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Thread: is high fructose corn syrup inherently worse than other sugars? page

  1. #1
    primal pete's Avatar
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    I'm not really interested in people telling me HFCS is bad for you, because that fact is obvious. Processed sugar in general is high in carbohydrates and causes basically every problem the primal blue print aims to prevent or reverse.

    I'm more interested in it's inherent qualities compared to that of regular sugar, or the sugar we find in fruit. We've recently learned that not all fats are created equal, given that trans fats are bad for us while "regular fats" are generally good for us. Can the same analogy be drawn with HFCS to table sugar?

    Basically what I'm asking is that if I were to eat a teaspoon of HFCS would the detrimental health effects be no different than a teaspoon of regular old sugar?

    As I understand it HFCS is basically a 50/50 blend of fructose and glucose, both of which occur naturally in things like fruit and honey. Is there a man made process that makes it worse, much like there is a man made process that makes trans fats worse?

    Could someone shed some light on this for me? Where is Serial Sinner?

  2. #2
    buffalo's Avatar
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    Nutritionally, sugar is already bad for us just as nature makes it. The only man-made process that makes sugar worse is that we can concentrate it. You can't eat 15 apples in a day without really going at it, but you can easily consume that much sugar in a couple of donuts.

    Nutritionally, HFCS is almost exactly the same as table sugar, except HFCS usually has a 55%/50% fructose/glucose instead of 50%/50% like table sugar. An enzyme in your small intestine breaks the bond between fructose and sucrose, so as far as your blood stream and liver are concerned, they are exactly the same.

    The reason HFCS is worse than regular sugar is because it's really cheap to make. So manufacturers will put it in everything, and put more of it in it, because it's a cheap additive.

    For all the gory details on sugar, watch "Sugar: The bitter truth":

    Sugar is not as bad for you in fruit, because it's bound up in fibre which slows the absorption, so it doesn't mob your liver all at once and cause your pancreas to freak out. In addition, up to half the sugars in a raw banana can make it through the small intestine undigested due to this fibre content. So fibre can even prevent absorption of the sugar.

    The natural sugars are all just as bad as the unnatural ones: honey, maple syrup, HFCS, table sugar, agave nectar. They're all basically the same: highly concentrated sources of fructose.

  3. #3
    Tarlach's Avatar
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    Well honey is almost identical to HFCS.

    100 grams of honey has 41g fructose, 36g glucose, 3 g galactose, 1 g maltose, 1 g sucrose and 17% water

    If you add 17% water to HFCS 55, it is 46% fructose and 37% glucose.

    In many fruits, such as pineapple and apricot, sucrose is the main sugar. In others, such as grapes and pears, fructose is the main sugar.

    A the end of the day it is all broken down into glucose and fructose and turned into glycogen.

    Getting it into your system a bit slower doesn't change the fact that it is there. You just don't get such a one off spike in blood sugar.

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    Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)

  4. #4
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    I know this isn't what you are asking, but HFCS is made by a method that is similar to turning crude oil into gasoline. Talk about process foods...

    And on a personal note, I can/could drink a gallon of HFCS Coca-Cola without batting an eye. Trying to do that with Mexican, or Passover, Coca-Cola makes/made me feel a bit ill.

    And the only difference between the two is the sugar.

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  5. #5
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    Read these:

  6. #6
    musajen's Avatar
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    In a word, yes. There is a difference in the way the body responds to the different types of sugar and fructose is more damaging than glucose. Now if I could just remember where I read this...

    Try this one:

    And this is interesting just looking at what a diet heavy in fruit consumption can do to your body:

    The Heart Scan Blog is actually a pretty good resource and he talks about fructose often.

  7. #7
    John R's Avatar
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    The Lustig video linked above is very, very worthwhile. Long story short, according to Dr Lustig (whose science seems impeccable), they're all bad, but fructose from any quickly-absorbed source -- sucrose, HFCS, agave syrup, honey, whatever -- is extra-bad.

  8. #8
    aboutsaffron's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think HFCS is the grossest because it requires quite a lengthy process to create. Michael Pollan goes into great detail how they do it in Omnivore's Dilemmna, & although I'd already cut it out of my life, that description horrified me.

    Obviously, it's all bad, but I think honey & sugar in fruit is better because at least it's natural. I'm all about eating stuff that can be found in nature...

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  9. #9
    Katt's Avatar
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    If I recall correctly, HFCS also does not flip the 'full' trigger in the brain to let you know you've had enough. I think Dr. Lustig mentions it in the video. So people can gulp the stuff down and never get that nasty feeling that they've ingested too much sugar. And apparently that holds true for the food you might be eating at the same time. People eat more than they need to because the brain doesn't send the signal that the stomach is full.

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  10. #10
    maba's Avatar
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification

    Fructose screws up your leptin mechanism and can lead to leptin resistance.

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