- Mark's Daily Apple - http://www.marksdailyapple.com -

Monday Musings: Fructose, Not HFCS; Serenity Now, Death Earlier?

I’ve always been a bit leery about the overwhelming amount of attention paid to high-fructose corn syrup in the media and among the online health-conscious community. Sure, it’s bad stuff, maybe even especially bad when compared to other forms of sugar [7], but it is not enough to simply ditch the “corn sugar” and use “healthy cane sugar” (even if it’s evaporated!) instead. Sugar is the issue – fructose. Namely, excessive amounts of it (I’m not going to lambaste blueberries and raspberries) are what you need to avoid. Focusing on HFCS alone and not the general “fructose” is an incomplete and, frankly, counterproductive mode of opposition.

You knew that already, though. It’s just nice to see others – like a couple of renal (to the best of my knowledge, that word does not carry an ulterior meaning – unlike “anal”) MDs from the University of Colorado, for example [8] – do the same. Drs. Johnson and Nakagawa conducted a comprehensive study of the most recent medical literature regarding the effects of fructose intake on kidney health, hypertension, diabetes [9], and obesity. Can you guess what they determined? Yeah, you got it – all of the above. They even mention the correlation between the introduction of HFCS to the US in the 70s and the country’s corresponding rise in obesity, but instead of suggesting it was solely due to HFCS intake, they use more nuance and posit that increased fructose intake (due to increased exposure, affordability, and availability) was the problem. It’s a subtle but vital distinction that might help folks realize an equally excessive amount of cane sugar isn’t a healthy alternative.

Next on the musings list, Seinfeld fans know not to mutter “Serenity now [10]” to themselves in order to deal with stressful situations; your bottled up rage will eventually gush forth, leaving in your wake a Manhattan apartment filled with obliterated PC parts (or a popular LA comedy club gone suddenly silent after your inexplicably racist rant). This is also sound advice, it turns out, in other aspects of one’s life. Like when you argue with your spouse.

Preliminary results from a recent survey [11] find that married couples who “express” their “distaste” with one another “directly” and “verbally” during “spirited disagreements” live longer than married couples who bottle it all up. Of 192 married couples, 26 were “suppressor couples,” meaning both husband and wife failed to express their anger during disagreements or arguments. Over a 17-year period, 25% of suppressor couples died, while 12% of expresser couples died. Standard health factors (smoking, weight, CVD risk, blood pressure, age, bronchial and breathing problems) were accounted for.

Lesson? Bottling up stress [12] and anger is like feeding a seagull alka-seltzer, where you’re the seagull. You might fly around for a little while, but you’re going to explode (and you’ll have terrible gas until then). Anger is a natural emotion. It probably exists for a very good reason, perhaps as an indirect motivator to improve an organism’s survivability. Grok [13] gets disrespected, taken for a fool, cuckolded, or smacked around, and anger tells him to stand up for himself. Whatever the reason for its existence, anger is meant to be released. You hold it in and it just turns inward. Appropriately expressed, the world can handle your anger unleashed. Your insides? Maybe not.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment board and thanks for reading!