I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the Corn Refiners Association’s latest push to convince us that we ought not pay a bit of attention to the man behind that curtain. After all, if we believe the commercials, HFCS is just the same as table sugar and, as the dad strolling through the cornfield with his cute little daughter says, “…your body can’t tell the difference…sugar is sugar.”
Well Dad I’m sorry to have to break the news to you, but you’re wrong…way wrong. HFCS is different. What’s worse is that it’s different in the worst possible way.
The fact is that our bodies process different types of sugars differently. Research has shown that fructose is particularly harmful to our health because, unlike the case with glucose, which passes through the digestive tract and can be excreted, your liver absorbs 100 percent of the fructose you eat.
Why is this important? Because once taken up by your liver, the fructose that isn’t used as energy heads to your belly as abdominal fat and sends your triglyceride levels soaring. And that means…yes, you guessed it…that you’re putting yourself at a much greater risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Oh, and before you ask, yes, fructose IS the kind of sugar found naturally in fruits and vegetables. However, our bodies were never designed to be consuming such vast amounts of it. We are nowhere near active enough to burn off such large amounts.
This is why a new study, published online in October in the journal Obesity, is so important. Researchers at the University of Southern California decided to test popular HFCS-sweetened soft drinks, including Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite, to find out what their actual sugar content and makeup is.
The corn industry has always maintained that HFCS is essentially the same as table sugar. Normal white table sugar is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, and the corn refiners have always told us that HFCS has a “negligible” 5 percent difference at 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.
(I’d be willing to bet that you can already see where this is going.)
It turns out that in the vast majority of sodas tested the fructose levels were well past the 55 percent that the corn refining industry has always claimed is in their product. For Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite, the fructose content was a shocking 65 percent!
I recently posted an infographic on HealthierTalk.com showing that the average American is consuming about 53 gallons of soda per year, meaning that at a 65 percent fructose content he is getting a heck of a lot more of the stuff in soda consumption alone than we ever imagined.
When you add in all the products that have HFCS in it now, suddenly, it’s much easier to see the connection between the skyrocketing heart-disease, obesity, and diabetes rates and HFCS, isn’t it?
And these findings, of course, beg the question, “What else have they been lying to us about?” The fact is that even those who have been so critical of the critics of HFCS are going to have to take a second look at this sweet and deadly bombshell.
I wonder how the corn refiners are going to sweeten up this latest bitter surprise.