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The Horror of Crystalline Fructose

As I sit down to write this column, Halloween is right around the corner. Strolling through my neighborhood, I’ve noticed a wide variety of goblins, ghouls, and tombstones decorating the lawns. In a Halloween frame of mind, I’d like to suggest a plot for a future horror movie.

Imagine a place where the population receives about a quarter of their calories from a poison that is disguised as food. The overlords of this society have not only labeled this toxic substance “generally safe,” but have created policies that encourage its production. As the people consume ever-increasing quantities of this government-approved poison, they rapidly become obese. A number of concerned scientists begin collecting evidence that this pseudo food depletes vitamins and minerals, elevates blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL, damages the liver, causes heart disease, and causes some citizens to develop crippling gout.

Powerful forces gather together to make sure these scientific warning signs are ignored. Campaigns are launched to promote the substance as natural and even beneficial.

Our hero, a sometimes grumpy survival gardener and occasional scribbler on diverse topics, sits by a window watching storm clouds gather and ponders the notion that evil beings from another world have launched a nefarious plan to destroy the human race. He fires up his trusty laptop and types the following words:

“As I sit down to write this column, Halloween is right around the corner.”

Unfortunately, our horror story is not taking place in a fictional place or a fictional time. It is happening right now in the United States, and the evil substance is named fructose.

Earlier this fall I wrote a two-part series on the dangers and deception involved in marketing high-fructose corn syrup. If, in the spirit of the season, you’re in the mood to read two scary stories, you’ll find these pieces lurking as my September 21 and October 12 entries. I received some blow back from those columns, particularly about the parts where I mention fructose metabolism. Well-meaning individuals quite rightly beat me over the head with the fact that fructose is naturally present in fruits and vegetables that provide numerous nutritional benefits.

Yes, my friends, it is true that healthy fruits and vegetables contain fructose.

It is also true that if you only received your daily dose of fructose from fruits and vegetables (as your great grandparents did) you’d be ingesting about 15 to 20 grams of fructose a day. Today, the average person consumes about 70 grams of fructose a day, and it looks like that number is about to climb even higher.

Why?

Despite the well-funded marketing efforts of the Corn Refiners Association to convince us that high-fructose corn syrup is merely “corn sugar,” many folks have seen through this lie and have started to avoid this noxious creation. You might then wonder why I think fructose consumption is about to rise.

Well, it seems that our corn refining fiends aren’t about to let this abundant source of revenue slip through their fingers. In recent years, they’ve been promoting a “wonderful” sweetening alternative called crystalline fructose. The percentage of fructose in high fructose corn syrup generally ranges from 42 to 55 percent. Crystalline fructose, on the other hand, is about 98 percent fructose. Promoted as healthy alternative to high fructose corn syrup, this crystalline poison is increasingly being used in soft drinks, baked goods, salad dressings, and many other products. You’ll even find crystalline fructose in many popular yogurts and vitamin waters.

To better understand the hazards of this increased percentage of fructose, let’s take a moment to understand how your body processes this sugar. As I’ve stated before, all sugars are not the same and, despite what you’ll hear on those corn syrup ads, your body can tell the difference.

Scientists tell us that fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate. That’s a pretty fancy sounding term, but all it basically means is that fructose converts to activated glycerol, which is used to turn free fatty acids into triglycerides. To put it even plainer, the more glycerol you have, the more fat you store. Glucose does not convert to glycerol, but fructose does; your body can tell the difference.

Glucose suppresses a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin sends a signal that tells your brain you need food. Glucose also stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no impact on ghrelin and interferes with how leptin functions. The “need food” signal stays on, and the “I’m full now” signal is muted. You don’t have to be a scientist to see the results of that kind of biological math!

Since every cell of your body uses glucose, your liver has to break down only about 20 percent of the glucose you consume. In contrast, your liver has to handle 100 percent of the fructose you eat. This metabolism of fructose in the liver results in a wide variety of waste products including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

To make matters more entertaining, the fatty acids produced during this metabolism accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and your skeletal muscle tissues. As fructose consumption becomes higher, the increased number of these fat droplets leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. Over time, increased insulin resistance leads to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

Are we having fun yet?

It is difficult to predict how much added fructose many people are going to be pouring into their systems with the increased use of crystalline fructose, but any increase over the massive amounts presently consumed is going to have a negative impact on the health of the western diet. You can avoid these hazards by making sure that you avoid processed foods. Eating the good food you grow in the survival garden you’ve grown without pesticides and with the use of natural, balanced fertilizers like Protogrow and supplementing your food supply with organic whole foods is your best defense against the poisons that are not only allowed into our supermarkets, but actually promoted by some government agencies.

Personally, I don’t hold out much hope that this horror story is going to have a happy ending. Protect your health and the health of your family by educating yourself through other articles here on Off the Grid news and other trusted locations. Don’t rely on any government to protect your food source; it just isn’t going to happen.

Before I sign off, I just want to take a moment to address the issue of fructose in fruits and vegetables. The fructose horrors that I’ve mentioned are the result of overconsumption. The 15 to 20 grams of fructose in a sensible diet of organic fruits and vegetables are well balanced by the vitamins, minerals, essential phytonutrients, fiber, enzymes, and other good stuff your body receives when you eat these healthy foods. On the other side, you can down a can of sweetened soda, which often contains about 17 grams of fructose, and receive none of these benefits.

In the end, it all comes down to common sense and balance. Eat right, stay healthy, and drop by again soon.

©2011 Off the Grid News

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