Food that may be making you fat. (VERY informative! I had no idea!!)
Why HFCS is a four-letter word — that goes right to our waistlines
By Phil Lempert
TODAY SHOW CONTRIBUTOR
Sept. 23 — Americans are fat! And while it appears that each week there are new diets and new fingers eager to point blame towards restaurants, food products or the Internet, it’s important for us to remember that nutrition is a relatively new science. New research developments change the conventional wisdom, and can force the food industry to adjust their processing techniques or ingredients. The truth is that there are certain ingredients that are being used in our everyday foods that may well be culpable in the ‘fat war’.
ONE SUCH INGREDIENT that appears to be adding more inches to our waistline than is necessary is high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is processed from hydrolyzed corn starch (so it’s not completely natural) and contains a high level of fructose (which is naturally occurring in fruits and honey) and a simple sugar carbohydrate, just like sucrose. It is about 75 percent sweeter than sucrose, less expensive than sugar, and mixes well in many foods. Food manufacturers (especially soda manufacturers) began using HFCS widely in the early 1970s to save money, and it was thought of as a revolutionary advance in food science.
HFCS is made up of 14 percent fructose, 43 percent dextrose, 31 percent disaccharides and the remaining 12 percent is “other” products.
While many reports show that Americans consumption of white refined sugar has dropped over the past 20 years, it is mostly a result of the switch by food companies to HFCS, which according to USDA figures shows an increased consumption by 250 percent over the last 15 years. Estimates are that we consume about nine percent of our daily calories in the form of fructose.
SO WHY IS HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP BEING BLAMED?
The problem appears to be the fructose not the corn syrup.
Corn syrup’s sugar is primarily glucose, which our body burns as a source of immediate energy, is stored in muscles and our liver for later use, and releases insulin.
We can win the fat war by reading the labels and sending the message to food companies to make the changes to help us eat better and lead healthier lives.
Fructose, on the other hand, does not release or stimulate insulin. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps to metabolize our foods by pushing carbohydrates into our muscle cells to be used as energy, and allows carbohydrates to be stored in our liver for later use. It also stimulates production of another hormone, leptin, which helps to regulate our storage of body fat and increases our metabolism when needed. These two hormones keep our body fat regulated and tells us, for all intent purposes, when we are satisfied and sends the message to our brain to stop eating.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that men who consume very high levels of fructose elevated their triglyceride level by 32 percent. As trygliceride enters our blood stream, it makes our cells resistant to insulin, making our body’s fat burning and storage system even more sluggish.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
First, as always, read those labels! If you find that one of the first ingredients on the label is ‘high fructose corn syrup,’ look to the nutrition facts label and read how much sugar is actually in the food. If there is 2-3 grams or less, there is less concern than those foods with higher quantities. For those products, you may want to consider other alternatives that don’t contain HFCS. If the ingredient label lists ‘sugar’ or ‘cane sugar’ the ingredient is made from sucrose, which is a 50/50 blend of fructose and glucose, which has not been found to cause the same problems.
You may be surprised to see just which foods contain HFCS: sodas you would expect, but others like juices, candies, baked goods, cookies, syrups, yogurts, soups, ketchup, breakfast cereals, soups and pasta sauces may surprise you.
Since fructose is a fruit sugar, then this article is telling me not to eat fruit anymore?
I'm sorry, I just don't buy this one. Instead of giving us misinformation, this article should be trying to emphasize the idea of eliminating junk food from one's diet and being aware of portion size.
I didnt see anwyhere in the article where it said to take fruit out of your diet. what I saw was very good information about a PROCESSED sugar that sneaks into many foods and why this is bad for us.
I know Fructose is in fruit but it seemed to me the main point of the article ( I saw it on TV too and thought it was very inforamative) was the fructose corn syrup that is HIGHLY modified from its normal state.
Thank you very much for the information, Nichi
Thanks, Nichi. This is important info as sooo many foods now are highly processed.
Thank you for the post. The information was new to me and makes sense. I will have to read my packaging more closely.
I think it is so odd that the conventional wisdom used to be eat all of this low fat processed food, and don't eat eggs, don't eat meat, etc. ~ I went to a nutritionist at the beginning of my pregnancy and she said she was of the firm opinion that everyone should eat an egg a day! I almost fell over from the shock. ~ She also said that reasonably portioned, reasonably prepared, leaner cuts of red meat are really, really good for you too, and should be eaten once or twice a week for the protein and iron content.
All those many many orange drinks,hawaiin punch,and soda we all have had since we could drink more than milk in our baby bottles and cups; that is what has made the fat cells that we have filled up/out as adults.If we had only known way back then.Then the cycle of diets that let us gain back more after each one
Knowledge is power:cool:
The more informed decisions we make when shooping for groceries or dining out and the sticking to our plan is how we can lose itPlus excercise of course.
High fructose is in all the good stuff
I am trying to decide...do I cut out sugar,or limit it to my tea.
Do I use a fat free margarine,which was once reported as worse for you than real butter.OR do I stick with the butter but use less.
Sometimes just having the big blocks of real butter in the house is too much...it makes me make decisions like"Oh these muffins would be so much better topped with a frosting made with butter,confectioners sugar,and a little lemon juice" I need to only make those when enough people are here for me to have ONE and they eat the rest LOL
Great informative post Nichi,thanks for the eye opener
Last edited by Snoopkitty; 08-24-2007 at 02:30 AM.
i get so confused
when i was pregnant with my first, they encourage drinking fruit juice
when my second came along, they said too much fruit juice made children fat
i think it's all a crapshoot
as to the egg thing...i read somewhere a long time ago that taking eggs and/or egg yolks out of diets has led to the increase in macular degenerative disease that effects the eyes. something in the egg yolk is needed for a fluid that is behind the eyes that is the color of the egg yolk and without it, people are having more vision problems as they get older.
i do stick to real butter whenever possible, evoo whenever possible, no artificial sweeteners, and i've quit drinking soda except maybe once every two weeks.
another thing to try and avoid is nitrites in your food. they are found in lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon....you can find some brands without them.