Maybe you’ve seen the commercial. There are two people in the park. One turns down a soda saying he doesn’t want the high fructose corn syrup. The other chides him that it comes from corn, so it’s natural and, in moderation, is part of a healthy diet.
One of these guys is wrong!
The truth is high fructose corn syrup isn’t natural. It’s been chemically altered to enhance its sweetness. And it certainly isn’t part of a healthy diet. Research shows that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) can damage your organs, trigger weight gain, and increase your insulin resistance leading to diabetes.
The Deadly Truth Behind this Popular Sweetener
Food manufacturers like high fructose corn syrup because it’s cheap, it’s super sweet and it has a long shelf life.
Unfortunately, once it’s in your body, there isn’t much good to say about it. It disrupts your metabolism and puts you at higher risk for diabetes in many ways.
Once upon a time, doctors actually recommended fructose to people with diabetes because your body absorbs it more slowly. It also doesn’t cause the same spikes in blood sugar that glucose does. It turns out that these “benefits” are actually part of the reason behind the dangers of HFCS.
Your body absorbs fructose more slowly because it has to be metabolized by the liver, unlike glucose, which can be absorbed and used by every cell in your body. Because it’s only metabolized in the liver, fructose doesn’t trigger insulin production in the pancreas. So, rather than being used by the cells, fructose is usually stored as fat.
High fructose corn syrup is so hard on your liver that it can actually cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). One of the complications of NAFLD is insulin resistance.
In order to use fructose, your body must contribute a number of minerals such as magnesium, copper, and chromium. Depletion of these minerals, especially chromium, interferes with insulin production and use… and that’s the first step toward diabetes. HFCS also impairs the function of insulin receptors on your cells. That leads to insulin resistance, and again, a higher risk of diabetes.
Finally, when you eat HFCS, it doesn’t make you feel full. People who eat a lot of HFCS-containing foods are likely to consume more calories and become overweight or obese. Obesity is another risk factor for diabetes.
How to Immediately Boost Your Health and Drastically Reduce…your Risk of Diabetes
As you can see, high fructose corn syrup contributes to diabetes in a number of ways. It depletes minerals that are critical for proper insulin production. It damages your liver. It leads to weight gain. It directly contributes to insulin resistance.
The average American gets 25% of their calories from sugar. Most of that comes from HFCS. That’s a recipe for disaster.
But you don’t have to wait for disaster to strike. You can make three simple changes right now that will dramatically cut your HFCS consumption. As a result, you’ll probably lose weight, your liver will be healthier, and your body will be better able to deal with the other sugars you eat.
First, cut sodas and sweetened fruit juices from your diet. Drink water, tea, or coffee instead.
Second, start reading the labels on any packaged or processed foods that you buy. If a product contains HFCS, look for an alternative.
Third, begin eating more fiber-rich foods. Fiber slows the absorption of fructose and reduces the negative effects. That’s why fruit, which contains fructose and fiber, is still a healthy choice.
High fructose corn syrup is just not good for you. It puts you in danger of becoming overweight, developing liver disease, and becoming diabetic. If you want to be healthy and full of energy, cutting out HFCS is a good start.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Photo Credit: Michelle Meiklejohn