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Fructose is Slowly Killing us with Sweetness

Real-life health advice from a veteran nurse and health care staffing professional

When we last visited the topic, our survey of artificial sweeteners was surprisingly positive to some people.

Sorry, but scientific evidence on this tends to be a clear line in the sand. And though piling scoops of fake sweeteners into your body won’t do you much good, the products seem to pass a reasonable standard.

Plus, what you use as food additives is mostly your choice.

But it begs the underlying question. If artificial sweeteners are generally safe and useful, what about all the forms of natural sugar? We went to fake sweets mostly to thwart sugar from making us progressively more obese.

That has not worked, especially because the entire industry of processed foods in America has shifted to high fructose corn syrup. That was a conscious marketing choice.

But it’s a natural born killer.

There is plenty of evidence it’s killing us one ounce at a time.

We need calories generated by glucose to make our bodies run, but we are drenched in other types of sugar. Look at your waist if you don’t pay much attention to fructose sugar intake.

In 1700, average Americans consumed four pounds of sugar a year. In 1900, that rose to 90 pounds. Now more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar every day because sugar has been added to virtually every food you eat.

Nobody escapes. One bottle of commercial infant formula contains as much sugar as a can of Coke. Wonder why 32 percent of us are obese? Our bodies are trained to be fat.

Sugar adds pounds; pounds add risk. Diabetes and heart issues are an epidemic.

But not all sugars are the same and your body does not use them the same way. It’s a simple fact that fructose metabolism does real damage to your body because the liver must do all the work.

Here’s how.

Fructose elevates uric acid, which decreases nitric oxide, raises angiotensin, and causes your smooth muscle cells to contract.  That raises blood pressure and ipotentially damages your kidneys. 
Increased uric acid also leads to chronic, low-level inflammation. For example, chronically inflamed blood vessels lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism — it turns off your natural appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn't stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.

Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., that’s called “classic metabolic syndrome.” Fructose metabolism is very similar to ethanol metabolism. It's alcohol without the buzz. Your liver doesn’t know the difference.

Could it be worse? Sure. All fiber has been yanked out of processed foods; so there is essentially no nutrition at all. Low-fat diet foods are often the ones highest in fructose. Some yogurts that advertise themselves as “zero fat” may have enough fructose to choke a horse.

What’s an answer? Reading labels ultimately may be the only way all of us can save the health of our families.

Who am I, and why would a person listen to me? Both fair questions. I’m Christine Hammerlund and I’ve been a nurse for years. I have delivered babies, saved lives, and cared for hundreds of patients through their medical triumphs and tragedies. Now I run Assured Healthcare at http://www.assuredhealthcare.com. We're a multi-million dollar medical staff provider in Illinois. I live in Antioch, Ill. Got health questions for me, whether large or small? I’ll answer. Visit us at http://www.facebook.com/AssuredHealthcareStaffing  and Chrishammerlund@yahoo.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Megg Abel October 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
So, is just plain sugar or honey better for us? I try to avoid purchasing products with High Fructose Corn Syrup but it is in just about everything, ketchup, BBQ sauce, cereals, you name it. I end up having to pay more to get Organics with plain sugar. What about using fake sugars like sucralose? I have tried to get more information from the internet a few months ago and got led to a dead end.....
MA ... You have that correct! HFCS is in everything as it is a very cheap sweetener. My 'better half' contracted breast cancer, in total remission for the last 15 years, and her oncologist warned us to avoid all products with HFCS in it. You'd think the brands that are 'sold' as 'healthy choices' would have worked for us ... nope ... all have HFCS. We found the Aldi's brands of juices have just juice/water and so we buy them. Not too long ago the 'producers' lobbied the FDA to let them 'rename' Corn Syrup to Corn Sugar ... luckily the FDA told them NO.
RL October 03, 2012 at 05:21 PM
One word for the author: Excitotoxins. Look it up.
Vortex October 04, 2012 at 01:41 AM
HFCS is cheap because of federal subsidies. Hopefully the ridiculous schemes to rack up debt on even richer subsidies for corn used in ethanol production will change this, but talk about the lesser of two evils...

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