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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sweetness and Light

I’ve been doing some research lately my dear cyber sisters and I have concluded and yes, you may quote me…. High Fructose corn syrup is a motherfucker.

Now I realize this statement is quite bold and somewhat brash, but the truth often is. Let me mix no words here. Let me fully assert my opinion - “grey” is a fabulous colour- but the only place is belongs is on a PRADA summer runway. Fences were made to keep people in or out- not to sit on. PICK A SIDE....

High Fructose corn syrup or as many of you may now refer to it ; “the motherf*&ker” is also called glucose-fructose syrup in Canada. It comprises a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert glucose into fructose and then has been mixed with pure corn syrup. (essentially the sweetening equivalent of an "acrylic blend")

The most widely used form of high fructose corn syrup is HFCS-55 which as the name suggests is 55% fructose, 45% glucose. This form is used in most soft drinks and sugar drinks. HFCS-42 (again 42% fructose) is used in most baked goods, while HFCS-90is used in most candies.

The benefit of this Mother of a molecule is it is cheap and sweetens like no other. Import taxes on foreign sugar have raised the price of sucrose, while the government in the US and Canada have offered a significant amount of subsidies to corn growers. This amounts to HFCS being a relatively cheap alternative to beet sugar or other forms of sucrose.

High fructose corn syrup was first produced by Marshall and Moffat in 1957 and was mass produced for industry in Japan in the late 1960's. From 1975-1985 it was as common in processed foods as a Madonna remix at a gay pride parade.

And now, my cyber sisters... a lesson in sweetness....

Cane sugar and beet sugar are essentially pure sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide- meaning it is composed of two monosacharides (glucose and fructose) put together with a relatively weak bond. Think of sucrose as a fabulous power suit, while fructose is this season's boyfriend jacket. Both do the job- but for different occasions.

Honey has a glucose/fructose ratio very similar to HFCS and in fact the motherfucker has been used to "stretch" honey during production.

Make no mistake, sugar is sugar regardless of the source. Cane, Beet or Honey if eaten in large quantities will still make your ass look big. It does not matter if the sugar source is a rainforest in Peru, a sugar beet in Saskatchewan or the product of a bunch of honey bees vomitting for queen and country.

However, there appears to be more to the High Frcutose Corn Syrup than just the sugar itself....In fact, recent studies have shown just what an asshole this sweetner really is.

A study published in the Journal of Nephrology on July 1, 2010, looked at HFCS consumption in 4528 American adults. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Health and found taht those inidvuals drinking more thhan 75 grams of fructose per day (2.5 sugary drinks per day) had the highest rate of high blood pressure. This study controlled for all other risk factors for hypertension including age, obesity, family history and smoking.

A further study out of the University of Colorado in 2007 looked at the effects of fructose on certain metabolic factors in otherwise healthy men. Two groups of men (12 in each group) were fed two different diets for 4 weeks. One group had a diet rich in fructose the other rich in glucose. The high fructose group had a significant increase in their blood pressure, abdominal fat and insulin levels compared to the glucose group after only four weeks.

One of the theories as to why frucotse is so toxic is that it breaks down in the body to uric acid, which in high levels increases blood pressure and insulin levels and cardiovascular risk in the body.

Interestingly, fruit in its raw form does not have the same effect as fructose. The theory behind this is that the fibre and Vitamin C in fruit counteract the effect of fructose.

Look, I know that that fructose is not the only thing to blame here In fact I have never been a fan of just holding one culprit accountable. I like to blame multiple people and have them share the resposibility for the world's current state of affairs. Last week it was the skinny jean, the week before it was BP oil, next week is really a crap shoot. Who knows who will disappoint me in the next 7 days?

But for now, I have raged a war on all fruit juices, jams, canned soups and cereals. Our pantry is now down to one single cupboard which contains mostly spices and a few cans of tuna (more on mercury at a later date).

No it won't solve the world's problems but at least I can sit on my high horse for another few hours and feel a sense of self importance that no sugar rush could even hope to compare to.... so it is written, so it shall be done.

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