Take a look at the ingredients in this bottle of catchup (or Ketchup if you prefer). You see the nice line about it being a natural source of the antioxidant Lycopene? Sounds healthy huh?
It’s not, look at the ingredients, half-way down you will also see High Fructose Corn Syrup.
What’s so evil about that? Isn’t fructose a more natural sugar than dextrose?
Yes, it’s naturally evil. One of the nastiest food ingredients widely used in processed foods today. It causes premature hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure, premature loss of accommodation in the lens of the eye, damage to joints, premature aging of the skin, and obesity. This crap should be called the death additive.
Ordinary table sugar, sucrose, consists of a molecule of glucose and fructose bound together. The body has to split these two apart before it can enter the bloodstream as glucose. Fructose enters the blood stream much faster.
How fast carbohydrates are turned into glucose in the bloodstream is referred to as a foods “glycemic index”, a high glycemic index food is extremely unhealthy for a variety of reasons.
First, when glucose levels rise in the bloodstream it gives rise to higher serotonin levels in the brain. If this happens slowly, this results in a sense of being satiated, and we are no longer hungry. This feedback loop is good. But if it happens rapidly, our brain associates immediate actions that gave rise to the rapid increase as a reward, and an addiction results.
We tend to become addicted to high glycemic index foods and obesity results from their consumption. Obesity in the United States directly correlates with the rise in the use of high fructose corn syrup in processed foods. Obesity leads to diabetes, clogged arteries, and a variety of other health problems.
There is a second mechanism through which high fructose corn syrup wreaks havoc with the body. Blood sugar levels are regulated by the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. Insulin causes glucose to be taken up by the liver, muscle, and fat cells. The liver and muscles act as short term stores of glucose for energy production, fat acts as a long term store.
While the body depends upon glucose for energy production, it is also damaging to the body. Glucose molecules bind adjacent protein molecules in the arteries hardening them, causing blood pressure to rise. Glucose molecules bind adjacent protein molecules in the lens of the eye causing it to stiffen and no longer accommodate changes in focal length, and eventually clouding of the lens (cataracts). Glucose molecules bind adjacent protein molecules in the skin causing a loss of elasticity and wrinkles. Glucose molecules bind adjacent proteins in the ligaments and cartilage resulting in joint damage. Glucose molecules bind adjacent proteins in the discs of the back resulting in degeneration of the spine.
Just as oxygen is necessary for the body to function but at the same time produces oxidative damage, glucose is necessary for energy production but causes damage by binding adjacent proteins. Antioxidants present in our diet and produced by our body greatly reduces oxidative damage, but no such analog substances presently exist to prevent damage by glucose.
There is an experimental drug presently being tested on animals that reverses this damage but it has not yet entered the human testing phase, so is not presently an option for us to avoid this damage.
It turns out that the rate that glucose does damage is extremely sensitive to blood glucose levels. Damage happens at a slow rate if we maintain the levels necessary for normal energy production but do not exceed them. If we exceed that level, even briefly, the rate of damage increases exponentially. This is what causes the cardiovascular damage in diabetic individuals.
When we eat a high glycemic index food such as high fructose corn syrup, our blood sugar rises faster than mechanisms that counter it can come into play, the pancreas takes time to increase the production of insulin, the fat, muscle, and liver cells all take time to respond to this signal. So what happens when we eat a high glycemic index food is first our blood sugar spikes, causing rapid glucose damage, and then it plummets causing us to feel hungry and consume more high glycemic index foods.
What we need are low glycemic index foods, complex carbohydrates that are broken down slowly by the body and cause glucose to enter the bloodstream at a slow steady rate that the pancreas, liver, fat, and muscle cells have time to respond to and regulate properly. When we eat low glycemic index foods, or blood sugar neither spikes to a high level, nor crashes when the glucose regulating insulin loop catches up. Thus we get a constant long duration supply of energy, and we do not become hungry until we have truly depleted that supply, thus avoiding obesity, and glucose damage.
The food industry loves to load our processed foods up with high fructose corn syrup for two reasons. First, it is less expensive than sucrose, ordinary table sugar. It causes glucose damage at a rate approximately six times that of sucrose for an equivalent sweetness, but that doesn’t affect this quarters results so the food industry doesn’t care. Second, it is addictive. Our brains make the association between eating high glycemic index foods and a good feeling that results from increased serotonin production and we become addicted to these foods. There isn’t a corporation on this planet that doesn’t want earth’s entire population addicted to their products.
Fructose is six times more damaging than sucrose (table sugar), and sucrose is more damaging than more complex carbohydrates. The bottom line is sweets are bad for us, but especially fructose.
I don’t think we can reasonably expect our government to outlaw high glycemic index foods. The responsibility to not consume them lies with us. Start reading labels, avoid buying products containing high fructose corn syrup. It can be difficult but if you shop around, there are healthier alternatives available. Avoid sweetened foods, avoid processed foods, start eating things that actually grow in the earth.
Educate your fellow human being. If enough people stop buying this toxic waste being passed off as food, and start buying healthy alternatives, corporations will stop selling toxic waste disguised as food, and start selling healthy alternatives.
This isn’t just about living long, it’s about living healthy, maintaining good functionality into old age, having healthy eyes, arteries, joints, spine and skin into old age.
Proper nutrition isn’t the only key to living long and healthy but it is an important element.