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Sugars, Insulin Resistance & Glycemic Index

The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, frozen foods and microwave meals.

Maltodextrin is also a refined product usually made from either corn or potatoes. It is very readily absorbed and has a very high glycemic index.

Dextrose is an industry term for glucose. Glucose is the most prevalent sugar in humans and is the only molecule that the brain can metabolize. Dextrose is refined from cornstarch. It has a very high glycemic index, as it is glucose!

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. The result is a mixture of 55% fructose and 45% glucose, that is called ‘high fructose corn syrup.’

  • In 2001 CORN sweeteners (genetically modified) accounted for 55% of the sweetener market.

  • Consumption of high fructose corn syrup went from zero in 1966 to 62.6 pounds per person in 2001.

  • Per capita intake of refined sugar is almost 150 pounds a year. HFCS accounts for 51.7 pounds of that, and sucrose for 64.5 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That translates to about 60 pounds of fructose per person.

Some of the 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.

  • 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.

  • Increased risk of Adult Onset Diabetes Mellitus.

  • 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.

  • Accelerated aging

The list below shows how much sugar, mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup, is in each of these single servings:

  • Sunkist soda: 10 1/2 teaspoons of sugar

  • Berkeley Farms low-fat yogurt with fruit: 10 teaspoons of sugar

  • Mott’s applesauce: 5 teaspoons of sugar

  • Slim-Fast chocolate cookie dough meal bar: 5 teaspoons of sugar

  • 1-tablespoon ketchup: 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • Hansen’s Super Vita orange-carrot Smoothie: 10 teaspoons of sugar

Reference: Stryer Biochemistry Fourth Edition
“Sugar coated We’re drowning in high fructose corn syrup. Do the risks go beyond our waistline?”
Kim Severson, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a measure of how a given food affects blood-glucose levels, with each food being assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption and digestion process, which provides a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream.

A high glycemic index rating means that blood-glucose levels are increased quickly, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat products high in sugar, you can experience rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels. Sugars on the other hand raise the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system.


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