There are no miracle cure-alls, silver bullets, or magic pills that will get you trim, fit and healthy, but after an exhaustive search and rigorous testing, The Sherpa has pinpointed a few natural health therapies that DO help and ferreted out the scams to avoid...you may be shocked by what we've discovered.

The Dirty Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup…

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Posted Wednesday, Jun. 1st, 2011

the truth about HFCS

I am in awe of the recent TV commercials where two mothers are talking and one questions the other about serving some sweetened fruit punch to her kids.  The first mother says, “That stuff’s got high fructose corn syrup in it, and you know what they say about that.

To which the second mother replies, “What?  That it’s natural and made from corn? And that in moderation, it’s perfectly fine?”

Clever commercial.  And utterly misleading.

Understanding Sugar…

In the beginning, there was plain old table sugar, also known by its scientific name, sucrose.  Sucrose is a disaccharide (“di” meaning “two,” “saccharide” meaning “sugar”).  That means it’s actually a blend of two “simple” (mono) saccharides, in this case glucose and fructose.

Take a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose, link them with a chemical bond and presto, you’ve got yourself a molecule of sucrose.  Put a bunch of those sucrose molecules together in a bowl, place the bowl on the table at the local diner with a little spoon in it, and you’re in business.

Now it’s pretty much a given that high intake of sugar is bad for you, and a list of all reasons why would pretty much fill a book, so let’s save that for another day.  But what’s interesting is that a fair amount of research has been done investigating exactly which of the two components of sugar is worse for you—glucose or fructose.  And the hands-down winner in the “this stuff is bad” category is…fructose.

Figuring Out Fructose…

Fructose is a naturally occurring fruit sugar found, for example, in an apple.  In this form, fructose is absolutely fine.

But the difference between fructose in an apple and fructose in a soda is the difference between a beautiful fur coat on a wild fox and that same fur on the back of a lady at the opera.  It’s gorgeous on its original owner (the fox).   But on the lady?  Not so much.

When fructose is found in its original setting (like an apple or a berry), it’s surrounded with healthful nutrients like phytochemicals and fiber.  When it’s extracted and made into a liquid sweetener, it’s a complete nightmare.

Studies have shown that fructose produces insulin resistance in animals.  Insulin resistance is a central feature of metabolic syndrome and type ll diabetes.

More than any other kind of sugar, fructose raises triglycerides—a serious risk factor for heart disease.  In 2000, Canadian researchers at the University of Toronto fed a high-fructose diet to rodents that have a fat metabolism similar to our own—Syrian golden hamsters.  In a matter of weeks, the hamsters developed both elevated triglycerides and insulin resistance.

Fructose has also been linked to non-alcoholic, fatty-liver disease.  Rats that were given high fructose diets developed a number of undesirable metabolic abnormalities including elevated triglycerides, weight gain, and extra abdominal fat.  So it’s no wonder it contributes mightily to creating new fat on your body.

Interestingly, fructose does not raise blood sugar very much, leading to the wrongheaded idea (popular for a while) that it’s a “good” sugar for diabetics.  It’s not.  It’s bad news.

From Bad to Worse…

Now in the “olden” days, sugar—table sugar that is, plain old sucrose—was expensive.  Not maybe for the average Joe picking up a bag at the grocery store, but for food manufacturers wanting to sweeten products, it was definitely a high-ticket ingredient.

Between sugar tariffs that drove the price of sugar higher and corn subsidies the forced the price of corn lower, a perfect environment was setup to allow food manufacturers to find a solution to the problem of expensive sugar.  Enter high fructose corn syrup.

Take a subsidized crop (like corn), perform a bunch of chemical operations on it, and voila, you had something that was even sweeter than sucrose at a fraction of the cost.  Better yet, it could be added to virtually everything on the table, making those items even more “delicious” and desirable and, of course, moving more product.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.  Chemically speaking, high fructose corn syrup really isn’t that different from table sugar (sucrose).  High fructose corn syrup—at least the most common kind found in soft drinks—is 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.  It’s not a huge difference from the 50/50 mix in plain old sugar.

But the problem is that it’s everywhere.

“The low cost of high fructose corn syrup allowed the explosion of 20-ounce sodas, super big gulps and the like to happen,” says C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, a research scientist and nutritionist at the USDA.  “Because sucrose was quite expensive, for years, sodas were limited to the 12-ounce can.  We have also had an explosion of candies, bakery items, and ice cream novelties, which would have been just too costly if they were all made with sugar.  But now, because of high fructose corn syrup, these items are much cheaper to produce.”

So, no matter how you cut the HFCS-sweetened cake, we’re now consuming more fructose than ever.  And refined fructose-—whether we get it from table sugar or from the ubiquitous HFCS—is bad news for your health.

When the Corn Refiners Assocation fights back with their “pro-HFCS” ads, it seems to come down to two arguments: One, it’s no worse than sugar (OK maybe, but that’s like saying Salems are no worse than Marlboros), and two, it’s natural because cause it’s made from corn.

Maybe so, but so is ethanol, and I’m not drinking that either.  And speaking of things I’m not doing, let’s add agave to the list.

Yes, agave.

The Blue Agave Myth

Agave syrup (nectar) is basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as a health food.

Sorry.  Don’t kill the messenger.

It’s easy to understand how agave syrup got its great reputation.  Even the word agave has a fine pedigree, coming from the Greek word for “noble.”  The “blue” agave species—considered the best for the making agave nectar—flourishes in rich volcanic soil.  (It’s also the only variety permitted in the making of tequila.)  And extracts from the agave plant have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Unfortunately, there’s zero evidence that any of those compounds are present in the commercially made syrup.

Agave nectar is an amber-colored liquid that pours more easily than honey and is considerably sweeter than sugar.  The health-food crowd loves it because it is gluten-free and suitable for vegan diets, and, most especially, because it’s low-glycemic (we’ll get to that in a moment).  Largely because of its very low glycemic impact, agave nectar is marketed as “diabetic friendly.”   What’s not to like?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

Agave nectar has a low-glycemic index for one reason only: it’s largely made of fructose.  In fact, with the exception of pure liquid fructose, agave nectar has the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener.  It is a whopping 90 percent fructose, nearly twice as high as HFCS!

In the agave plant, most of the sweetness comes from a particular kind of fructose called inulin, which actually has some health benefits (it’s considered a fiber).  But there’s not much inulin left in the actual syrup.

In the manufacturing process, enzymes are added to the inulin to break it down into digestible sugar (fructose), resulting in a syrup that has a fructose content that is, at best, 57 percent and—much more commonly—as high as 90 percent.

“Agave syrup is almost all fructose, highly processed sugar with great marketing,” says Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  “Fructose interferes with healthy metabolism when (consumed) at higher doses.  Many people have fructose intolerance like lactose intolerance.  They get acne or worse, diabetes symptoms, even though their blood [sugar] is okay.”

Agave nectar syrup is a triumph of marketing over science.  True, it has a low-glycemic index, but so does gasoline—that doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

If you simply must have some sweets, a small amount of agave nectar every once in a while isn’t going to kill you.  Just don’t buy into the idea that it’s any better for you than plain old sugar or HFCS.

And remember, no matter what exotic name they give it or how natural and harmless they try to make it sound, sugar is sugar is sugar.

Eat more sugar and its substitutes if you want to accelerate your aging, develop chronic diseases, add several inches to your waist and sap yourself of energy.

Eat less sugar and its substitutes if you want to slow down the aging process, maintain vibrant health, retain a slim and trim figure and enjoy boundless energy.

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Also known as “The Rogue Nutritionist,” Bowden is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology; the best-selling author of twelve books including Unleash Your Thin, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Living L...[ read more ]

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  • electrofish

    Xylitol is the sam old story then??

  • electrofish

    Xylitol is equal to rest of the sugars/sweeteners then?

  • Dduck

    Nope – Xylitol is great for the bones and teeth!!

  • Mirjana

    Yes, I completely agree wit all you said. Like everything else, all is in the dosage. Eat natural food in moderation and there would be no problems. The worst things in our modern time are food and pharmaceutical industry. They isolated natural ingredients and made them toxic in the new combinations.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dahveed284 David Grimm

    Thanks for explaining this.  The evil corn empire has been pushing their product with aggressive advertising, so its good to get the straight scoop here.

    As to the Blue Agave, well, its clear to me that its highest and best use is feeding little yeasts in the production of tequila.  And that’s the only way I’m going to consume this product from now on.  In moderation too.

  • Brireward

    You should add the sugar subs that are not bad for you such as Stevia. Or don’t you like that either?  I’d like to know.

  • Brireward

    Another mention:  How about the gmo’s in the corn product? I don’t eat anything that is suspect with gmo’s – soybean and all products of it.  You’ll find it in most packaged products.

  • Dijmyers

    Thanks for the information…we have sure wrestled on this one.  Please also explain the sugar substitutes.  These are shoved at us right and left as if they are the end-all but in my mind a processed food isn’t a food at all but something our bodies can’t process or don’t know what to do with so it just gets stored…in fat, the liver, etc.  And, what is the story on Xylitol?  Please help!

  • Protax651

    I’ve recently purchased all natural made from 100%Stevia from Peru and the first ingredient on the packet is INULIN FIBER.  I should have known nothing is all natural as this indicates.  What problems to my TYPE II DIABETIC condition does this cause?

  • Ray

    Thank you for the wonderful education!  

  • Imaginefreedomnow

    Dang it!  I bought the agave myth – thanks for letting me know.  I have given up sugar before, and can do that again, but what can I suggest to friends & family who seem to be in an addictive relationship with sugar/sweeteners? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.mag Dee Mag

    truvia is suppose to be he newest all new organic sweetener does anyone know of a truly organic sweetener that does not hurt others??????

  • Lisa Davis

    Thank you,

    I also fell for agave syrup, but then caught on after I bought a bottle. There is so much ignorance around about sugar. A friend of mine likes the artificial sweetener made from sugar, and thinks because it’s made from sugar, it’s healthy (two examples of wrong thinking in one sentence.

    Lisa Davis

  • Lisa Davis

    Truvia is made from Stevia, which is a green plant (you can grow it in your garden.) the problem with Truvia, Stevia, and similar products made from this plant, is the peculiar aftertaste.

    Lisa Davis

  • Heidi Hatch

    Great article! What about Stevia? Stevia is supposed to be a great all natural sweeter, very low in calories, and sweeter than sugar so you use less. Is it bad for you as well?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SWMW6TS3GE6W3SNV6U75XF3CMU attic4fester

    Beware the Corn People

    Thank you for giving me something in writing to show my friends and family, absolving me from being the paranoid conspiracy theorist I was accused of being when the pro corn sugar ad campaign came out in full force and I said, “Beware.”  For those of you  who are sick and tired of hearing me recommend a viewing of FOOD INC., maybe you should cut back on the sugar.  >:{)

  • Twannap

    Great article. I switched to agave nectar a year ago. I thought I had found a healthy way to sweeten my coffee. I know, doffee, another no, no.

  • Marykarenmerrill

    Could you mention where honey would fit in all this.

  • Anyelina

    I only take blue organic agave and I’m hypoglycemic, has been very good for me, I don’t have sweet cravings, I haven’t gained weight. I only take it for my hot tea. I don’t  see why is too bad the agave and accelerate aging. Agave is not processed sugar. 

  • Rosy Outlook

    For those of us with the badly neglected problem of Low Blood Sugar, fructose is the worst!.   I may as well have taken a sleeping pill. It knocks me out in minutes.  About the fructose in the fruit itself, I have to treat it with extreme caution.  No fruit in the morning.  Only that which is not very sweet such as fresh blueberries, peaches, etc does not drain away all my energy.  I go into a semi-coma and cannot remember to drink water to wash it out of my system.  Later in the day, in very small quantities, my system will tolerate regular sugar, especially if right after a meal.  Forget about stevia, and all the other sugar subs, not good in more ways than one.  Any info you can give regarding hypoglycemia would be greatly appreciated.  We are the step children of the medics.  Please refer me to any articles that might be helpful that I missed.  Thanks for your good work,  Rosemarie Stinnett

  • Nitevision57

    honey is probably the best sweetener, made up of only monosaccaride (single celled and requires no digestion) sugars, but still is sugar.and will have negative effects on blood sugar and diabetes syndromes.
    I avoid all sugar  and sugar substitutes except sugars in foods and honey  as per the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

  • Kami

    I  have only used Zylitol for the last 2 years and I don’t miss sugar at all ! I buy it at my local healthfood store  I use it in baking and for coffee,tea, pancakes etc and the kids love it. They don’t even know the difference and it is helping them ward off cavities I am sure ! They have gum now with Zylitol too,Trident I think it is, but just keep it away from the animals ..their systems can’t process it and it can be deadly to them.

  • Xray5696

    actually, no matter what you eat, any carbs turn to sugar!!

  • Gch809

    thank you, I like to get specifics on HFCS, etc. I’m diabetic, was using Agave syrup instead of honey or sugar or Splenda. Now I’ll just add a sprinkle of cinamon.

  • Norman

    Sugar, Saccharine,  Agave, Stevia, Aspartame (NutraSweet), Sorbitol and all the real and substitute sweetners and i believe soon even Zylitol will all be found to be harmful in one way or another.
    In truth we do not need any of these. They confound our bodies and cause a reaction somewhere along the line.
    Give them all up. Not easy i know. I managed it with sugar in my tea nearly 40years ago and still trouble with the occasional chocolate and piece of cake but for health and long life i say stay away from any sweetener what ever it’s name as best i can.

  • Elizllo

    Excellent article. Only one missing piece of data on the history of corn syrup and its dangers. That is, the resulting contamination of the cornstarch in the manufacturing process, which leaves mercury traces in the cornstarch, which is then made into corn syrup. That is the industry’s dirty little secret, which makes this form of sweetness and its contamination far more deadly than other forms.

    The process dates back to the 70′s, when the conflict in the Dominican Republic put a strain on US sugar supplies and costs shot up. The corn syrup industry went into high gear using this new process and here we are today, with  mercury-laced sweetness in the majority of foods on the shelf.
    It’s not your great-grandmother’s Karo syrup from World War II. The “improved” form today, with mercury, creates many more diseases than just raising your blood sugar.

  • Brireward

    My son’s doc. (when my son was only 9 -many years ago) said he could have Tupelo honey which comes from bees only left to get nectar from Tupelo trees when  they are blooming  is ok for any blood sugar problem because it does not stimulate the pancreas.  Only in moderation however!  Look online and you can find some good prices.

  • Brireward

    Try Tupelo honey -reccommended by my son’s doc.. My son had low blood sugar.  This honey does not activate the pancreas. You can find it online

  • Sizzle2nd

    Thnaks for this article–we’ve emptied our house of HFCS items and switched over to the Greendrinks/green smoothies.  Check out ramily.com and order the books from the Boutenko family.  Very easy to read, great recipes, lotsa of laughs in the stories of how their family went raw, and heavily footnoted.  Especially check out the pictures and stroies of the guy who went from 400 to 170 on the green diet–he tells exactyly how he did it and does it–so ridiculously simple!  Muches on veggies, drinks lotsa water, and makes a gallon of drink to last through the day…Gery hair turned back to brown, bald spot filled in, eyes healed and threw glasses away, skin tightend up naturally as he lost the weight, skin also became clearer, mind clearer—what’s not to love??!!  I sure appreciate evryone who’s sounding the storm warning from the weather tower re: the onslaught that’s been underway–Victoria B. say we’re in the 7th generation of humans who departed from raw and green diet and tells the effects it’s had on us.  Been convenient, but that is the only benefit–the health results have been disastrous–though not for the profits of the “food industry, the big Pharmas, and in general the medical establishment.  Ask qui bono/who benefits and follow the money and all is revealed.  Take back what health we might still have!   Take care, all!

  • Kae

    Did you read the article? Agave IS a processed sugar, it’s not like you are sucking on the leaves to get the sweetness. I tried Agave, having bought the hype as well. After a few days I had to stop using it, it was giving me diarrhea and I was only using it in my coffee, maybe two spoonfuls a day. I’m back to Truvia as I do not get the aftertaste some mention. I was going to give the agave to a neighbor to try, but now I will just trash it.

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Here, here! Thanks for the great recommendation!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Elizllo,

    Thanks for the addition! The Washington Post ran an article on this very topic back in 2009…very scary stuff we are dealing with!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    You cannot go wrong with cinnamon! Great solution!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Kami,

    Xylitol is a good sugar substitute, but it too has its drawbacks…namely GI distress. On the plus side, it has been shown to be good for your teeth and gums, which is why many sugar-free gum and mints use it.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    While honey is a natural food, it is still a source of sugar, as it does affect your glucose and insulin levels. 

    Occasional versus everyday use is the key.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherap

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Rosy,

    Thanks for your story. We will need to do a story on hypoglycemia in the very near future. More and more research is showing that it is actually an early warning sign of EXCESS blood sugar, not too little and that it is a withdrawal symptom.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Regardless of source, sugar is sugar is sugar; that includes honey and agave. Moderation and occasion is the key.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Heidi,

    Stevia seems to be a good sugar alternative. Very little chemical processing and derived from a naturally sweet herb, with a tinge of bitterness.

    Expect an in-depth article on ALL sugar substitutes in the near future.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Lisa (and Dee),

    Truvia is comprised of three ingredients: rebiana (which comes from stevia), erythritol (a naturally occurring sugar alcohol), and natural flavors. The first two are okay, but we’d like to know a bit more about these “flavors.”

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Right now, stevia is your best option.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Inulin fiber is fine…and all natural. In fact, it’s quite good in fact for diabetes. In this particular case, you did seem to get what you expected.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Dijmyers,

    We are definitely working on a future article that will cover: honey, maple syrup, aspartame, saccharine, Splenda, xylitol, erythritol, crystalline fructose, and stevia.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa 

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Check out our story on soy…we discuss the GMO issue. Scary stuff.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Electrofish,

    Xylitol doesn’t affect your blood sugar/insulin levels like HFCS or agave (or honey for that matter). But, for some people, it can cause GI distress.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • Anyelina

    Sorry but I’m just skeptical about what the article says about agave.

  • Dppeterson

    Agreed that sugar is sugar – but Organic RAW blue agave syrup is one of the least offensive.  Same with the RAW organic honey. 

  • Jchezny-16

    Yeah, the same was said about flouride years ago.

  • Bronxgirl_51

    thanks for setting everyone straight about hfcs  now if everyone will just listen and stop using the stuff

  • Katie Lyn

          And you failed to mention that when the body ingests HFCS, it does not recognize it as a food.  It does not satisfy hunger.  It is actually an appetite enhancer.
         But, the body does recognize the calories in the HFCS.  The more you eat, the more weight you pack on.  I haven’t used products containing it in years.  And it is beginning to be harder to find products without it.  Unless they are imports from countries that have outlawed HFCS.

  • Suekoki

    like it , very useful

  • Ajvampa

    Great artcle.  Wish more people would read it and follow the advice and in formation

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Katie Lyn,

    Thanks for the additional information!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Unfortunately, organic doesn’t matter when it comes to boosting insulin levels. And raw doesn’t seem to matter much as well. If you have studies, etc. to the contrary, please let us know! While raw organic honey does have a few health benefits, it does affect blood sugar, same as agave.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • WS750

    Love the analogies – makes it easy to remember when I want to share with my students.  Keep up the great work!

  • Vertigowstewart

    The HFCS pushers as well as this article fail to take into account that HFCS is extracted from geneticly modified (intentionally mutated) corn.  Myriad long term side effects are bound to occur from people eating mutant processed sugar, a hefty price to pay for tickling your taste buds.

  • Vertigowstewart

    Right on, but the worst news is that HFCS comes from geneticly modified corn rife with toxins, allergens, etc. from the mutation.

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    You are absolutely correct about GMOs and corn. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Feel free to pass on or post to your Facebook! Let’s start a revolution!!!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://twitter.com/lesismorre Leslie

    omg I’ve been sabotaging my health by eating “diet” snacks! I just tossed them all including the Atkins bars which have an ingredient called fructooligosaccharides in them.Thanks for the info.
     
    However, I don’t see how the corn being geneticly modified makes any difference. After all the sweet yellow corn we all love has been developed from the original, multi-colored, not-so-sweet native corn.

  • http://twitter.com/HeidiSkarie Heidi Skarie

    Great article.  Corn syrup is one of the causes of type 2 diabetes.  I’m glad to know Agave is  just as bad and more expensive.

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Heidi,

    Glad you found the article informative!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Leslie,

    Fructooligosaccharides (or FOS) is actually okay, but you are still smart to toss the bars for a variety of other reasons.

    The issue with GM corn is the amount of chemicals it contains. While the entire issue is quite complicated, the short story is that the corn is genetically modified to be resistant to bugs and disease by adding chemicals into the seeds. Those chemicals are then consumed by you. Not good.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • Ngwenya

    I used agave for a while, and developed massive diarrhoea. If your digestive system is sensitive, as mine is, it’s a no-go.

  • Tongman95

    I had been using agave in my coffee as a sugar substitute, but will not be going forward. It sounds as though regular sugar would be better than agave. Is that correct? And would you recommen honey over sugar/agave to sweeten coffee?

    Yes, I know coffee isn’t good in the first place. Just like my morning Joe.

  • patrick

    Want to add one small correction regarding HFCS and sucrose (table sugar).  There is actually a small chemical difference:  HFCS contains glucose and fructose in free form (not chemically bonded) while sucrose is just as described in the article (chemically bonded).  Whether this makes a difference or not during digestion and absorption is still under debate, however some evidence indicates that fructose in the free form (HFCS) may bring about the harmful changes described in the article faster and/or more efficiently than chemically bonded fructose.  Either way, the information in the article is spot on, and it is most likely the total fructose intake that is driving the insulin resistance and other metabolic changes that are helping making us as a nation so sick.
    I would also like to comment that I get concerned when I see people blaming 1 thing (ie HFCS) for the health problems so many people suffer from such as diabetes.  Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and all the other diseases of lifestyle have multiple contributers including excess calorie and carbohydrate consumption, lack of exercise, low fruit and vegetable intake etc. etc.  HFCS is a contributor to poor health, especially when ingested in large quantities, but it doesn’t “cause” anything all by itself…it takes several contributing factors together to cause those diseases.

  • Marykarenmerrill

    what about honey?  That’s what I use.

  • Steeny

    Ever since having been told to go on a no-carb, no-sugar diet by my naturopath to rid myself of some troubling symptoms (overgrowth of Candida was the main culprit and I had huge success with that diet after three months, but largely stick to it on a regular basis), my sweetener of choice has been stevia.  So far I’ve not found anything negative about it.  The first time I tried it, I didn’t like the taste, but after being completely sugar-free (including no sweet fruits for the first few weeks of the diet), I appreciated that bit of sweetness and still do.

  • Icehillmd

    could there be a printable form of this articlr? Paul

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Steeny,

    We like stevia ourselves. Watch for an upcoming article on the herb.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    With honey, moderation is the key. It can still impact your insulin reaction.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Patrick,

    Thank you so much for including the chemistry distinction for HFCS and it being unbonded. We are glad you liked the article and we agree that we have a long road ahead of us in relation to total fructose intake.

    Additionally, we agree with your that when it comes to health problems, it is rarely just one thing.

    Given the focused nature of our articles, we are only able to highlight one facet of that equation. We always encourage a healthy diet, regular exercise, and overall lifestyle as being the real key to longevity and optimum health.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Of the options you listed, honey would be your better bet. We will be writing additional articles over the next few weeks that address more sugar substitutes. Keep your eyes out for them!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    That is a common side effect for many people. It is a pretty good reason to pass on the agave.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherap

  • Anonymous

    HFCS – There have been numerous articles pertaining to the harm that this is doing to our health.  Initially the food industry found this product a much less expensive method of sweetening our foods and so the HFCS  has been used in more and more things.   The HFCS has saved the food industry countless dollars and increased their profits expotentially.  –  The only benefit has been to the Food Industry Income.

    As I understand this subject, it is the HFCS which helps with the belly fat (which we all hate).  It seems we should go back a lot closer to basics.  Fress fruits – fresh vegetables, less white flour products, more berries, nuts.   Once we get a large amount of the added sugars out of our diets we will be a lot closer to having the good health we all desire.

    It is up to us to take charge of our health, add those healthy foods, add a good quality “Juicer” to our kitchen and make good green/fruit drinks or if you perfer there are good quality “green juice products” which you can purchase.  You will be amazed at how much energy the green drinks give with no caffine but don’t drink within three-four hours of bed time, if you expect to sleep during the night.

  • Wmkap

    How about an article on Xylitol.
    Is the Birch better than the corn xylitol?
    It tastes just like sugar, but is it good?

  • Bonniejean

    Wow! I did not know that about Agave!!! I thought it was A-OK….til I read the above article!!! thank you for the bottom line.  We know about high fructose corn syrup, and have practically eliminated all fruit juices……one MUST read labels to stay healthy.

  • Bob

    I love these articles, info. did not know or forgot. keep them coming. Bob R

  • A. Rowboat

    The article does not mention that a professor of internal medicine liver doctor links fructose and high fructose corn syrup use with permanent scarring of the liver. You have one liver and cannot live without it. Read the labels on fruit juices, bottled teas, breakfast pastries, pie fillings, ketchup, anything sweetened. One citrus juice manufacturer plastic bottle says no HFCS yet adds highly controversial canola oil.

  • Donalddavis11105

    thank you for clarifying the truth about HFCS and Agave syrup. I have agave at home and will watch how much I use it. Can you tell us about Zilitol which is made from trees. I use toothpaste that has it. I also have it as a sugar substitute . I know if I put too much of Zilitol in coffee I get the runs. In Europe it has been used for centuries and I know it is a great tooth cavity reducer. Thank you.

  • Gch809

    Jerry: I read recently that HFCS is not metabloised in the intestines, rather in the liver, where it is unable to convert it into energy (sucrose) and it sent out directly as fat, to our storage lockers, in perpetuity. Whereas sucrose is metabolised in the intestines, sent out to the bloodsteam as energy fuel. Is this true, partly true ????

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    That is a fascinating distinction…we will look into it for you and see if we can source it from a credible study or expert.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Donald,

    We will be writing an upcoming article on the sugar alcohols, including xylitol, maltitol, and erythritol. Stay tuned!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Canola in your juice? Wow! Thank you for your feedback. We will explore the liver issue a bit more.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    You got it!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Stay tuned! It’s a comin’.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Read, read, read and stay informed!

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • http://naturalhealthsherpa.com Natural Health Sherpa

    Shirley,

    Thank you for your feedback! We agree that whole foods and less sugars is the key to health. So watch the juicer. It strips the fiber and turns the “whole food” into nutrient-dense sugar water. If you want to juice, use a high-speed blender so you liquify and consume the entire food.

    Naturally yours,

    The Sherpa

  • Shirley Gekler

    Thanks for your suggestion, I edited my original message in accordance with your suggestion of the high power blender, that in fact was what I was really trying to say. 

  • Tony Phylactou

    I had my first gout attack about 10 years ago.
    At the beginning I was having attacks every 6 months. Then gradually I was getting them 
    every 3 months, then every month and eventually every week.
    It started at my big toe and then it was moving sometimes in my knees,and generally all 
    around my joints, in my feet.And the pain was agonising.
    I have tried all the cures you can imagine.I tried ACV, lemons, drinking a lot of water, but 
    to no avail.I tried water fasting, juice fasting,baking soda, again without success.
    I almost gave up meat, limiting it  to only once a week ,gave up alcohol completely,again 
    no success.
    I was living on  vegetables, lots and lots of fresh fruit, milk ,cheese beans and so on .My 
    eating habits could not be healthier ,or so I thought.But my gout was worsening.
    Then I decided to increase the amount of fruit I was consuming, thinking that if some fruit 
    is healthy, more fruit will be more healthy.Some days I was eating fruit only ,others over 10 
    portions a day.
    And alas my gout instead of improving it became chronic ,it was there all the time. 
    I was desperate I did not know what to do.
    And then one day accidentally I read an article about fructose,which is contained in fruit in 
    large quantities.It said that it increases uric acid, in a matter of minutes.
    Fructose is also present in table sugar, and  in HFCS, which is used in soft drinks.
    I put two and two together and realised what I was doing wrong.
    I stopped eating fruit and all other sugars, for a period of 3 weeks,and by magic I saw a 
    dramatic improvement.Pain was gone, swelling was gone, I was fine.
    I re introduced fruit again in my diet but reducing them to 1 or 2 a day, and my gout completely 
    disappeared.
    I do eat more meat now, and occasionally have an alcoholic drink, and thank God  everything 
    seems to be fine.
    Fructose was my enemy.

  • .jackie

    i have gout since 1975 there’s only way to stop the attacks is by medication
    of course stay away from some foods,its hard to believed ,that you did not have your blood tested i control my gout with med if you had a bad gout attack it takes about a week to get rid of the uric acid i suffered many yrs i know that your story is hard to come by

  • rozany

    corn is “natural?” isn’t most of it, these days, genetically-modified?

  • Worksida

    Thanks for the info. Great reminder for me to keep it as real as possible.

  • Kim Houghton

    I needed that reminder. Your article made me question my use of maple syrup. I buy it when we make pancakes because it seems healthier than other options, but am I right about that?

  • RKentspeth

    Have there been any studies done about agave nectar, and its impact on health?  I understand the reasoning in your article, but would like to see it accompanied by some well-designed studies.  Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.gekler Shirley Gekler

    Thank you for this article.   Your explanation as to the composition of table sugar (a  50/50 mix of glucose and fructose) and High Fructose Corn Syrup used in sodas (a mix of 45/55 mix of glucose and fructose) doesn’t at first seem to be so different, but it is everywhere, sodas, processed foods.  The HFCS in Coke  -  12 oz can   39grams   — 20 oz bottle  65grams.  When we receive fructose in  fruits, we are also getting phytochemicals and fibres which are needed for our good health.

    Agave syrup basically HFCS — depending on the processing has a 57%-90% fructose content which doesn’t qualify as the health food that was promoted.  I think this is a case where the processing may have taken a good item and completely ruined for human consumption.

    Thanks for making the complex simple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirley.gekler Shirley Gekler

     RKentspeth:  Rather than summarize the information found by a simple google search, I would suggest that you google “agave nectar bad”.  You will find an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, which will explain the subject in great detail.

    I believe that the team at Natural Health Sherpa did research this information prior to writing the above article.  But it is always good to read two well researched articles that give the same basic message.  Perhaps it gives more credibilty.  I trust that his reply is helpful for you as well as others.

  • Tonyccc2531941

    I had my first gout attack about 10 years ago.
    At the beginning I was having attacks every 6 months. Then gradually I was getting them 
    every 3 months, then every month and eventually every week.
    It started at my big toe and then it was moving sometimes in my knees,and generally all 
    around my joints, in my feet.And the pain was agonising.
    I have tried all the cures you can imagine.I tried ACV, lemons, drinking a lot of water, but 
    to no avail.I tried water fasting, juice fasting,baking soda, again without success.
    I almost gave up meat, limiting it  to only once a week ,gave up alcohol completely,again 
    no success.
    I was living on  vegetables, lots and lots of fresh fruit, milk ,cheese beans and so on .My 
    eating habits could not be healthier ,or so I thought.But my gout was worsening.
    Then I decided to increase the amount of fruit I was consuming, thinking that if some fruit 
    is healthy, more fruit will be more healthy.Some days I was eating fruit only ,others over 10 
    portions a day.
    And alas my gout instead of improving it became chronic.
    I was desperate I did not know what to do.
    And then one day accidentally I read an article about fructose,which is contained in fruit in 
    large quantities.It said that it increases uric acid, in a matter of minutes.
    Fructose is also present in table sugar, and  in HFCS, which is used in soft drinks.
    I put two and two together and realised what I was doing wrong.
    I stopped eating fruit and all other sugars, for a period of 3 weeks,and by magic I saw a 
    dramatic improvement.Pain was gone, swelling was gone, I was fine.
    I re introduced fruit again in my diet but reducing them to 1 or 2 a day, and my gout completely 
    disappeared.
    I do eat more meat now, and occasionally have an alcoholic drink, and thank God  everything 
    seems to be fine.
    Fructose was my enemy.

  • Ahammerjack

    your story about your gout attacks seems odd ,i commented on your comment before .
    just happened to come across it ,i think you got gout in your brains ,even if you stay on a diet you will get a build up uric acid ,i take allopurinol 100 mg a day or ever other day
    my last attack was when i got out of the hospital ,i was not given medication for eghit days
    in the old days ppl drank cherry juice for gout ,so they say

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  • ken

    the formula for hfcs was finalized in 1975 and from that time was introduced for commerical use. by 1980 a natural health magazine reported that obesity and diabetes was sharply on the rise,reason unknown ! the article above implies that hfcs and sugar are similar but you see they are not ! sugar has a chemical bond between fructose and glucose, whereas hfcs does not. the article above stated this and this statement alone would logically alert anybody that hfcs and sugar are not the same. hfcs is man made and is not natural and anything that is unnatural cannot be processed by the body the same way that a natural substance is processed. when hfcs is ingested the brain does not reckonize a natural substance and does not process it as being natural thus no signal is sent to the pancreas to produce insulin to regulate the blood sugar. because of this the blood sugar stays spiked. the pancreas is taken out the process and the result of this is the reason that we have an obesity and diabetes epidemic now !!

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