Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not-So-Sweet Surprise

Last month, I did a post entitled "Sweet Surprise?" which was a not-so-subtle dig at the Corn Refiners Association's new commercials aimed at addressing the growing public concerns about their not-so-natural product made from genetically-modified corn and a complex process to convert that corn into a sickeningly-sweet product known as High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

The trade group which sponsors the commercials argues that no one can say for certain that HFCS is better or worse than cane sugar. Now, however, we do have some evidence that HFCS IS worse than cane sugar. Although we know that cane sugar is metabolized by every cell in the body, whereas fructose must be metabolized in the liver, the evidence on fructose has been mixed. Now, we have scientific evidence that high levels of fructose, including that which is found in HFCS, does raise triglyceride levels in rodent models, and we know that many people with insulin resistance also have elevated triglycerides, suggesting that high levels of fructose consumption associated with HFCS may play a role. In addition, high levels of fructose consumption also seems to cause Leptin resistance, which in turn, causes rapid weight gain.

The study was published in the American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology by researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. The study shows that unusually high levels of fructose consumption makes people leptin resistant, and that leptin resistance can occur with little indication that it's happening. The high consumption of these sweeteners differs from normal consumption of fruit, particularly when it is added to foods which don't ordinarily contain sugar. For example, we wouldn't normally put a tablespoon of sugar on top of spaghetti, but a single serving of many pre-made pasta sauces contain the equivalent of that in HFCS which these products never had a generation ago.

Allie Beatty did an interesting vLog posting on Leptin in August which is worth having a look at if you're interested in knowing more about Leptin. An article contained in Science Daily and Medical News Today does a better job of covering the latest research implicating HFCS, so I won't attempt to do that here. A word of caution, however, is that the studies were done using rodent models, not humans. But further research is likely to be pursued!

1 comment:

gretchen said...

You need to clarify why the fructose that constitutes 50% of can sugar isn't also dangerous.