If you’ve been reading Journal for Healthy Living for any length of time, you know I’m big on natural foods. Natural, organic and whole usually equals healthy. Usually.
But there’s one “natural food” I recommend that everyone avoid. Frankly, this food could wreck your health.
All Sugars Aren’t the Same
Glucose – also called “blood sugar” – is the sugar your body uses for fuel. Your body makes glucose from the foods you eat.
Sucrose is “table sugar.” Your body can’t use it directly for fuel. It’s basically what we call “empty calories.”
Fructose is another type sugar. It occurs naturally in fruit. Like sucrose, though, your body can’t use it directly as fuel. But in the relatively small amounts it’s found in most fruits, it doesn’t pose a health risk.
But in large amounts, fructose can spell big trouble. In fact, it could wreck your health.
Fructose Fuels a Downward Spiral of Health
If fruit were your only source of fructose, you’d be fine. But for most Americans, fruit is actually a minor source of fructose. That’s because it’s become the sweetener of choice for the packaged food industry. Sodas, fruit juices, baked goods and other foods are loaded with the stuff.
You see, most of the fructose used in this country comes from corn. And the government subsidizes corn… while cane sugar imports are taxed. So fructose is cheaper to use than ordinary sugar.
Add to that the fact that foods made with fructose tend to remain “fresh” a fairly long time, and you have the makings of a health disaster.
A disaster, because fructose has been linked to the “fat epidemic”1 and many other health problems.
Fat, Sick… and Rotten Sex, Too
When Spanish researchers gave healthy men fructose for two weeks, the changes in their health were dramatic. Their blood pressure shot up… the levels of triglycerides (fat) in their blood went up, too… and their “good” cholesterol levels plummeted.2
But that’s not all. The men’s insulin levels shot up – even though their blood sugar stayed the same. Their livers started working harder, too. And according to the researchers, their chances of long-term blood sugar problems increased by as much as one third!
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, scientists at Florida’s University of Gainesville were coming to their own conclusions. Fructose, they discovered, raises the levels of uric acid in your blood. Uric acid suppresses the production of nitric oxide (NO) and increases resistance to insulin.1
And here’s a wake-up call. Because NO promotes greater blood flow, fructose may actually contribute to sexual performance problems!
In 2008, a Swiss study put the icing on the cake. A team at the University of Fribourg confirmed that fructose increases both your blood pressure and your heart rate.3
Thank that’s bad news? It gets worse…
The Natural Food That Isn’t
Most of the fructose in packaged foods isn’t the fructose found in fruit. It’s something called “high fructose corn syrup” (HFCS). And because HFCS is so much higher in fructose than unprocessed corn syrup, it’s that much more dangerous.
But chemical bonds are broken and rearranged in the manufacture of HFCS – creating a substance that does not, and cannot, occur in nature. So, high fructose corn syrup is only “natural” in a very strict, legal sense.
But in medical terms, it’s bad news. I avoid it, and I think you should, too.
To add sweetness to your food, I recommend stevia. It’s safe, genuinely natural and widely available at health food stores and online. It’s also very low in calories and won’t affect your health the way too much fructose can.
Yours In Good Health,
Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
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