This is a continuation to last week’s post on the dangers of high-fructose corn syryup. (University of California research as presented by Dr. Lustig). High fructose corn syrup is such a problem because it is finding its way into just about all things packaged – it is added to all sorts of packaged foods for palatability, as a browning agent, to increase shelf life, to make things freeze and thaw better (for shipping purposes, or in for fast food). Its’s not just in the foods that you would typically think of as unhealthy either! Here are some categories of foods that most commonly contain the ingredient:
- Juice & soda: this is the most common source for toddlers and kids.
- Breakfast cereal: including all the healthy ones lie Raisin Bran, Special K, Smart Start
- yogurt: any of the low-fat varieties, or the ones that contain fruit.
- Sauces & condiments: bbq sauces, ketchup, relish, stir-fry sauces etc.
- Fruit: Baked beans & pickles, as well as in the syrup that fruit is packed in (canned and bottled fruit).
- Salad dressings: especially the low fat or calorie-wise versions. Kraft is one of the worst brands for using HFCS.
- breads and baked goods: wonderbread, and whole grain breads
- Candy & candy bars: just about all of them!
- Nutrition bars: PowerBar and other sports nutrition bars, as well as meal replacement bars and granola bars.
For a list of common products containing HFCS: http://www.celestialhealing.net/Food_contain_HFCS.htm
HFCS leading to Metabolic Syndrome
Today's obesity rates are not only caused by an increase in overall caloric intake, but it's caused by a reduction in physical activity. This reduction physical activity is not due to laziness, in reality it is has a connection to high fructose corn syrup.
An easy way to illustrate this effect is to look at kids. The prevalence of a obesity is going up in the group that you can least ascribe the personal responsibility to, the toddler. We are even seeing an epidemic of overweight and obese six month olds. This is because we are feeding them an excess of fruit juices soda and baby formula that has high fructose corn syrup in the ingredient list.
So, what is metabolic syndrome? Here's an example: When you give a normal five-year-old kid a cookie what happens? They bounce off walls, everybody knows this right? And here is why - when the kid eats the cookie, the fat cells in his body gets filled, the leptin goes up…tells the brain "hey, I've got extra energy on board". This tells the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight part of the nervous system that innervates your muscles and fat cells) "hey, I got too much energy", so what happens? You burn it off, so the sympathetic nervous system sends a signal to the muscles to begin fidgeting. It also sends a signal to the fat cells releases the extra fat...and that gets used for energy later. So this is a nice negative feedback pathway that keeps you in energy balance as long as your brain can see it leptin.
So here's the paradox: what happens if you give an obese five-year-old kid a cookie instead? Answer: They are in the pantry looking for more cookies! A sugar high in an obese kid doesn't exist, and that's why they're obese, it's because they don't get the sugar high, because they can't see their leptin - this is the disorder of energy utilization and storage known as metabolic syndrome. Chronic fructose exposure alone promotes the metabolic syndrome - this is because hepatic fructose metabolism is completely different from that of glucose. This is what makes the prevalence of fructose and HFCS so dangerous!
Leptin is important because it tells the hypothalamus that you have the energy to burn. However, insulin causes leptin resistance (insulin block leptin). If everything we’re eating creates these insulin spikes, you can't see leptin…so, you're not only are always starving, but you don't want to do anything.
The dose determines the poison...and our food supply is definitely in overdose. We are releasing double to triple the amount of insulin that we were 25 years ago. This needs to change! Learn to read labels, and check the ingredient lists of the foods you are feeding your kids.