SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

March 24, 2009

HFCS and Insulin Resistance

Dr Mercola is relentless on this subject, but then, so am I.  The sooner we get the word out, the sooner I
might lower the alarm.  Read on.

.

Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Insulin Resistance

high fructose corn syrup, corn, corn syrup, fructose, diabetes, heart disease, HFCS, insulin, leptin, insulin resistanceA new study in mice sheds light on at least part of the reason for the insulin resistance that can come from diets high in high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found in most sodas and many other processed foods.

Fructose is much more readily metabolized to fat in the liver than glucose, and in the process can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD in turn leads to hepatic insulin resistance and type II diabetes.

Researchers showed that mice fed a high-fructose diet could be protected from insulin resistance if a gene known as transcriptional coactivator PPARg coactivator-1b (PGC-1b) was “knocked down” in the animals’ liver and fat tissue. PGC-1b controls the activity of several other genes, including one responsible for building fat in the liver. This suggests an important role for PGC-1b in the pathogenesis of fructose-induced insulin resistance.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

According to the latest statistics, new cases of diabetes have increased by 90 percent in the last 10 years, and diabetes or pre-diabetes now strikes one in four Americans. Those are absolutely astounding statistics to say the least.

There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the primary fuels for this epidemic is the excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Several studies over the past few years have also come to this conclusion, including this latest study in Cell Metabolism, in which the researchers note:

Insulin resistance is a common feature of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Both have reached epidemic proportions worldwide with the global adoption of the westernized diet along with increased consumption of fructose, stemming from the wide and increasing use of high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners.

It is well established that fructose is more lipogenic than glucose, and high-fructose diets have been linked to hypertriglyceridemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance.

Unfortunately, this study does nothing to further the return to a more sane approach to health, but will likely just create even more problems as they propose their findings could lead to yet another drug treatment to hamper the harmful effects of HFCS consumption.

Absolutely in line with the drug model, and one has to seriously wonder if they weren’t behind this study.

The answer is clearly not to create more drugs to combat the problem of diabetes, but rather to educate the public about healthier eating habits – which includes AVOIDING high fructose corn syrup as much as possible.

Scientists have clearly linked the rising HFCS consumption to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS compared to regular sugar.

Despite all the evidence, the industry persists in claiming these findings are untrue, arguing that HFCS is the same as sugar. Their campaign also relies on nutritional research, but it should be noted that the funding for many of the major studies in question came from companies with a financial stake in the outcome.

Reminds me quite a bit of the tobacco lobby’s consistent denial that smoking causes lung cancer until they had no choice but to admit it.

How Much High Fructose Corn Syrup is in Your Diet?

The obesity and diabetes epidemics are no surprise when you consider the fact that the number one source of calories in America is high fructose corn syrup in soda.

There are about 40 grams of HFCS per can – more than the American Medical Association’s recommended daily maximum for ALL caloric sweeteners. And that’s without adding in all the corn syrup now found in every type of processed, pre-packaged food you can think of.

In fact, the use of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. diet increased a staggering 10,673 percent between 1970 and 2005, according to the latest USDA Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption report. That too is no major surprise considering that processed foods account for more than 90 percent of the money Americans spend on their meals.

All in all, according to the USDA’s report, about one-quarter of the calories consumed by the average American is in the form of added sugars – the majority of which comes from high fructose corn syrup.

Folks, this is an absolute prescription for disaster. Is it any wonder that we are suffering epidemics of chronic diseases that are contributing to the economic collapse, as they require expensive drug and surgical solutions that only treat the symptoms, but do nothing to address the cause of the disease?

Why High Fructose Corn Syrup IS Worse For You than Sugar

If you need to lose weight, or if you want to avoid diabetes and heart disease, fructose is one type of sugar you’ll want to avoid, particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

Part of what makes HFCS such a dangerous sweetener is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of a study on fructose, published in the Journal of Nutrition just last year:

“Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in your body.”

This occurs because most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. Fructose, however, bypasses this process and simply turns into fat.

Additionally, there’s hard empirical evidence showing that refined man-made fructose like HFCS metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose. And one of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on this topic found that fructose consumption leads to decreased signaling to your central nervous system from the hormones leptin and insulin.

Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.

Decreased insulin and leptin signaling is also a main cause of diabetes and a host of other obesity-related conditions.

How HFCS Contributes to Diabetes

In addition to everything already mentioned — including these latest findings that HFCS consumption can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, followed by hepatic insulin resistance and then type 2 diabetes — research reported at the 2007 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, found evidence that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS may contribute to the development of diabetes because it contains high levels of reactive compounds that trigger cell and tissue damage that cause diabetes.

Chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS were found to have ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls. Reactive carbonyls are undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules, and are believed to cause tissue damage.

By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar because its fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable.

Reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and are linked to the health complications of diabetes. It is estimated that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.

How HFCS Contributes to Heart Disease

HFCS is also known to significantly raise your triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol). Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts.

Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.

Additional Health Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, fructose also does not contain any enzymes, vitamins or minerals so it takes these micronutrients from your body while it assimilates itself for use.

Unbound fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart’s use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.

Please note that this does not mean you should avoid whole fruit, however, as it contains natural fructose together with the enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for your body to assimilate the fructose. Eating small amounts of whole fruit also does not provide a tremendous amount of fructose, and is not likely to be a problem for most people unless diabetes or obesity is an issue.

And lastly, adding insult to injury, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.

GMO corn will radically increase your risk of developing corn allergies. The problem with corn allergies are that once you have a corn allergy from GMO corn you will have an allergy to even healthy organic corn products.

How You Can Drastically Improve Your Overall Health

If you want to drastically improve your health, the answer is quite simple. To lose weight and reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease, STOP drinking soda and processed fruit juices. Switch to pure water as your beverage of choice and you will be well on your way to better health.

To preserve your health you also need to focus your diet on whole foods based on your personal biochemistry, and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader and avoid foods that contain corn syrup as a main ingredient.



February 10, 2009

Soda Pop – all it’s gifts!



10 Diseases Linked To Soda

soda, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, HFCSStatistics shows that Americans drink more soda than ever before. They account for more than 25 percent of all drinks consumed in the United States. More than 15 billion gallons were sold in 2000 — about one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman and child.

But here’s some information that may keep you away from opening the can:

1. Extra pounds

Soda is a significant contributor to obesity. Drinking a single can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than a pound of weight gain every month. And diet soda is just as likely to cause weight gain as regular, or even more — it may sound counterintuitive, but people who drink diet soft drinks actually don’t lose weight. Artificial sweeteners induce a whole set of physiologic and hormonal responses that actually make you gain weight.

2. Liver damage

Soda damages your liver. Consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to the increased risk faced by chronic alcoholics.
3. Tooth decay

Soda dissolves tooth enamel. Soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. Soda’s acidity is even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.

4. Kidney stones and chronic kidney disease

Colas of all kinds are well known for their high phosphoric acid content, a substance that changes the urine in a way that promotes kidney stone formation. Drinking one quart (less than three 12-ounce cans) of soda per week may increase your risk of developing kidney stones by 15 percent.

5. Diabetes

Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda also stresses your body’s ability to process sugar. Some scientists now suspect that this may explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.

6. Heartburn & acid reflux

Heavy consumption of soda is a strong predictor of heartburn. Many carbonated beverages are very acidic. They also deliver a lot of air in the form of carbon dioxide, which can cause distension of your stomach. And that distension appears to be associated with more reflux.
7. Soft drinks = Soft Bones = Osteoporosis

Soft drinks containing phosphoric acid are definitely linked to osteoporosis (a weakening of your skeletal structure) because they lead to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in your blood. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of your bones.

8. Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Experts have reasons to believe that overconsumption of soda leads to an increase in blood pressure. It doesn’t matter if the soda is regular or diet.

9. Heart disease

Heavy soda drinkers are more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease. Research shows that drinking more than one soft drink a day is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome — a group of symptoms such as central obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, elevated fasting triglycerides, and low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Having three or more of the symptoms increases your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
10. Impaired digestion (gastrointestinal distress)

Gastrointestinal distress includes increased stomach acid levels requiring acid inhibitors, and moderate to severe gastric inflammation with possible stomach lining erosion. Drinking sodas, especially on an empty stomach, can upset the fragile acid-alkaline balance of your stomach and other gastric lining, creating a continuous acid environment. This prolonged acid environment can lead to inflammation of your stomach and duodenal lining.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:


I’ve been warning my readers of the

dangers of soda since I started this site, and this is a good list of reasons why you’ll want to avoid this beverage like the plague.

Soda is on my list of the five absolute worst foods and drinks you can consume.  Because even though fat has 250 percent more calories than sugar, the food that people get MOST of their calories from is sugar from corn, or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

According to USDA estimates, the per capita consumption of HFCS was about 40 pounds per year as of 2007, primarily in the form of soft drinks.  Tragically, high fructose corn syrup in the form of soda, is now the number one source of calories in the United States.

Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that HFCS was not only cheaper to make, it was also much sweeter (processed fructose is nearly 20 times sweeter than table sugar), a switch that has drastically altered the American diet.

The good news about all these shocking health facts is that stopping the pernicious habit of drinking soda is one of the easiest things you can do. As you can clearly see from all the examples above, you can radically improve your health simply by cutting soda out of your diet.

In fact, I am confident that your health improvement would be even more profound than if you quit smoking – a statement that has raised quite a few eyebrows through the years.

Why do I believe this?

Because soda clearly elevates insulin levels, and elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease, including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Premature aging
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis

In addition to the ten health problems above, most of which I have reported on through the years already, there is one more that is not discussed as often: drinking soda also increases your cancer risk.

Soda Drinkers Have a Higher Risk of Several Types of Cancer

Numerous studies have pointed out the link between sugar and increased rates of cancer, suggesting that regulating sugar intake is key to slowing tumor growth.

In one human study, 10 healthy people were assessed for fasting blood-glucose levels and the phagocytic index of neutrophils, which measures immune-cell ability to envelop and destroy invaders such as cancer.

Eating 100 grams of carbohydrates from glucose, sucrose, honey and orange juice all significantly decreased the capacity of neutrophils to engulf bacteria.

Another four-year study at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection in the Netherlands compared 111 biliary tract cancer patients with 480 controls. In this study the cancer risk associated with the intake of sugars more than doubled for the cancer patients.

Many studies have linked sugar intake with different types of cancer, such as:

Breast cancer — An epidemiological study in 21 modern countries that keep track of morbidity and mortality (Europe, North America, Japan and others) revealed that sugar intake is a strong risk factor that contributes to higher breast cancer rates, particularly in older women.

Throat cancer – Throat cancer is a particularly hard cancer to beat–more than 90 percent of patients with invasive esophageal cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

Research has revealed that those who drink soda might have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. They found a strong link between the accelerated rate of people drinking carbonated soft drinks and the growing number of cases of esophageal cancer over the course of two decades.

Colon cancer — According to another study, women who consume a high dietary glycemic load may increase their risk of colorectal (colon) cancer. Glycemic load is a measure of how quickly a food’s carbohydrates are turned into sugars by your body (glycemic index) in relation to the amount of carbohydrates per serving of that food.

The study consisted of more than 38,450 women who were followed for almost eight years. The participants filled out questionnaires about their eating habits, so researchers could examine the associations of dietary glycemic load, overall dietary glycemic index, carbohydrate, fiber, non-fiber carbohydrate, sucrose, and fructose with the subsequent development of colon cancer.

They found that women who ate the most high-glycemic-load foods were nearly three times more likely to develop colon cancer.

Do You Want to Radically Improve Your Health?

Then replace soda and other sugary drinks with clean, pure water.

Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to improve your health and lower your risk of cancer along with all the other diseases and long-term chronic health conditions mentioned above.

Fortunately, it is also the variable most easily influenced by healthy eating and exercise

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