With a little bit of imagination, the whole idea of corn sugar seems like a pretty tasty treat. Imagine tender kernels of freshly picked golden corn gently squeezed to release the sweet essence hidden within. Imagine simmering this naturally delightful juice on low heat until you’ve created a nutritious syrup to enhance the texture and flavor of a wide variety of products at a reasonable cost. Imagine rainbow colored unicorns prancing around your survival garden without damaging any of your delicate plants.
If the marketing team for the Corn Refiners Association ever needs to pick up a few extra bucks, I suspect they could make a decent living writing about them unicorns. They sure have a knack for spinning a good fairy tale.
In recent years, these marketing mavens have been churning out a series of ads that try to convince you that high-fructose corn syrup is just like any other sugar. It is a natural substance like honey and, like any other sugar, it is okay to consume in moderation. To listen to them tell the tale, “sugar is sugar, and your body can’t tell the difference.”
Your body certainly can tell the difference between table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The fact that obesity rates have skyrocketed in America in the forty years since high-fructose corn syrup began invading processed food products is no coincidence.
A recent study at Princeton University showed that rats given access to the notorious and ubiquitous corn sweetener gained a heck of a lot more weight than those given access to table sugar even when their caloric intake was the same. To make matters worse, long-term consumption of this high-fructose stuff led to massive increases in body fat, particularly in the abdomen, and significant rise in triglycerides.
Princeton psychology professor Ben Hoebel, who has spent his career studying the neuroscience of appetite, weight, and sugar addiction, summed up the study pretty clearly when he stated, “Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the condition of our tests. When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”
Now, imagine what happens when you combine this obesity-producing substance with the fat-laden fast-food diet many people consume. Actually, you can give your imagination a break on this one; all you have to do is take a walk in any town, city, or shopping mall to see the results. Humans are getting wider every year.
In arguing that high-fructose corn syrup should be called corn sugar, the Corn Refiners Association sweetly informs us that it “is composed of the same two simple sugars (fructose and glucose) as table sugar, honey, and maple syrup.”
So, what’s the problem? Why does “corn sugar” lead to obesity and other health issues?
Well, as I understand it, part of it is a math problem. It is certainly true that sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup both contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but while sucrose contains an even fifty-fifty balance of these sugars, most commercially used high-fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. The other three percent is made up of higher saccharides.
While every fructose molecule in cane sugar or honey is bound to a glucose molecule, high-fructose corn syrup is manufactured in such a way that the fructose molecules are unbound. What does that mean to you and me? Quite a lot, if we’re trying to stay healthy.
Studies have shown that consuming excessive amounts of fructose, even from natural sources like fruits, can lead to various forms of nastiness. Elevated blood pressure, liver disease, insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, higher LDL levels, and arthritis are just some of the negative effects. Consuming too much fructose also results in a depletion of vitamins and minerals.
Every cell in your body utilizes glucose, so it is burned up pretty quickly. Fructose, on the other hand, is turned into free fatty acids and triglycerides which get stored as fat. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. When you eat 120 calories of fructose, a whopping 40 calories are stored as fat.
It now becomes pretty easy to understand why Professor Hoebel’s rats at Princeton packed on so many pounds and became so flabby. It also becomes pretty easy to see that all sugars are not the same, and that the massive amounts of high-fructose corn syrup in the average American diet is a nutritional disaster.
Now, before you start thinking that I’m advocating the use of cane sugar, let me make it clear that sucrose is not exactly a health food. It is an addictive substance that enhances your chances of developing all forms of diabetes.
As I’ve said time and time again, the best solution to the dietary problems plaguing our nation is to grow as much of your own food as you can, to use naturally balanced organic fertilizers like Protogrow, and, if you’re craving something you can’t raise yourself, to purchase organic, whole foods. You should avoid all processed foods. If you do that, you’ll be avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and all those other artificial sweeteners that can do you harm.
So, in closing, don’t fall into the corn sugar trap, and don’t let your friends, family, or neighbors get fooled by those deceptive commercials. Come back by and visit me again in two weeks when I explain exactly how high-fructose corn syrup is made. I’ll give you just a hint now: no “tender kernels of freshly picked golden corn” are harmed in the making of this sweetener.
Until then, I’d like to wish you and yours pleasant and productive times in your survival garden.