Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sugar Sugar awwwww Honey, Agave, HFCS

My aunt told me when I travel home I need to be able to debate about agave syrup, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup [HFCS] See my parents try not to eat HFCS, which my aunt says makes grocery shopping tedious, since they check EVERY label. I guess this started the debate is it all the same to our body? when did the HFCS scare start? agave where did that come from? To prepare for this conversation with my aunt and my parents I thought it would be a great Saturday School topic.

WOW!! Just finished reading some books about this stuff, and I can tell you all about government conspiracies now. I tried to weed out facts from fluff, but if you want to really scare yourself and start eating your veggies read these books! For me, I’ve done so many diets and cut out so much food I’ve generally picked up the idea of everything in moderation and to try and go simple. Two of the books I got were extremist; I’m a little shell shocked from them. In total, I picked up 3 books from the library. They’re cited at the end. Also High Fructose Corn Syrup is abbreviated HFCS. I guess we’ll start with the basics?

  • Basics
    • Monosaccharides
      • dextrose aka glucose
        • In fruits, veggies, and animals
        • Digestion of all carbs is basically breaking them down into dextrose
        • Simplest form no digestion, straight to blood
        • Creates a high peak in blood sugar
      • fructose is from plants
      • galactose is from milk
    • Disaccharides [combination of 2 monosaccharides]
      • Sucrose: white sugar [dextrose +fructose]
      • Maltose: in malt extract [2x dextrose]
      • Lactose: in milk, [dextrose+galactose]
    • Other
      • We crave sugar since it quickly relieves hunger
      • Also sweet foods are usually not dangerous
      • 1 oz = 112 cal
  • Sugars
    • Contains no harmful substances, just energy, no vitamins, etc
    • Brown sugar has trace proteins and minerals
    • Molasses is what sinks to bottom during production and is least refined
  • Honey
    • 1/3 fructose, 1/3 glucose, 1/3 maltose
    • Raw is natural, but other kinds could contain HFCS
  • Saccharin (artificial)
    • 300-500 times sweeter than white sugar
    • Bitter aftertaste
    • Made from coal tar
    • Paved the way for “sugar-free” products
  • Agave Syrup
    • From a Mexican plant also used to make tequila
    • Sweeter than HFCS
    • Juice from agave plant is converted to Hydrolyzed High Fructose Insulin Syrup but they use the name Agave Syrup instead
    • non-GRAS: not generally recognized as safe
    • Currently there’s a bit of a shortage of plants, hardly enough to make liquors…so where is it coming from?
  • HFCS
    • Made by milling corn into corn starch,processing into corn syrup, then adding enzymes to turn the glucose into fructose
    • easier to dissolve than sugar
    • 20x sweeter than sugar
    • about 20 cents cheaper per pound than sugar
    • Breaks down slower so it doesn’t cause as large of a blood sugar spike as sugar.
    • But that means the body doesn’t create as much insulin, which is used to turn glucose into energy and signal fullness
    • Fructose raises uric acid which lowers nitric oxide which can lead to metabolic syndrome

"Certain foods, in particular, fructose may actually speed the process for a person to become obese" [comparing same number of calories] (1)

"Fructose derived from corn does metabolize differently in the body and immediately triggers the buildup of triglycerides" (1)

"High consumption of processed fructose such as HFCS can cause problems, since the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose in disadvantageous ways" (2)

  1. Bennett, Connie, and Stephen T. Sinatra. Sugar Shock!: How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life, and How You Can Get Back on Track. New York: Berkley, 2007. Print.
  2. Mercola, Joseph, and Kendra Degen. Pearsall. Sweet Deception: Why Splenda®, Nutrasweet®, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health. Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2006. Print.
  3. Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
EDIT [7.18.10] I am in no way, shape, or form a medical professional. I was interested in the different kinds of sweeteners and decided to do some research. The books with the most information were also the anti sugar books. I tried to pull out the most factual information to help you. I found this information for myself and thought I'd share it; to inform, not to preach, or lecture. If this subject interest you take my words as a stepping stone to your own research. Also "everything in moderation" is my personal motto, so I'm not trying to get you to completely banish anything from your diet.

1 comment:

  1. I gave you an award