Original article written by Dr. Mirkin, MD
A group of sugar farmers and refiners are suing corn processors and a lobbying group for advertising that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is as healthful as sugar (Associated Press, September 13, 2011).
The granulated table sugar that you buy in the store comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. HFCS is processed from corn and is found in almost all sugared soft drinks.
As of today, nobody has shown that HFCS is any more damaging to your health than granulated table sugar. (??) Almost all studies show that large amounts of granulated table sugar or HFCS equally increase risk for diabetes, heart attacks, obesity and premature death.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HFCS AND TABLE SUGAR
Table sugar is primarily sucrose, a double sugar with almost equal parts of two single sugars called glucose and fructose. HFCS is also glucose and fructose, but they are single sugars that are not bound together.
DOES SEPARATE GLUCOSE AND FRUCTOSE CAUSE MORE DISEASE?
It may, but nobody has shown that it does. (??) All sugars can increase risk for obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and premature death
RATIOS OF GLUCOSE TO FRUCTOSE ARE NEARLY IDENTICAL
Table sugar has about a 50/50 ratio of glucose to fructose. HFCS has approximately a 55/42 ratio. Nobody has shown that this difference in ratio increases risk for disease or premature death. (??)
THE FRUCTOSE IN HFCS AND TABLE SUGAR ARE THE SAME
Of the two sugars, glucose is allowed to circulate freely in your bloodstream and can enter all your cells. However, fructose is immediately trapped by your liver.
It is first sent into liver cells as a stored sugar called glycogen. When glycogen stores are full, fructose is converted to a fat called triglycerides. Triglycerides are the building blocks used to make the bad LDL cholesterol that causes plaques to form in arteries. High triglycerides cause high LDL cholesterol.
HOW COULD HFCS BE MORE HARMFUL THAT TABLE SUGAR?
When your blood sugar rises too high, sugar sticks to the outer surface of cell membranes. Once there, sugar can never get off. It is converted by a series of chemical reactions first from glucose to fructose and eventually to sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that destroys the cell to cause all the side effects of diabetes: nerve damage such as blindness, deafness, and loss of feeling, impotency, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, kidney damage, and so forth.
Theoretically, HFCS could cause a higher rise in blood sugar, but this has not been proven. (??)
HFCS contains single sugars (glucose and fructose), while table sugar has the two sugars bound together in a single molecule (sucrose). It takes an extra chemical reaction to convert sucrose to the single sugars that are already individual in HFCS.
So theoretically, HFCS could cause a higher rise in blood sugar than table sugar, but, as of today, we do not have this proof. (??)
WHY CAN ALL SUGARED DRINKS HARM YOU?
Sugared drinks cause much higher rises in blood sugar than sugared foods. The higher the rise in blood sugar, the greater the cell damage.
When food enters your stomach, the pyloric sphincter at the end of your stomach closes and no solid food can pass into your intestines. Only a liquid soup is squeezed into your intestines.
Sugared drinks enter your intestines to be absorbed immediately. When you eat whole fruit, it can stay in your stomach for up to five hours before it is squirted into your intestines.
When you are not exercising, avoid any form of added sugars in foods and drinks. Whole fruit is fine, but avoid fruit juices. When you are exercising, you can take sugared drinks and foods.
Contracting muscles can draw sugar into their cells without needing insulin. On the other hand, resting muscles are passive and require insulin to draw sugar from your bloodstream. Taking sugar when you are not exercising causes much higher rises in blood sugar.
Dr. Pinna says:
If you count the question marks, you will see that Dr. Mirkin is stating FIVE TIMES in this brief article, that no one has proved that HFCS is harmful!
This is the technique of a defense attorney. “No one has proved that my client is guilty!”
In medicine, a physician advises his patients to avoid anything that MIGHT be harmful. We have learned that many plants are harmful, but the proof comes after perhaps centuries of use.
That a something has not been proven harmful is totally irrelevant.
For centuries mankind smoked tobacco and the tobacco companies urged more people to smoke, “Because no one has proved that smoking is harmful.”
How many people died because of that erroneous type of logic?
Corn or maize is a seed, not a liquid. When ground and cooked it is absorbed slowly from the gastro-intestinal tract. The metabolism of a carbohydrate, such as corn/maize is quite different than fructose or glucose in liquid form.
HFCS was discovered in the middle of the 20th Century.
It was commercialized and became popularized by huge commodity firms who made billions from the U.S. government because corn was a subsidized crop. It became a serious money maker in the 1990′s.
HFCS is now used by all large international manufacturers of drinks and sweet foods in many countries.
In those countries that are concerned about the health of their citizens, such as Canada, Australia and the EU, it is either restricted or totally banned.
PERCENTAGE OF FRUCTOSE
Of the two sugars in HFCS, Fructose is the most damaging.
In HFCS fructose is 55% and Glucose 42%, as stated above. That difference 13% indicates that Fructose is more than 30% more available than Glucose in HFCS versus the 50/50 ratio in white crystalline sugar, called sucrose.
EVIDENCE OF HARMFUL EFFECTS
As Dr. Mirkin said five times: “There is no proof!” but, yes. there is “evidence” of harmful effects.
Here is a small study with mice:
“Bocarsly et al. completed a 2010 study using two experiments with rats. First, groups of 10 rats were given water sweetened with either 8% HFCS 12 hrs/day, 8% HFCS 24 hrs/day, or 10% sucrose 12 hrs/day (table sugar), all with ad libitum rodent chow, or only ad libitum rodent chow for a duration of 8 weeks.
For the second experiment:
- Groups of 8 male rats were fed to compare diets with added sweetener in the form of HFCS to ones without added sweetener for 6 months; and
- Groups of 8 female rats were fed to compare diets with no or different kinds of added sweeteners to ones without for 7 months.
Over the course of 6 or 7 months, “both male and female rats with access to HFCS gained significantly more body weight than control groups. This increase in body weight with HFCS was accompanied by an increase in adipose fat, notably in the abdominal region, and elevated circulating triglyceride levels. Translated to humans, these results suggest that excessive consumption of HFCS may contribute to the incidence of obesity”. The study found that rats consuming rat chow with HFCS gained 48% more weight than rats that only consumed rat chow.”
This is not proof, but it gives one a clue.
My recommendation is:
Use only natural foods. HFCS gives your body a blast of two sugars. It is NOT a product of nature. Beware companies interested in high profits! They will kill you if it will increase their bottom line.