Wednesday, August 11, 2010

High Fructose Wednesday

You know it's funny, I had a completely different topic in mind for today and I had the post all ready to go and was just about to hit the "PUBLISH" button when something made me stop.  All last night and today I have had sweet things on my mind.  Of course this could have something to do with the GF Dutch Oven Brownies I made yesterday! 

Sugar, glucose, Nutra-sweet, corn syrup and other sweeteners are in our pop or soda and packaged foods to make them more desirious to our palate.  The US food market trends heavily toward the high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners in our diet.  You cannot (with rare exception) pick up your favorite packaged food, drink or other store bought mix and read the label without seeing a variety of sweeteners in the contents.  Many will list high fructose corn syrup, glucose, sugar, aspartame, nutra-sweet or often several of these in the same product!

Many of my fellow bloggers, Amy of Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free in particular, have chosen to omit sugar from their diets.  As the name of her blog implies, she also removes all gluten from her life and as a result, lives happier and healthier than she ever has before.  If your aren't familiar with her, she has a GREAT site that you should check out!!  At the end of this post, I will give you a discovery of my own as it relates to sweeteners......

Read this Reuters article on cancer cells and fructose.

Cancer cells slurp up fructose, US study finds
Mon Aug 2, 2010 5:20pm EDT

* Study shows fructose used differently from glucose

* Findings challenge common wisdom about sugars

WASHINGTON Aug 2 (Reuters) - Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same.

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

"They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

Politicians, regulators, health experts and the industry have debated whether high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients have been helping make Americans fatter and less healthy.

Too much sugar of any kind not only adds pounds, but is also a key culprit in diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

Several states, including New York and California, have weighed a tax on sweetened soft drinks to defray the cost of treating obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The American Beverage Association, whose members include Coca-Cola (KO.N) and Kraft Foods (KFT.N) have strongly, and successfully, opposed efforts to tax soda. [ID:nN12233126]

The industry has also argued that sugar is sugar.

Heaney said his team found otherwise. They grew pancreatic cancer cells in lab dishes and fed them both glucose and fructose.

Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they used the fructose to proliferate. "Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different," Heaney's team wrote.

"I think this paper has a lot of public health implications. Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diets," Heaney said in a statement.

Now the team hopes to develop a drug that might stop tumor cells from making use of fructose.

U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
I personally think this is a subject that we need to take very seriously.  As promised, here is my personal experience with sweeteners in my diet, or perhaps I should say the "lack" of them in my diet.  For as long as I can remember I have been a pop drinker.  Mostly Mountain Dew when I was young with lots of Dr. Pepper and the occasional Coke thrown in as well.  As I got older, I went almost strictly with Dr. Pepper and it wasn't until about 3 years ago I switched to the diet version of the same drink.  I was weight lifting religiously and wanted to cut down on my calorie intake.  As it turns out, I had slowly worked up to about a 2 liter bottle a day! 
Now I'm not a fat guy and I'm not a skinny guy (size 36 jeans).  To give you an idea, I'm 6' tall and anything smaller than a size 48 coat will fit me like a straight jacket across the shoulders.  I'm currently on a mission to lose 25 pounds and I asked myself, "What is your biggest vice?"  In my case it would be soda or pop, so I decided to quit, "cold turkey" as they say and let me just say this......  What a pain in the behind that was!!  For the first several hours there were intense cravings, then as the first day passed, intense headaches, mood swings and then more headaches.  Did I mention headaches??  My kids did their best to avoid me for a couple of days!
Then something strange happened.......My pop cravings went away along with the headaches, moodiness and other symptoms.  As time went on I discovered I was more alert, with a clearer mind, better memory of recent events, my concentration went through the roof and I just felt better all over.  I also quit craving all things sweet and only eat them with a special occasion where I couldn't get enough before.  My question to myself is....and I still haven't found the answer to this..... were my symptoms a result of caffeine overload, or did it have something to do with all of the sugars in my body?  There are many lines of thinking concerning artificial sweeteners and Aspartame in particular and I don't profess to have studied the long term effects so I won't offer an opinion here.  What I do know is my own story regarding sweeteners, which you just read and I am very happy with the end results. 

What are your experiences??


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free said...

Hi Jason,

I saw the research study last week and totally agree that too much sugar of any kind isn't a good thing. For me, moderation has been key. The truth is I'm much happier when the majority of my diet comes from natural, whole foods like fruits, veggies, lower fat dairy, and lean meats.

I recently gave up caffeine and it's been a wild ride but I had the same experience as you - a couple of days of bad headaches and intense cravings then all of a sudden they stopped. I feel great.

Thanks so much for the mention. :)


J L Health 918-836-0565 said...

It was my pleasure Amy.