Simple Sugars

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We all enjoy the sweet taste of sugar. We love sugar in our coffee and tea, on our cereal, in our favorite recipes and, of course, in desserts. Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates that consist of sucrose (molecular compound of disaccharide derived from glucose and fructose), lactose (found mostly in milk and is formed from galactose and glucose extracted from sweet or sour whey) and fructose (fruit sugar and simple monosaccharide).

Table sugar or sucrose coming is by far the most popular form of sugar sweetener with about 150,000,000 tons of table sugar produced annually in the US from sugar cane and sugar beet. Originally people chewed sugarcane to extract the sweetness. It began being manufactured for use in ancient India. We know this due to documentation from China validating the travels made to seek out sugar refining technology from India in 647AD.

In our indulgence, or should we say our over indulgence of sugar, obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes has crept into the picture. While most gym athletes and dieters know to avoid simple sugars when possible, they might not know the special danger to the body that lurks in a simple carbohydrate called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS manufacturers try to “educate” the public with the fact that their product is “natural” and identical to actual sugar, going so far today medical science says otherwise. In fact, HFCS manufacturers are going so far today to change the rename this ingredient on packages as, “Corn sugar.” While simple sugars should be limited, HFCS should be totally avoided as it builds insulin resistance and leads to a cascade of negative biochemical consequences.

Here is the 411 on High Fructose Corn Syrup. High Fructose Corn Syrup was discovered in 1957 by two laboratory researchers who created an enzyme called glucose isomerase that quite incredibly rearranged the molecular composition of glucose in corn syrup and converted it to the far sweeter sugar fructose.

Over time, in the U.S., where corn was plentiful and corn syrup was very inexpensive to produce, High Fructose Corn Syrup replaced sugar and became the darling new sweetener in the rapidly industrializing 1970’s. How much High Fructose Corn Syrup is produced today?  Just one Cargill plant in Eddyville produces enough High Fructose Corn Syrup to sweeten over 30 million cans of soda daily!

Does that sound scary? How about the fact that the average person in America consumes over 70 pounds of High Fructose Corn Syrup a year? That is truly frightening given the fact that there are a myriad of studies showing that High Fructose Corn Syrup increases obesity and insulin resistance, stimulates the liver to produce dangerous triglycerides, promotes the destructive glycation of proteins and is associated with increased rates of carbonyl compounds which are blamed for diabetic complications such as foot ulcers and eye and nerve damage. Even worse, a pilot study of High Fructose Corn Syrups manufactured in the U.S. showed trace amounts of mercury.