Fructose from added sugars linked to high blood pressure

The consumption of fructose has increased significantly since the 1970s, when high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was introduced into the United States food supply. The use of HFCS now exceeds that of sucrose (table sugar) in sweetened foods in the U.S.

Soda

Absorption of fructose and glucose:

Sucrose is composed of one fructose molecule and one glucose molecule.   There are differences between fructose and glucose metabolism. Fructose is absorbed in the small intestine, transported to the liver through the portal vein, and then metabolized via the same process that breaks down glucose to make energy – however, fructose is only broken down in the liver, whereas glucose can be used by any cell in the body.  Ingesting glucose raises blood glucose levels, and ingesting fructose does not raise glucose as quickly or as much, but raises triglyceride levels much more.1

Fructose was once regarded as a “safe” sweetener for diabetics, because of its small effect on blood glucose levels.   However, fructose is a reducing sugar, which means that it contributes to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which contribute to diabetes and its complications, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.2 Since fructose consumption also elevates triglycerides and diabetics are already at risk for cardiovascular disease, increasing triglycerides adds to this risk. Added fructose consumption has also been associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and elevated cholesterol and retinopathy in diabetics.1

 

Fructose in natural foods vs. fructose in HFCS:

Fructose makes up half of the sucrose molecule, and HFCS contains similar proportions of fructose and glucose as sucrose does (HFCS is 55% fructose).   Fructose may be found alone (free) or complexed with glucose as sucrose. In most fruits, much of the fructose is bound to glucose. Fructose entry into blood is slowed when it is in sucrose form, because sucrose must be first split by enzymes in intestinal cells. Fructose molecules in HFCS, however, are free, and therefore absorbed more rapidly. It is thought that the enzymes in the liver responsible for breaking down fructose are overwhelmed by the large loads of fructose delivered by HFCS-sweetened beverages, allowing for large quantities of fructose to be released into the blood.1

 

Fructose and elevated blood pressure:

The current study examined data from 4528 adults, whose median fructose intake from added sugars was 74 grams per day. As a reference point, 74 grams of fructose is roughly the amount present in 2 ½ twenty-ounce soft drinks or 13 bananas.1,3 The researchers determined that fructose intake at or above the median 74 grams per day increased the risk of elevated blood pressure. 

Subjects who consumed 74 grams or more of fructose each day in added sugar increased their risk of blood pressure elevated above 135/85 by 26%, above 140/90 by 30%, and above 160/100 by 77%.4

Essentially, the average fructose intake in the U.S. is a quantity that increases chronic disease risk – and not just risk of diabetes. Elevated blood pressure contributes to risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.

There are no “safe” sweeteners - whole fruits and root vegetables are the only sweet-tasting foods that are health-promoting.   Added sugar in any form is calorie-dense and deficient in nutrients, and therefore detrimental to health.

 

References:

1. Teff KL, Grudziak J, Townsend RR, et al. Endocrine and metabolic effects of consuming fructose- and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals in obese men and women: influence of insulin resistance on plasma triglyceride responses. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 May;94(5):1562-9.

2. Glenn JV, Stitt AW. The role of advanced glycation end products in retinal ageing and disease. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Oct;1790(10):1109-16.

Loy CT, Twigg SM. Growth factors, AGEing, and the diabetes link in Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Apr;16(4):823-31.

Peppa M, Uribarri J, Vlassara H. Aging and glycoxidant stress. Hormones (Athens). 2008 Apr-Jun;7(2):123-32.

Peppa M, Stavroulakis P, Raptis SA. Advanced glycoxidation products and impaired diabetic wound healing. Wound Repair Regen. 2009 Jul-Aug;17(4):461-72.

Yamagishi S. Advanced glycation end products and receptor-oxidative stress system in diabetic vascular complications. Ther Apher Dial. 2009 Dec;13(6):534-9.

Barlovic DP, Thomas MC, Jandeleit-Dahm K. Cardiovascular disease: what's all the AGE/RAGE about? Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets. 2010 Mar;10(1):7-15.

3. Nutrition Data. http://nutritiondata.self.com/

4. Jalal DI, Smits G, Johnson RJ, Chonchol M. Increased Fructose Associates with Elevated Blood Pressure. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Jul 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Stephen Colbert vs. Food Inc.

Outspoken “conservative” Stephen Colbert openly endorses agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and processed food. So, see what happens when he takes on Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, on his new film Food Inc., which exposes the American food industry:

 

 

Colbert argues with “liberals” all the time. Last month, he sparred with New York Times journalist and author of In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan. The two traded blows over organic foods, breast feeding and Colbert’s love affair with high-fructose corn syrup and soft drinks.

Image credit: The Colbert Report

Food Face Off: Pollan vs. Colbert

Last week, Michael Pollan, New York Times journalist and natural food advocate, stopped by The Colbert Report to discuss his book In Defense of Food and went one on one with high-fructose corn syrup addict Stephen Colbert. It got ugly:

 

 

Michael Pollan is a really cool guy. I haven’t read his book yet, but it’s on my list, along with Marley and Me. Now, if you don’t know who Michael Pollan is, check out this awesome interview with him from Democracy Now.

Image credit: The Colbert Report

Less Sugary Drinks Mean More Weight-Loss

Not exactly a revelation, but new research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found reducing calories from sugary beverages, even as little as one serving per day can result in over two pounds of weight-loss over 18 months. Experts examined the diets of 810 adults, ages 25 to 79, for 18 months, finding that sugar-sweetened drinks accounted for 37% of calories consumed, leading researchers to claim cutting sugary drinks is more important for losing weight than eating less; via HealthDay News.

Soda’s not your friend, despite how cute the Coca-Cola polar bears are. All the high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks raises type-2 diabetes risk and soda is pretty creepy, it has the same pH as vinegar and leaches calcium from your bones and let’s not forget. Cola will rot your feet with the gout. Eek!

Last week, scientists determined women drinking sweetened beverages have a 35% higher risk of heart disease and other studies have linked soda with kidney disease and metabolic syndrome.

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Sugary Drinks Heighten Coronary Danger in Women

New research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found women drinking sweetened beverages may have a 35% higher risk of heart disease. For the study, experts evaluated data from nearly 89,000 women without heart problems, stroke or diabetes in 1980, using questionnaires to track dietary habits. After 24 years, researchers documented over 3,000 incidences of fatal and non-fatal coronary artery disease; via Food Navigator.

Warning labels have even been suggested for soda, due to probable weight-gain associated with over-consumption. Also, soda has been linked with the gout, a buildup of uric acid, causing arthritis or worse. However, a report this November revealed taking soft drinks out of schools, while good intentioned, doesn’t stop kids from getting their soda fix.

In the past, sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup have raised concern over mercury contamination and sugary drinks’ link to weight-gain and obesity is causing politicians to consider taxes on non-diet soft drinks, such as New York governor David Paterson.

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Soda May Cause Kidney Damage

A new study in Environmental Health claims women drinking two or more regular sodas a day may have a higher risk of kidney damage. Consuming lots of soda, i.e. high-fructose corn syrup, increases risk of albuminuria, a marker of early kidney disease. Of the participants, 9,358 women ages 20 and up, those who drank at least two sodas a day had a 40% higher risk of albuminuria. Men have a similar risk; via Med Page Today.

Actually, a previous report listed soft drinks, along with red meat and salt, as cancer-causing foods. Maybe that’s why New York wants to slap a tax on sugary drinks, like soda, and why the FDA slammed Coca-Cola for making bogus health claims about Coke Plus.

This is funny too. Coke says soda is great for hydrating your body after a workout. Yeah, and the sugar high will bounce you off the walls too—stupid!

Image credit: Brent and MariLynn

Corn Syrup and Sugar, It's All Too Sweet...

A 12-ounce soda can have as much as nine teaspoons of sugar. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an artificial sweetener made from corn, usually gets the blame, but one expert contends even if the food industry replaced all the HFCS with traditional sugar, we’d still have exactly the same health problems we have now, referring to our epidemic of obesity, heart disease and diabetes; The New York Times investigates.

And a few months ago there was a big push to prove high-fructose corn syrup is equal to sugar, which might be true, but still isn’t a reason to let HFCS off the hook. High-fructose corn syrup drives childhood obesity and leads to soda addiction in adolescents.

Then last week, a new study discovered mercury in high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid and sodium benzoate, all ingredients of soda. So yeah, don’t drink soda!

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High Fructose Corn Syrup Oozing Mercury...

A new study in Environmental Health discovered mercury in citric acid, sodium benzoate and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). An analysis of HFCS from three different manufacturers revealed mercury levels ranging from under the detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms of mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. The researchers claim average daily consumption of HFCS in America is 50 grams per person, spelling possible danger for children and sensitive populations; Reuters investigates.

But back in October, the lunatics at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that high fructose corn syrup is natural, prompting an ad campaign by corn refiners insisting that HFCS is the same as sugar. Yeah, because that’s something to brag about!

Sorry sugar pushers. Previous reports have linked high fructose corn syrup with diabetes and obesity and soft drinks with cardiovascular disease.

Image credit: justonlysteve

Health-Points: Thursday 1.29.09

  • More and more food is turning up counterfeit. It’s dubious, wild fish is turning out to be farm-raised fish, soybean oil if being mixed with high-grade extra virgin olive oil, honey is cut with high fructose corn syrup and sugar-water is diluting maple syrup; USA Today investigates.

Image credit: Ksionic