (Psalm 34:14)

*   *    *    *    *

What else can you do to enjoy eating without consuming excess fructose (and sucrose)?

  1. Make your own dressing as demonstrated in my blog: One Easy Step Toward a Better Diet.
  2. Make your own ketchup as described in my Winter Recipe Booklet .
  3. Replace those sport drinks with:
    • Your own refreshing hydration drink consisting of water, juice from half a lemon or lime, and a pinch of sea salt or other mineral salt. You can also add a little honey if you like.  Or you can infuse your water with fresh herbs or berries, instead of the lemon juice.
    • Coconut water
  4. Increase your consumption of quality fats. I know it is still hard to get beyond the decades of indoctrination that animal fats are bad for us and must be avoided.  But in reality, it was the replacement of theses high quality fats with the industrial seed oils, the sugars, the HFCS, and the artificial sweeteners that has done us in. These replacements have contributed greatly to our modern-day illnesses – diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, obesity, and on and on.
  5. Email me to send you a free copy of the Weston A. Price shopping guide which lists Best, Good, and Avoid for most all categories of food and beverage.

Let me know how it goes.

Peace and grace,

Karen

 

Not-So-Fun Fact #1:  In 2004, Dr. George Bray from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University showed that the rise in obesity mirrored the increase in total fructose consumption, whether the fructose came from sucrose or from HFCS.[18]

Not-So-Fun Fact #2: Sugars are not simply empty calories.  They are much more dangerous.  They stimulate both insulin and insulin resistance.  Over the longer term, insulin resistance also leads to increased insulin levels.  High insulin levels encourage more storage of sugar and fat in the liver, which causes even more over-cramming of fat in the already fatty liver, causing more insulin resistance – a typical vicious cycle.

Not-So-Fun Fact #3:  Mercury (one of the most toxic elements on earth) can be found in HFCS. A 2009 the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy tested brand-name food products with HFCS.  They detected mercury in about one of every three common foods or beverages where HFCS was the first or second labeled ingredient. Many of these foods are heavily marketed to children, who in turn are among those most vulnerable to mercury’s toxic effects.[19]

[1] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-foods/the-murky-world-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

[2] Ibid

[3] Jason Fung, MD; The Obesity Code; Greystone Books, 2016; p. 160-167

[4] Ibid

[5] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-foods/the-murky-world-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup/

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpNU72dny2s

[7] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/228-just-eat-real-food/

[8] https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/03/hfcs-and-obesity-epidemic.aspx

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Jason Fung, MD; The Obesity Code; Greystone Books, 2016; p. 160-167

[12] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpNU72dny2s

[13] Jason Fung, MD; The Obesity Code; Greystone Books, 2016; p. 160-167

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpNU72dny2s

[15] https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/10/03/hfcs-and-obesity-epidemic.aspx

[16] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpNU72dny2s

[17] Ibid

[18] Jason Fung, MD; The Obesity Code; Greystone Books, 2016; p. 160-167

[19] https://www.iatp.org/sites/default/files/421_2_105026.pdf

 

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