Win a prize! Guess which mouse (see insert) was fed a high-fructose diet and which mouse was fed a fructose-free diet. Both mice were fed the same amount of calories. If you guess correctly, you will receive your prize at the end of this article.
Fructose found in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is toxic. However, fructose from whole unprocessed fruit is acceptable because it is delivered into the bloodstream in small amounts that can be metabolized by the liver. Also, fruits supply many micronutrients that are essential for good health and a healthy immune system.
Remember, only the liver metabolizes fructose.. When too much fructose arrives in the liver, the liver is only able to metabolize a very small portion. It converts the excess fructose to triglycerides – fat!
Fructose is harmful when consumed in excess, which is what most Americans do. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is loaded with fructose and HFCS is found in everything. It’s hiding everywhere. It is in:
- Soft drinks (most common)
- Convenience foods
- Packaged foods
- Processed food
- Salad dressings
- Some diet foods
HFCS is part glucose (45%) and part fructose (55%). Glucose can be used by every cell in your body but fructose can only be metabolized by your liver.
All fructose gets shuttled to your liver. In excessive amounts, fructose taxes and damages your liver the same way alcohol and other toxins do.
Parents, do you want your children (or yourself for that matter) to have a “beer belly”?
According to the Robert H. Lusting, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, fructose is a “chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin.” Just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat – not cellular energy like glucose.
In fact, when you compare the metabolism of 150 calories of soda with 150 calories of beer (a 12 ounce can of each), about 90 calories reach the liver in either case. Fructose causes most of the same toxic effects as ethanol because both come from sugar fermentation. Both ethanol metabolism and fructose metabolism lead to visceral adiposity (belly fat), insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Lusting states: “fructose induces alterations in both hepatic [liver] metabolism and central nervous system energy signaling, leading to a ‘vicious cycle’ of excessive consumption and disease consistent with metabolic syndrome.” Diseases consistent with metabolic syndrome are obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
A diet high in fructose, such as from sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), creates this vicious cycle:
Sugar and HFCS cause “tummy fat”
Sugar and HFCS cause “fatty liver” disease
Sugar and HFCS cause insulin resistance.
Sugar and HFCS cause leptin resistance.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fatty body tissue that regulates fat storage. When you develop Leptin resistance, your brain no longer signals your body to stop being hungry and start burning more calories. It is just the opposite; you remain hungry and begin to crave food. Your appetite is never satisfied.
If you can do just one great, healthy thing for yourself – cut out all high-fructose corn syrup. Worry about other things later.
It’s not just about counting calories. Look at the insert of the two mice again – remember, both mice were fed the same amount of calories. One mouse is obese, the other isn’t.
Obesity is directly linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Obesity suppresses your immune system.
Here is the prize I mentioned at the start of this article.
If you would like to lose 17 pounds or more, all you need to do is follow these 3 steps:
- Remove sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and processed (white) flour from your diet.
- Over 1/2 of everything you eat each day must be vegetables – a good variety of colorful vegetables.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water every day.
Related article: This is an excellent 89 minute video of a lecture by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology.
- Sugar: The Bitter Truth (ritholtz.com)