Fructose, Sugar, Poison and Obesity

The video by Robert Lustig of UCSF is extremely interesting, but wonky. If you work in health care or are dealing with blood sugar issues, I highly recommend listening.   I do anyway.  But here are the highlights for the rest of you:

  • We have a worldwide epidemic of obese six month olds.  Yes, 6 months.  So it isn’t all about more food in and less exercise out.Baby with juice
  • Americans now eat 141 pounds of sugar per year, 63 pounds of which is high fructose corn syrup and over half of which is fructose in all forms.
  • A calorie is not a calorie.  Some calories are nutritious, some are merely empty, some are poisonous.
  • If we are consuming 275 extra calories a day compared to 20 years  ago, it is because our regulatory hormones like leptin are not stopping us.  We had as much food available 50 years ago, but less obesity.  Something in us changed.
  • And it isn’t our fat consumption, which has dropped.  Fat dropped significantly after 1992 when the food pyramid was established, suggesting we increase our carbohydrate consumption.
  • Japan invented high fructose corn syrup in 1975, which was much cheaper than sugar and it is in virtually every processed food.
  • At the turn of the last century Americans consumed 10.2 g daily of fructose, mostly as fruit which packages it with fiber.  Today we consume 54.7 g daily and adolescents 72.8 grams, mostly as soda and juice.
  • Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are virtually identical.  Glucose is less poisonous.
  • Coca-cola used to be sold in 10 oz bottles, which would add 8 pounds a year if consumed daily, although it tended to be a weekly treat.  Now it is sold in 24 oz bottles as a single serving.   Your supersize 48 oz Coke if consumed daily will add 57 pounds per year.  Coke has caffeine to make you pee, salt to make you thirsty and sugar to cover up the salty taste so you will consume more.  And it no longer has glucose in it, but fructose.
  • The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program pushed fruit juice which is pure fructose, and is feeding those obese 6 month olds infant formula with 43.2% corn syrup solids and 10.3% sucrose, not to mention the inflammatory Omega 6 safflower oil.  It is a baby milkshake.  (The lactose in breast milk doesn’t do the same damage.)  Coke has less sugar than infant formula.
  • Fructose is NOT like sugar, even if it were provided at lower levels since it is sweeter than sugar.  But we consume much more of it than sugar.
  • Fructose makes 7 times more Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE) than glucose.   These age your skin and arteries.
  • Fructose does not supress ghrellin, the appetite hormone, but glucose does.
  • Chronic fructose exposure promotes Metabolic Syndrome (Insulin Resistance.)
  • Fructose tells your brain that you are starving, even while you are storing its breakdown products as fat.  It short circuits your appetite-regulating hormones.
  • Fructose is metabolized like ethanol and it causes 8/12 of the chronic diseases that chronic alcohol consumption does.  Fructose is a chronic hepatotoxin.
  • A can of soda has the same impact on the liver that a can of beer does.  Fructose is ethanol without the buzz.
  • A high sugar diet IS a high fat diet, because sugar makes fat ( by de novo lipogenesis) and fructose makes a lot more fat.
  • With 120 calories of glucose only 26 calories goes into your liver.  With fructose, 72 of the calories go into the liver, and in the process generates problems like gout.
  • The uric acid from fructose that generates gout also increases hypertension.
  • Fructose also generates VLDL, the really bad cholesterol and tryglicerides.
  • If an elite athlete just ran a marathon and burned off all of his glycogen, fructose would increase glycogen stores faster than glucose. If we are exercising to lose weight, we haven’t used up our glycogen stores. But for the rest of us it causes the generation of toxins.
  • In 6 days of high fructose corn syrup, normal medical students doubled their triglycerides, increased de novo lipogenesis (new fat) by 500%, and doubled free fatty acids which causes insulin resistance, and increased nonalcoholic fatty liver.
  • You don’t exercise to burn calories, you burn to improve your metabolism, to increase your skeletal muscle which burns sugar, to reduce stress (which causes obesity) and burn off the sugar byproducts before your mitochondria can turn them into fat.
  • Fiber reduces the rate of intestinal carbohydrate absorption in your gut, increases intestinal transit time so that your satiety signal is triggered earlier, and it inhibits absorption of long chain fatty acids so your gut bacteria break them down into short chain fatty acids which suppress insulin.
  • Fructose inhibits the activity of insulin within the liver, giving liver insulin resistance and changes the way your brain recognizes energy in a negative manner.  High insulin generates obesity because you can’t burn fat, and at the same time you are eating more and more.
  • We used to consume over 300 g of fiber daily in paleolithic times, now we consume 12.
  • A mostly raw paleolithic diet, low in carbohydrates, low in sugar and high in fiber, can cure type 2 diabetes within a week.
  • The more sugared beverages a child drinks, the less lifestyle changes will affect obesity.
  • Get rid of all the sweetened beverages in the house except water and milk.  Eat your carbohydrates with fiber, as in fruit. Wait 20 minutes for seconds.  Set up an hour per hour tradeoff between active play and watching TV or using the computer.
  • The FDA, by statute, regulates only acute toxins, not chronic toxins.  So although fructose meets all the definitions of toxins, it is “Generally Regarded As Safe.”

You will have to watch the video to find the seven foods McDonalds sells without high fructose corn syrup.

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