Interview with Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND.
Do you believe that high fructose corn syrup, a prevalent ingredient in so many packaged foods, is a factor in the obesity of children? Adults?
My best source of information on the epidemic of obesity created by high fructose corn syrup is presented by Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology. In an hour long video, he explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.
Lustig and his fellow researchers have concluded that it’s the fructose component in sucrose (processed table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup that’s causing the epidemic of Metabolic Syndrome with it’s components of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and triglyerides, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, inflammation, and non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease.
Is the way the body metabolizes high fructose corn syrup a factor in weight gain, obesity and diabetes?
Biochemically, we know that it takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize one molecule of sucrose (table sugar). However, it take twice that amount, 56 molecules of magnesium to metabolize one molecule of fructose.
The deficiency in magnesium caused by having to metabolize high fructose corn syrup diminishes magnesium’s capacity to produce insulin and allow insulin to properly enter cells. Magnesium loss also has an impact on diabetes. One of the medical signs of diabetes is low blood levels of magnesium. Here is a quote from my book: The Magnesium Miracle 2014. “Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.”
Nutritionally speaking, is high fructose corn syrup equal to regular sugar?
It’s a very different molecule and requires more magnesium and more energy to metabolize. It leads to high triglycerides and fatty liver. As it turns out we were only meant to eat fructose in the form of fruit with all its fiber intact. Fructose isn’t processed like glucose, which is necessary for cellular nutrition. It’s processed in the liver as a toxin and transformed into fat. Alcohol is processed the same way, in the liver, as a toxin. Chronic fructose consumption and chronic alcohol consumption have most of the same side effects.
What can parents do to avoid high fructose corn syrup in their kid’s diet? Are there certain super offenders to steer clear of?
Look at labels and avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague. Encourage children to drink water and if they must have flavoring, use organic stevia. Most people do realize that sugar can cause hyperactivity, but what they don’t realize is that sugar lurks where you least expect to find it and affects the human body in myriad ways. The sugar industry vehemently denies that sugar is hazardous to human health. Are the parallel increases in sugar consumption, obesity, and diabetes just a coincidence?
Here are 100 names that sugar can hide behind and should be avoided.
It sometimes requires a little detective work to find the hidden sugars in foods. You probably know the “ose”s (maltose, sucrose, glucose, fructose), but there are dozes more that you’d never suspect. The following is a list of 100 common names for sugar that you may encounter in ingredients of your favorite foods.
Barley malt syrup
Brown rice syrup
Concentrated fruit juice
Evaporated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Ribose rice syrup
Rice syrup solids
Here are two additional media stories that reference Dr. Lustig’s work. The NY Times – “Is Sugar Toxic”, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all and a segment on 60 Minutes, also called, “Is Sugar Toxic?” http://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-sugar-toxic-01-04-2012/