Friday, February 12, 2016

Not All Sugar Is Sweet

A friend of mine recently shared some YouTube videos with me regarding sugar consumption. I was interested to learn more about how the body processes fructose in particular. The first video is a very informative hour-long lecture. The second is very short but shocking.

Much of the food we eat is converted by our digestive system to glucose. Glucose is the substance our bodies use for energy. The system is disrupted when we consume fructose, specifically high-fructose corn syrup. HFC is found in many processed foods and can be a "hidden sugar", meaning it can be found in things that do not taste sweet such as ketchup and salad dressing. Fructose is metabolized exclusively in the liver in a very similar process as to how alcohol is processed. As a result, damaging by-products are made in the liver and the accumulation of these by-products can cause cirrhosis. 

One of the by-products in the liver is uric acid. An overabundance of uric acid leads to hypertension. I always knew drinking soda caused high blood pressure but I did not know about the specific bio-chemical process that made that happen. Of course, too much uric acid is also the cause of gout.

Fructose consumption can sabotage your hard work to lose weight. HFC changes the way our brain signals hunger. It does not stimulate the hormone ghrelin, which tells our bodies we have eaten enough. Our brains and bodies do not get the satiety signal so we want to eat more. Eating more fructose continues the process. Chronic fructose exposure can lead to all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome - hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Not only that, but fructose is stored as fat instead of glycogen! So you are eating more because your satiety signals are not stimulated and the calories you consume immediately turn to fat. Yikes - not where we want to go.

Just a note, fruit naturally contains fructose. In this form, it is unlikely you will consume too much fructose because is not concentrated, as in HFC, and it is combined with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The second video shows a healthy blood sample before the client eats sugary foods and a second blood sample after sugar consumption. It looks like the sugar causes the cells to clump together, preventing oxygen and energy flow to the muscles. Wow! Might not want to drink that artificial fruit-juice drink before exercise class.

Read labels, choose wisely and be aware of what you are drinking and eating. 
It can literally save your life.

Stay Active and Enjoy HFC-Free Food

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