CrossFit South Rockland

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fructose: What Is It?

I just viewed a fascinating video that is informative and eye-opening, and enthusiastically explains and clears up a nutritional quandary that's been in the news lately. The subject is fructose, and the nutritional quandary of late concerns the ever-present high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), as certain manufacturers who use it in their products are wanting us to believe that it's not bad for us; that it is no worse than any other sugar we consume.
This video captures the lecture of Dr. Robert Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist and professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of San Francisco. He is currently investigating the child obesity epidemic, and what he and his colleagues have uncovered and reported could open your eyes to sugar in a new light ... at least it did mine.
I wish to be the messenger here, and most of the information I relate is gleaned from Dr. Lutsig's lecture and interviews, because I agree that there is a need for the public to be aware of what is happening to our food options.
Fructose is the natural sugar within all fruits and vegetables, and fructose is a major sugar in the extracted juice of any fruit. It's a good thing -- as long as it is accompanied by fiber, its natural partner. A fruit is a complete package of nutrients nature has provided meant to stay and work together. Because fruit juice is so readily available, so widely consumed, and pushed as a nutritional drink, this commodity is one big threat to our health. Another is agave nectar. It is now so popular, yet consumers are unaware that it is highly processed and is predominantly fructose.

Dr. Lustig wants us all to realize that the obesity epidemic has been driven by the extreme use of both fructose and HFCS (a more refined sweetener) over the last few decades; it's not the only reason, of course, but a huge contributor, along with the consumption of all the refined flours in our diets.
Dr. Lustig declares our environment is "fructose rich and fiber poor." The increased use of fructose without fiber, and the replacement of refined sugar with HFCS in sodas, began roughly 30 years ago, correlating with the onset of the obesity increase.
If there was any skepticism in anyone's mind about HFCS one way or the other, then this is the video to watch. Sugar: The Bitter Truth is found on YouTube, and has been viewed almost a million times. And yes, Dr. Lutsig does point out that fructose is just as bad as HFCS, and his explanation shows that this is mainly due to the elimination of fiber with its use.
As you cruise the internet concerning this video, articles trying to debunk or disagree with this report pop up here and there, but none is ever clear on what they are trying to say, or none of their information outweighs the facts presented by Dr. Lustig. For all we know, some may be written by food manufacturers themselves to defend their products. In fact, after an article I wrote posted on the internet about yogurt ingredients, I personally received emails from the president of the Corn Refiners Association in regard to my simple mentioning that HFCS was "a very negative form of sugar." She wanted to point out that the American Dietetic Associationthe American Medical Association, and the FDA all feel that HFCS is not a threat to our health. Maybe these organizations need to view Dr. Lustig's video and its supporting research.
Not only does fructose and HFCS contribute to obesity or just belly fat, it's important to remember there are a number of detrimental effects they have on health. These include diabetes, increased triglycerides, inflamed arteries or inflammation, and fatty liver. They also contribute to gout and hypertension, which may lead to cardiovascular disease, indicates Dr. Richard Johnson, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver, and the author of The Sugar Fix.
I realize there are several complex, technical sugar processes that occur within the body with the various forms of sugar we consume, but I do not have the space to go into all of them here; for now, a strong focus on fructose and HFCS is warranted as we see that neither obesity nor cardiovascular disease have declined over the years despite diets and drugs.
Dr. Lustig and his colleagues are adamant about the importance of their research. The video, which was not really made for the public but was simply a taped lecture, rivals the impact of the U.S. Surgeon General's report in 1964 that condemned the use of tobacco by saying it indeed causes cancer and heart disease. It is a free mini-course in nutrition 101, and you don't have to leave the house.

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