The Problem with High Fructose Corn Syrup

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The next time you see that commercial where the two people are trying to figure why high fructose corn syrup is problematic, here’s somethings YOU can think about…

Table sugar is made up robust chemical bond that connects fructose and glucose; it’s a natural product with a natural bonding that makes it very strong. High fructose corn syrup, which is made up of an artificially processed combination of fructose and glucose has no such chemical constituency. The two sugars aren’t bonded. And that means it’s is fructose is free and easily absorbed by liver which doesn’t really know how to handle kind of fructose load. High Fructose Corn SyrupThe net result is a too horrible words that when it comes to your health and longevity that you don’t want to hear together “fatty liver”.

High fructose sweeteners have another unpleasant quality. While all sugars can make you fat, fructose-fat may be specific for the belly. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers showed that volunteers who consumed fructose sweetened beverages experienced significantly higher accumulations of fat within the abdomen even though they and their glucose drinking experimental colleagues gained the same amount of total weight.

Got gout? Well, it turns out one of the ways the the liver handles all that excess fructose ends up creating the uric acid crystals that wreak so much havoc in millions of big toes around the country. And uric acid doesn’t just cause the grief of gout. It associated with high blood pressure and kidney disease too.

And if that’s not enough, there’s recent literature that suggests that even though fructose doesn’t raise insulin, it may increase insulin resistance. In article published earlier this year in Diabetes Care, fructose consumers were more likely to have depotentized insulin than glucose consumers.

Perhaps the worst thing about high fructose corn syrup is a particularly distressing feature it shares in common with most common sweeteners, artificial and “natural”. They make you want to eat more. In the book ‘Salt Sugar Fat” by Michael Moss, there’s an interesting and revealing vignette about how surprised researchers were to discover that sweetened beverages more hungry not less. And now it turns out that fructose may be particularly culpable. Two papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007 showed that pure glucose decreases food intake while fructose had the opposite effect fructose increased it .

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Toxic

The Disease of Kings

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

For most of human history the most health issues were related to deficiencies. In the past few decades however, new types of illnesses are appearing. These are conditions that, unlike diseases dominant in days of yore, are related to abundance not deprivation. These so-called “Diseases of Excess” include some of the most lethal killers in the entire spectrum of sickness. In fact, heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the three leading causes of death in the United States are all at least partially related to pathologies of plenty.
Gout, the Disease of Kings
One of the most pesky and painful of the Diseases of Excess is gout. Traditionally known as the Rich Man’s Disease (Alexander the Great, Sir Isaac Newton Benjamin Franklin and King Henry the VIII were some of the more well-known historical luminaries who had to deal with this troubling health condition) because of its association with rich, fatty, protein- dense foods, today gout affects millions of Americans with little regard to financial or social standing.

Gout is best thought of as a type of arthritis (inflammation of the joints) which is caused by the accumulation of a substance called uric acid (UA). UA blood levels increase in response to specific types of foods when they are ingested in copious quantities. When this occurs, UA crystals can precipitate out in inappropriate nooks and crannies in the body and big health problems can ensue. UA can crystallize out in the kidneys causing kidney stones, it can pile up and form lumps in the skin (so-called “tophi”), or most troubling of all, it can accumulate in the joints of the hands and feet where the jagged UA crystals can cause the excruciating pain and inflammation that is known as gout.

The first major culprit in the development of gout is fructose, which we’ve been beating up on in the last few posts. The association between high uric acid and the ingestion of fruit sugar is so definitive that Dr. Richard Johnson the author of “The Sugar Fix” says uric acid levels can actually serve as a marker of fructose poisoning.
The second important cause of UA elevations and gout are proteins that contain substances called “purines”, which are little protein-like pieces (technically called nucleotides) found in all living cells. Because of their role in cell chemistry purines are largely concentrated in animal foods like meats (especially organ meats) and fish. Yeast can also be a source of purines , much to the chagrin of many beer-loving gout sufferers. In an article published in the medical journal “The Lancet”, researchers found that drinking merely 2-4 glasses of beer a week increased the incidence of gout by 25%.

If you’re one of the 5% or so of Americans who suffer from gout take heart; there are multiple strategies that can dramatically reduce you risks of getting the “Disease of Kings”.
First of all, you’re going to want to stay away from foods that elevate uric acid. High fructose corn syrup is especially verboten and so is most fruit juice (one notable exception is cherry juice, which has a long history as folk remedy for treating gout flare-ups). It’s also best to lay off most fish, shellfish, turkey, chicken and organ meats. And beer drinkers may want to consider switching to wine, which can act to decrease the precipitation of UA crystals. Lima beans and cauliflower and peas are non-animal sources of purines that gout sufferers may want to avoid (note: cooking purine containing vegetables slightly can reduce their purine content)

One of the best non-purine containing sources of protein is derived from whey. In fact, while dairy foods have lots of problems purines aren’t one of them. In addition to whey protein, cottage cheese and yogurt are two other sources of protein that won’t affect uric acid metabolism. Egg whites can also provide purine-free protein, although egg yolks contain a high concentration of the aggravating protein by-product.

Some home protocols for reducing or eliminating the appearance of gout include the use of celery seed (try 1-2 teaspoonfuls a day) or celery seed oil gel caps. The aforementioned cherry juice has been used with some success. And drinking ½ teaspoonful of baking soda in a glass of water every couple of hours (take no more than 7 doses per 24 hours and for no longer than 2 weeks) can help neutralize the uric acid crystals. Make sure you drink the baking soda solution on an empty stomach to keep it from reacting with acidic digestive juices. Even without baking soda, generous amounts of water van help dilute the uric acid crystals making their precipitation far less likely. Lots of people use apple cider vinegar as an alkalinizing substance. Try putting 2 or 3 teaspoonfuls in hot water with honey to make a nice anti-gout tea. And, if you add dried red clover or alfalfa (use a tea-ball) you can boost its anti-gout properties. Finally, because gout crystals are affected by temperature, using a heating pad or foot bath to warm the joints can provide relief by helping dissolve some of the jagged UA crystals.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health