Five more sugar companies have joined a lawsuit seeking to prevent the corn industry from marketing high-fructose corn syrup as natural sugar. Sugar farmers and refiners rightfully claim the corn industry’s ad campaign constitutes false advertising and seeks compensation.
Last month, E.J. Schultz with Advertising Age featured an article on the ongoing HFCS vs. sugar debate.
While feigning objectivity, Schultz pretends to rely on neutral sources such as government studies and the American Dietetic Association to take a closer look at the key issues to determine who is right.
A sea of red flags should frantically wave anytime someone claims government funded studies or Washington based organizations like the American Dietetic Association (ADA), are neutral sources.
ADA is partly funded by food giants like General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Pepsico, and the CocaCola Company — all of which use high fructose corn syrup in their food products.
And the USGOVT is certainly not a neutral source. Just look at who occupies key government food positions.
Tom Vilsack, who recently authorized the use of Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa, previously handled litigation for Monsanto Roundup before becoming Secretary of Agriculture.
Michael Taylor, our current Food Safety Czar is the former Monsanto executive who crafted the FDA’s GMO friendly policy while serving as the FDA’s Deputy commissioner for policy. Taylor wrote the FDA’s guidelines on recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), banning dairies from labeling their milk “rBGH Free“.
High-fructose corn syrup is used as a sweetener in virtually everything on grocery store shelves, including soft drinks, cereal, bread, ketchup, Gatorade, pancake syrups, unnatural fruit juices, fruit-flavored and frozen yogurts, and barbecue sauces.
High fructose corn syrup is the most common sweetener used today in processed food because it is cheaper, easier to transport, and it keeps food moist.
But Americans’ consumption of corn syrup fell to a 20-year low last year as concerns grow about its health and environmental impact.
To mitigate the public relations damage, the Corn Refiners Association sought permission from the federal government last year to use the name “corn sugar” on food labels instead of high-fructose corn syrup.
While the FDA ruling is pending, the corn industry continues to use the fraudulent term “corn sugar” in advertising anyway, while making the false claim that our bodies can’t tell the difference between corn sugar or sugar cane.
HFCS is Highly Processed and GM Modified
Schultz attempts to equate the simple farming procedure of obtaining sugar from cane with the highly processed maneuver of making high fructose corn syrup (HFCS):
“But pure sugar takes some intervention as well, like shredding and squeezing cane stalks to extract a juice that is boiled and sent through a centrifuge,” writes Schultz.
The process of making high fructose corn syrup is radically different from making cane sugar. To begin with, there is no fructose in corn syrup. Fructose is artificially added. Corn syrup contains glucose, considerably less sweet than fructose.
High fructose corn syrup consists of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose resulting in 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
High-fructose corn syrup was invented by two researchers named Marshall and Kooi, in 1957. They “developed an enzyme called glucose isomerase in their laboratory that rearranged the molecular structure of the glucose in corn syrup, and converted it into fructose. The more glucose in the corn syrup that the enzyme converted to fructose, the sweeter the syrup became”.
High fructose corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn that’s treated with a variety of GM enzymes to rearrange the molecular structure of the glucose for conversion to fructose. Additionally, according to an IATP study, over 30% of products containing HFCS have tested positive for mercury.
Also, it’s important to understand that the powerful U.S. corn lobby has convinced the USGOVT to set import quotas and tariffs on sugar cane, which is why it’s cheaper to make HFCS than to buy cane or beet sugar.
HFCS Differs Uniquely From Sugar
Schultz relies on The American Dietetic Association who cites the same study the group admits is incomplete to suggest there’s little evidence that HFCS differs uniquely from sugar and other sweeteners in how it affects metabolism or weight gain.
That claim is patently false.
“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 conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction.
“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,” says Hoebel.
Our Bodies React Differently to HFCS
Cane sugar has a much lower percentage of fructose, and the body biochemically uses sucrose and fructose in a different manner.
Fructose requires a different metabolic pathway in order to be metabolized because it skips the regular metabolism of carbohydrates or glycolysis. “As a result, the fructose becomes a source of ‘acetyl CoA’ in its unregulated form which, when combined with unstimulated leptin levels, can lead to substantial fat deposits.”
Excess fructose is metabolized to produce fat because fructose does not need insulin to be metabolized; glucose is processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate in the liver and muscles.
High fructose corn syrup is linked to an increase in weight gain (more than with table sugar), insulin resistance, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Princeton researchers discovered that rats which had access to high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to basic table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
“These rats aren’t just getting fat; they’re demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides,” said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. “In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.”
Additionally, a 2009 study conducted by researchers at Georgia State University determined diets high in fructose impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.
Princeton University Defines Difference Between HFCS and Sugar
“High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose [table sugar] are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there are at least two clear differences between them.
“First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars — it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose — but the typical high-fructose corn syrup…features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose.
“Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization.
“In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized”.
That extra metabolic step for fructose molecules is missing in HFCS, which is why the Princeton University research team concluded that excess fructose in HFCS is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.
How HFCS Worsens Metabolic Syndrome
“Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by disorders of lipoprotein metabolism (high cholesterol and triglycerides), hypertension, and hyperglycemia (abnormally high concentrations of glucose in the blood).
“This syndrome afflicts more than 50 million Americans, and approximately half of all Americans are predisposed to it, making it one of the more serious health issues in the U.S. Metabolic syndrome is a result of the continual influx of HFCS-containing soft drinks and other non-nutritive, high-fructose foods, which creates insulin resistance.
“Insulin resistance means that muscles are no longer able to make glycogen, a form of stored carbohydrate, from food energy. Insulin resistance can promote an increase in fats in your bloodstream, which leads to metabolic syndrome.
“Insulin resistance also disrupts the way carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins obtained from your food are handled by your body. In 2007, researchers at Yale University School of Medicine studied how insulin resistance works. Insulin-resistant individuals in their study were found to have their carbohydrate energy rerouted to liver fat production. This process elevated the participants’ blood triglycerides by as much as 60 percent, while lowering their HDL (good) cholesterol by 20 percent”.
Below, John Mericle M.D., who sources Lubert Stryer’s Biochemistry (4th edition), adds his explanation of high fructose corn syrup; he points out the dangerous combination of fructose and glucose, and problems associated with high fructose corn syrup:
“High fructose corn syrup is made by treating corn (which is usually genetically modified corn) with a variety of enzymes, some of which are also genetically modified, to first extract the sugar glucose and then convert some of it into fructose, since fructose tastes sweeter than glucose. The end result is a mixture of 55% fructose and 45% glucose”.
The Dangerous Combination: Fructose and Glucose
“When high fructose corn syrup breaks down in the intestine, we once again find near equal amounts of glucose and fructose entering the bloodstream. As covered in recent newsletters, the fructose short-circuits the glycolytic pathway for glucose.
“This leads to all the problems associated with sucrose. In addition, HFCS seems to be generating a few of its own problems, epidemic obesity being one of them. Fructose does not stimulate insulin production and also fails to increase ‘leptin’ production, a hormone produced by the body’s fat cells.
“Both of these act to turn off the appetite and control body weight. Also, fructose does not suppress ghrelin, a hormone that works to increase hunger. This interesting work is being done by Peter Havel at UC Davis”.
Some Problems Associated With High Fructose Corn Syrup
Increased LDL’s (the bad lipoprotein) leading to increased risk of heart disease.
Altered Magnesium balance leading to increased osteoporosis.
Increased risk of Adult Onset Diabetes Mellitus
Fructose has no enzymes or vitamins thus robbing the body of precious micro-nutrients.
Fructose interacts with birth control pills and can elevate insulin levels in women on the pill.
Fructose inhibits copper metabolism leading to a deficiency of copper, which can cause increased bone fragility, anemia, ischemic heart disease and defective connective tissue formation among others.