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One of principal arguments food corporations have used to defend high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is that it is chemically similar to table sugar.
Manufacturers have stated repeatedly that HFCS contains at most 55 percent fructose, little different from white sugar’s 50 percent fructose makeup.
But as it turns out, the specific amount of fructose in HFCS for any particular food product has never been officially tested. And when researchers tested brand-name sodas, they found that the fructose content is actually 65 percent.
According to Grist:
“Why is this important?
It’s because research has shown fructose to be particularly harmful to human health. Unlike excess glucose, which passes through our digestive tract and is excreted, 100 percent of fructose that’s consumed is taken up by the liver. Once there, fructose causes increased fat deposition in the abdominal cavity and increased blood levels of triglycerides both of which are risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.”
Source: Grist October 26, 2010
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This is actually pretty shocking news, and could further explain just why soda in particular is so extremely detrimental to your health. As it turns out, the fructose content of the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used in many popular soda brands has been sorely underestimated.
Around 100 years ago the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of fruit. One hundred years later, one fourth of Americans are consuming more than 135 grams per day, largely in the form of soda.
Fructose at 15 grams a day is harmless unless you suffer from high uric acid levels. However, at nearly ten times that amount it becomes a major cause of obesity and nearly all chronic degenerative disease.
Instead of consisting of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose, many of the sodas tested, including Coke, Pepsi and Sprite, contained as much as 65 percent fructose, nearly 20 percent higher than originally believed.
Overall, the mean fructose content of all 23 sodas tested was 59 percent — still higher than claimed by the industry.
How this happened is anybody’s guess at this point.
“[T]urns out that the actual amount of fructose in HFCS in particular food products has never been officially disclosed, just assumed.
… Perhaps it’s been a recent development, or perhaps HFCS producers have been making this higher fructose concoction for decades.”
These results also raise the question of whether or not HFCS-containing processed foods are also far higher in health-harming fructose than previously believed.
Soda Consumption Drives Obesity and Chronic Disease Epidemics
When you consider that Americans drink an average of 53 to 57 gallons of soda per year (depending on the source of your statistics), this 10 percent difference in actual fructose content could make a huge difference in your health.
Remember, high-fructose corn syrup in the form of soda is the number one source of calories in the United States, and it is very likely the primary cause of the obesity epidemic.
Additionally, elevated insulin levels — which soda clearly causes — also underlies nearly every chronic disease known to man, including:
- Heart disease
- Premature aging
From my perspective, there is absolutely NO reason to ever drink soda.
Why Higher Fructose Content is More Harmful to Your Health
It’s been clearly established that fructose is far more dangerous than other forms of sugar, mainly due to the fact that your body metabolizes fructose differently.
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When metabolizing fructose, the entire burden falls on your liver.
This is why fructose is a hepatotoxin it can severely tax and overload your liver. This metabolic pathway leads to the creation of a number of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.
Most experts now believe fructose to be the primary reason for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which can lead to liver failure.
Elevated uric acid levels are also associated with heart- and kidney disease.
Interestingly, the connection between fructose, uric acid, hypertension, insulin resistance and kidney disease is now so clear that your uric acid level can actually be used as a marker for fructose toxicity.
According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter, and there appears to be a steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl.
If your uric acid level is higher than that, it’s a clear indication that you are particularly sensitive to the detrimental health impacts of fructose.
Fructose = Dangerous FAT, Not Carbohydrates
The specific metabolic pathway of fructose also explains why fructose is the leading cause of obesity.
Much of the fructose you eat is literally stored as fat.
Additionally, whereas glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite, fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin.
The result is a vicious cycle of overeating, weight gain and ultimately obesity.
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The bottom line is that a high-fructose diet is a HIGH FAT diet — a very dangerous high-fat diet that creates a vicious cycle of consumption that won’t shut off, and produces very rapid, harmful changes in your body.
In one 2009 study, 16 volunteers who consumed a controlled high-fructose diet produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs in just 10 weeks. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Another group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems.
These results mirror the findings of Dr. Richard Johnson. His research also shows that glucose does not impact your body the way fructose does. For example, ONLY fructose will raise your uric acid levels.
I would encourage those of you who remain doubtful that fructose is any worse than any other sugar to look at Dr. Johnson’s work. His book, The Sugar Fix, is one of the best books on the market on the health dangers of fructoseu2014specifically, how fructose causes high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and kidney disease.
How to Combat Soda Addiction
Ideally, I recommend that you avoid sugar in general, but especially HFCS in the form of soda and other processed foods. (This is particularly important if you are overweight or have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.)
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As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption from ALL sources below 25 grams per day.
If I were to recommend just ONE dietary step that could have a most dramatic impact on your health, it would be to eliminate soda from your diet, and this one step could put you well on your way to lowering your fructose intake to a more ideal range.
However, sugar is addictive — even more addictive than cocaine! Research has even shown that the mere taste of sweet causes addictive behavior, so this is a fact that many people must address.
So what’s a soda addict to do?
If you find yourself struggling with this issue, I highly recommend trying a method called Turbo Tapping.
Turbo Tapping is a clever use of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), designed to resolve the many aspects involved in addictive behavior in a concentrated period of time.
The Healthiest Drink in the World
In the end, nothing beats pure water when it comes to hydrating your body and maintaining optimal health.
The most economical and environmentally sound choice you and your family can make is to purchase and install a water filter for your home.
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My team has researched this issue extensively, and I’m pleased to announce that we will soon offer a superior water filtration system for your home called the Pure & Clear Whole House System.
Not many of the whole house water filtration systems my team looked at even came close to the level of certification earned by the Pure & Clear Whole House System.
By being tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ANSI/NSF Standard 42-2003 for chemical reduction of chlorine, the manufacturer of the Pure & Clear Whole House System delivered solid proof of its extraordinary performance.
So, if you really want to filter your entire house from chlorine, DBPs, and other contaminants, this extraordinary 3-stage filtration process is the system for you.
Alternatively, you can look around for sources of mountain spring water, which is about as close to ideal as you can get.
There’s a great website called FindaSpring.com where you can find a natural spring in your area. This is also a great way to get back to nature and teach your children about health and the sources of clean water. The best part is that most of these spring water sources are free!