Thursday, April 15, 2010

This Sweetener Is Far Worse Than High Fructose Corn Syrup

Great article by Dr. Mercola about agave. I put some bullet points below if you don't have time to read it.

  • All sugars are not created equal, in spite of what you might have been told.
  • Agave syrup has a higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener -- ranging from 55 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is FAR HIGHER than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent.
  • Glucose is the form of energy your cells were actually designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium -- and in fact, nearly every living thing on the Earth -- uses glucose for energy.
  • But as a country, regular cane sugar, or sucrose (50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose), is no longer the sugar of choice. It's now fructose.
  • Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose. Fructose is broken down in your liver just like alcohol and produces many of the side effects of chronic alcohol use, right down to the "beer belly" However, only 20 percent of glucose is metabolized in your liver. This is related to the fact that nearly every cell in your body can directly use glucose as a fuel source, so it's normally "burned up" immediately after consumption.
  • If you feel you must have a sweetener, here are a few guidelines to follow:
  • Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid agave and high fructose corn syrup
  • Limit sugar of all types as much as possible. You can buy pure glucose (dextrose) as a sweetener for about $1 per pound, which has none of the adverse effects of fructose if used moderately. It is only 70 percent as sweet as sucrose, so you'll end up using a bit more of it for the same amount of sweetness, making it slightly more expensive than sucrose -- but still well worth it for your health.
  • Use raw, organic honey in moderation or avoid it completely as it is 70 percent fructose which is higher than HFCS. However the fructose is not in its free from so that moderates the damage. But each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose so you will want to carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) and keep them under 15 grams per day.
  • Use regular stevia in moderation, but avoid stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia because they have undergone more processing.
  • Lo Han is another excellent natural herbal sweetener.
  • Exercise can be a very powerful tool to help control fructose in a number of ways. If you are going to consume fructose it is BEST to do so immediately before, during or after INTENSE exercise as your body will tend to use it directly as fuel and not convert it to fat Additionally exercise will increase your insulin receptor sensitivity and help modulate the negative effects of fructose. Lastly exercise will also help to blunt your appetite and control your sweet tooth.


Cori said...

Dextrose is from corn and is highly processed as well. You forgot my favorite sweetener - pure maple syrup!

Coach Ransy said...

It’s your liver’s job to distinguish between the nutrients you need to absorb and the dangerous or unnecessary substances that must be filtered out of your bloodstream. But when the liver is clogged and overwhelmed with toxins, like artificial sweeteners, it can’t do a very effective job of processing nutrients and fats. If it can not process the nutrients and fats that your body needs, this will cause you to gain weight or will prevent you from losing weight.

Thais of Spinach and Honey said...

Cori - Yes it is interesting that the author didn't mention maple syrup or Rapadura sugar. I think that he likes dextrose because it is low in fructose. I thought that he was just going by number but then he does bring up the point about processed sugars so I don't know. Just looked at your blog and I was inspired. You must be busy, busy!

Thais of Spinach and Honey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thais of Spinach and Honey said...

Coach Ransy - I think that Michael Pollan mentioned something about us maybe evolving as a species so that our liver can handle the increase in fructose. That would be convenient, but a long process, I am sure. I liked the part in the article where Dr. Mercola talks about the fasting insulin test and how our liver treats are bad eating habits like alcoholism with similar side effects. It is interesting to me as I feed my children that they are really getting enough fructose from just eating fruit. All the other extra sweets are putting stress on their livers. I weigh that risk now whenever I give them a cookie or ice cream etc. It sounds like the best thing to do is space it all out...not too much at one time and not get in the habit of always having dessert.

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