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Children’s Obesity Study – Fructose vs Starch – Almost got it right….

Posted by -- November 6, 2015

fructose vs starch

by: Jonathan Wright

November 6, 2015

Researchers from UCSF and Touro University recently published a study on the effects of restricting the daily intake of “fructose” in the diets of 43 children at the Obesity clinic at UCSF, replacing it with starches. The question was to determine whether sweeteners (fructose/sugar) or calories (Starches) were truly the problem when it came to obesity and diabetes. “We replaced virtually every aspect of their metabolic syndrome,” said Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco and lead author of the study.

Dr Lustig currently maintains that both sugar and HFCS are processed by the body in the same way and therefore uses the terms interchangeably. The problem with that is it goes against his sworn affidavit to the United States District Court Western District of New York dated September 2013 where he clearly states: “Sucrose (Sugar) and HFCS have different metabolic effects including that the fructose content of HFCS-55, HFCS 65, HFCS 90 and Crystalline Fructose is higher than that in sucrose which is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose” (Citizens for Health has petitioned the FDA to change the HFCS labeling system so that it identifies the fructose level of the HFCS i.e. – HFCS 55 contains 55% fructose, HFCS 65 contains 65% fructose, etc.)

Dr. Lustig makes two points about the fundamental difference between sucrose (sugar) and HFCS in his court affidavit. One, the fructose in sugar is bound differently than the fructose in HFCS. Two, the amounts of fructose in HFCS significantly exceed the amounts of fructose in sugar. These differences make all the difference in the world. This means, he states in his affidavit, “…fructose from HFCS is metabolized differently from sugar (sucrose) and because the percentage of fructose in some foods containing HFCS have been shown in peer reviewed studies to exceed 65%, HFCS is clearly a significant factor in increased dietary food and energy (caloric) intake in the population.”

We are totally with Dr. Lustig when he laments the drinking of caloric sodas -95% of which are sweetened with HFCS- and which Dr Lustig also calls out in his affidavit, “Coca Cola, Sprite and Pepsi contained on average 64-65% fructose.” In this recent study Dr Lustig and his team found that reducing the intake of sweeteners from 28% to 10% of the children’s diets, while still on a heavily processed diet, lead to a reduction in insulin levels within 10 days. This is not exactly news to Dr Lustig, if we refer back to the affidavit where Dr Lustig states “Since fructose is metabolized differently than glucose it can and does lead to insulin resistance.…. HFCS bypasses the insulin-driven satiety system, suppressing ‘the degree of satiety’ that would normally result from a meal of glucose or sucrose.” HFCS, unlike glucose or sucrose (sugar) he says, leads to overeating. “

Dr Lustig tries to make the case that since the insulin levels dropped and the cholesterol and lipid levels improved then ‘sugar’ must be the problem. Yet referring back to the affidavit he makes a very clear statement, “Fructose is a major cause of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” The primary fructose he is referencing, based on the report of his study, is fructose from HFCS. That is also true of the American diet.

We support and urge the removal of HFCS from manufactured food products, including sodas, as does Dr. Lustig. We also urge the use of sucrose in moderation. We think the distinction between fructose in HFCS and in sucrose is important for consumers to make sound decision which will fulfill Dr. Lustig’s agenda to cut down disease traced to fructose. Consumers also need to know that, while sugar consumption per capita in 2009 equaled that in 1909, HFCS consumption has skyrocketed during the past thirty years the same period of time that diabetes and obesity have exploded into national epidemics. There is no place for HFCS in the diet. There is a place for sweetness. Even the children in Dr. Lustig’s study got 10% percent of their calories from “sugar”. Unfortunately we do not know, when reporting this fact, whether Dr. Lustig was talking about sucrose or HFCS.

UCLA Study highlights the negative effects of HFCS on the Brain pathways and healing

Posted by -- October 27, 2015

HFCS and Brain

Breaking news from the UCLA newsroom, published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, came as no surprise to us at “High Fructose Diet Hampers Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury”, published online October 5, 2015 details the effects of a diet heavy with HFCS sabotaged the brains ability to heal from traumatic brain injuries and impairing one’s ability to learn new things.

Important news for TBI victims, veterans, athletes and patients diagnosed with diseases like Parkinson’s or recovering from a Stroke that our diet is a vital part of the recovery process and can either assist or impede healing progress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer a TBI each year, resulting in 52,000 annual deaths.

The study looked at rats trained to escape a maze over a period of 5 days. They were randomly assigned to two groups one fed regular water, the other fed water laced with HFCS for 6 weeks, simulating a human diet high in HFCS. One week later the rats were anesthetized and a brief pulse of fluid to the head reproducing aspects of human traumatic brain injury. After an additional 6 weeks the researchers tested the rat’s ability to remember the maze. Those rats fed the regular water completed the maze with no problem those fed the water high in HFCS took 30% longer to find the exit.

The researchers found that: The sweetener interfered with the ability of neurons to communicate with each other, rewire connections after injury, record memories and produce enough energy to fuel basic functions. said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery and integrative biology and physiology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and a member of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. “That’s a huge obstacle for anyone to overcome — but especially for a TBI patient, who is often struggling to relearn daily routines and how to care for himself or herself.” Gomez-Pinilla’s team was also the first to uncover the negative impact of HFCS on learning and memory.

“Our findings suggest that fructose disrupts plasticity — the creation of fresh pathways between brain cells that occurs when we learn or experience something new,” said Gomez-Pinilla, which should also be an alert to the millions of students across the world subsisting on a ‘Study’ diet of Coke and snickers bars.

According to the Department of Agriculture the average American consumes 27 pounds of HFCS per year, according to the FDA that number hovers around 63.7 pounds and other sources put the number somewhere in between. The problem is that HFCS has taken so many forms and names that it has become difficult to track including but not limited too: fructose also known as hfcs90, Polyols, Maltitol and Dextrose to plain corn syrup and Yellow Dent #2… the list grows daily. The USA is the biggest manufacturer as well as the largest importer of sweeteners in the world.

“Our take-home message can be boiled down to this: reduce fructose (HFCS) in your diet if you want to protect your brain,” Gomez-Pinilla stressed.

Importance of Food Labels Part 2

Posted by -- October 20, 2015

By Jonathan Wright 

October 20, 2015

Importance of Truth in Labeling Part 2
Continuing our message on the importance of reading labels we present here 8 additional misleading Food Labels and what they really mean and why we continue the fight for Truth in Labeling:
No growth Hormones – usually you will see this claim in ads for pork, chicken, turkey, beef and even milk. While the US Dept of Agriculture doesn’t allow farmers to feed hormones to pork or poultry they get around it by feeding animals antibiotics which speed growth in the same way hormones do. Further increasing our resistance to antibiotics.
Natural – unfortunately there isn’t an official definition for the term. The USDA has defined it as any product that contains no artificial ingredient or added color and is minimally processed. However this does not include whether the item was fed antibiotics or hormones or contains GMO’s.

Grass fed -While the USDA intends this to mean that the animals were fed only 100 percent grass and no corn or soy the producer only has to provide documentation that this is the case, there is no follow up to ensure this is the case and while this rule only applies to beef you will find this label on chickens and pork, animals that cannot survive on grass diets alone.
Anti Biotic Free – another meaningless term, that is actually illegal to place on packaging. However manufacturers make small changes to the wording like “raised without antibiotics” to get around the rules. Many meat producers use anti microbials, identical to antibiotics, to fatten up chickens and hogs faster thereby getting them to market faster.
Nutritional Facts – did you know the FDA allows food manufacturers to use averages for many of the listed Nutritional facts on the food labels like salt content and trans-fats? The FDA allows for as much as 20% differential , so the 300 calorie snack you are having could have as many as 360 calories. For Trans fats manufacturers are allowed to put zero trans-fats if the serving is below .5 grams and while that doesn’t seem like much it’s a quarter of a day’s worth!

Made with Real fruit – doesn’t mean ‘whole’ fruit it can mean fruit juice or extract which means fewer nutrients and more sugar.

Multi Grain – This means your bread, chips or crackers contain two or more grains but not necessarily whole grains. Many times they are refined grained which have a much lower nutritional value.

Reduced Sugar, Low Sugar or no Sugar added – Reduced Sugar means less than 25% of the original product, Low sugar has no definition so can mean any amount and No sugar added means no sugar was added during the manufacture of the product but that doesn’t mean there is no sugar in the product, it may still contain “fructose” which will still show up on the label under added sugars (exp. Unsweetened applesauce)

Add to that the hidden MSG, Food Coloring, Aspartame, pesticides and other unidentified additives and you can see why we continue to challenge the Big Food Manufacturers on their labeling practices…Take a minute and sign the petition from Citizens for Health to amend the FDA Proposed Rules on Food Labeling, HERE

Warning Advisory : Maltitol

Posted by -- September 27, 2015

BeFunky Design

Is Maltitol The New High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Understanding the ingredients that you are looking at is essential when checking labels. We found one that surprised us and want to bring Maltitol to your attention. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol which is similar to sugar but has fewer calories. Sounds Great right? Well…. It also comes along with a mandatory disclaimer that it will cause a “mild” laxative effect.  While Maltitol occurs naturally in chicory, the version used today is chemically produced from Corn Syrup.  Though low in calories (3 per tablespoon) it has a high glycemic value of 53 so it is not recommended for Diabetics, though according to the manufacturer, Food and Beverage conglomerate – Cargill, it is safe if consumed in moderation.  That said, a quick Google search will provide you with a number of warnings and potential side effects of Maltitol that the manufacturer does not reference; from nausea and cramping to rectal bleeding and diarrhea. According to a double blind study conducted by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 8 out of 12 participants developed diarrhea when fed Maltitol as opposed to 3 out of 12 when fed table sugar.

Interestingly a number of Diabetic websites claim Maltitol is safe for diabetics because of its Low carb ratio (but it’s still a Carb) and “sugar free” labeling. Other sites will caution you that the high Glycemic index of Maltitol will spike insulin levels which diabetics need to avoid and which also initiate the feelings of hunger and can lead to more overeating. Maltitol is considered non-digestable (Wait why are we using it in anything we consume?) so it is considered safe for the teeth as it does not promote tooth decay.

Because it is a sugar alcohol it is not classified as “sugar” so it can be used to sweeten products that are advertised as “Sugar Free”. Maltitol is used in a huge range of sugar free sweets including: candy, cough drops, chewing gum, chocolate, ice cream, baked goods and supplements. It is also used in “low carb” breads and food items as well as in many of the Atkins diet products. It is also used as the coating on hard candy as well as in medicine, as a pill coating, and in personal care products like Moisturizers. Many of the Food products containing Maltitol, such as Pillsbury Sugar Free Moist supreme Cake mixes, prominently feature a warning: Disclaimer Text: Excess Consumption may cause a laxative effect (Due to Maltitol). Recently one of FIT’s Staff purchased a Cherry Pie from a local high end Natural Food store & Bakery and noticed it had a Maltitol warning disclaimer, a couple of hours after eating a small slice of the pie our staffer developed stomach cramps which lasted until mid day the next day and experienced nausea and rectal bleeding and upon reflection realized the only thing that could have caused it was the cherry pie.

At a time when many food and beverage manufacturers are removing High Fructose Corn Syrup from their products due to consumer demand, one has to question why other man-made artificial sweeteners made from corn including Maltitol and Fructose are appearing more frequently in the foods we consume.  Could this just be a way of confusing consumers and hiding unhealthy ingredients in our food supply?  Why would anyone purchase a food product that warns of side effects?

Truth in Labeling and a clear understanding of the ingredients you are looking at will help keep you and your family healthy, but perhaps a better solution is to avoid consuming anything with artificial or chemical ingredients, including Maltitol.

Yes, Honey Is Healthier Than High Fructose Corn Syrup, Another Reporter Gets It Wrong

Posted by -- September 23, 2015

In the Huffington Post article, “Honey isn’t any Healthier than Corn Syrup or regular sugar for that matter”, author Suzy Strutner skips some important science.  While Ms Strutner points out that HFCS is different from “regular sugar” and many of the recent articles about raw vs. processed honey align with her point, she overlooks important science that underscores the difference between HFCS and honey.

While Ms Strutner is correct that the chemical compounds of HFCS, Sucrose (table sugar) and Honey are all chemically similar (though not identical) they differ widely in how the body processes them and what they contribute to the body.  Table sugar is about a 50/50 split of fructose and glucose, Honey is generally 30% glucose, 40% fructose with the rest made up of water, other sugar types and dextrin (a type of starchy fiber), HFCS roughly contains 55% fructose and 42% glucose. However, when you consume table sugar the body uses enzymes to break down the fructose and glucose bond and processes them thru the liver stimulating insulin which triggers the release of a hormone called Leptin signaling the body that it is full. Due to the un-bonded nature of the fructose and glucose in the HFCS the fructose goes straight to the liver and is ingested and stored as fat leaving you hungry regardless of the amount of food you have consumed.

In one study, at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, one group of participants was fed just fructose and they reported feeling hungry and irritable. The group fed pure glucose reported feeling full and satisfied. In another study researchers compared the effects of honey and refined fructose feeding on rats. Rats being fed fructose had raised triglycerides more than those fed honey. Those being fed fructose had decreased blood levels of vitamin E, while those being fed honey did not, suggesting less oxidative stress. Fructose also promoted more inflammation than honey.

Additionally studies suggest that Honey provides many benefits that HFCS cannot, from being an antioxidant to helping cuts and burns heal faster, easing a cough and curing a hangover. Recent research revealed that less-refined sweeteners, including honey, contain more antioxidants and other potentially beneficial compounds than refined table sugar. “A study published in January in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn. showed that using less-refined sweeteners instead of white sugar could add the same amount of antioxidants found in a serving of nuts or purple fruits, but that molasses and date sugar contained the highest levels of antioxidants. Other studies have shown that the antioxidant content of honey depends on what sort of plant nectar it is made from.”

Honey contains over a hundred different compounds, not just fructose and glucose. It has a small amount of minerals, amino acids (many of which have yet to be identified and cataloged), and vitamins….It’s a Whole food by any definition and the human body was designed to process whole foods, refined food-like products, not so much. They produce different results and effects when you ingest them.  “Eating a handful of berries”says Researcher Mark Sisson “isn’t the same as sprinkling an equal amount of berry-extracted sugar in your water and drinking it”.