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Sugar and Fructose – The best post yet on the causes of the epidemic of chronic illness

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We are close now to a strong agreement that the epidemic of chronic illness is diet related and that sugar and fructose is at the heart of it.

This chart showing sugar consumption is I think the smoking gun for looking at the role of sugar and now fructose in the epidemic of chronic illness.

This article – link here – is complete. It goes into depth on the process by which sugar and then fructose affects us and some people more than others. All who care about their health should read this. All who are in health care should too – for  we have to acknowledge that, until now, we must have been wrong. Our failure to make progress is the proof.

Here are the facts about the load:

Sugar consumption continued to increase in the 1900s, with an overall doubling in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1900 and 1967 (34). By 1993, >110 million tons of sugar were produced worldwide (33). Whereas sugar intake continues to be marked in the industrialized nations, it is in the developing countries that the greatest increase in the rates of sugar consumption has been observed (35 ). By the early 1970s, an additional sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), was introduced in the United States, which had certain advantages over table sugar with relation to shelf life and cost. This sweetener, the composition of which is similar to that of sucrose, is used extensively to sweeten soft drinks, fruit punches, pastries, and processed foods. The combination of table sugar and HFCS has resulted in an additional 30% increase in overall sweetener intake over the past 40 y, mostly in soft drinks. Currently, consumption of these sweeteners is almost 150 lb (67.6 kg) per person per year (36), which has resulted in the ingestion of >500 kcal/d (37; Figure 1).

Here they make the connection:

 recent history in the United States has shown that, although a low-fat intake has been promoted, rates of obesity have continued to increase as sugar consumption has continued. In addition, recent studies showing that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has no adverse cardiovascular effects (4041) suggest that it is time to revisit the causes of the cardiorenal disease epidemic. In 2002, Havel’s group (37) made the case that the fructose content of sugar may be the critical component associated with the risks of obesity and heart disease. Sucrose is a disaccharide consisting of 50% fructose and 50% glucose, and HFCS is also a mixture of free fructose and glucose of approximately the same proportion (55:45).

There are some striking epidemiologic associations between sugar intake and the epidemic of cardiorenal disease. For example, obesity was initially seen primarily in the wealthy, who would have been the only ones able to afford sugar. Also, the first documentation of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity occurred in the very countries (England, France, and Germany) where sugar first became available to the public. The rise in sugar intake in the United Kingdom and the United States (Figure 1) also correlates with the rise in obesity rates observed in these countries. Furthermore, the later introduction of sugar to developing countries also correlates with the later rise in their rates of obesity and heart disease. A series of epidemiologic studies linked the ingestion of soft drinks to obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (4243) and the consumption of fruit juice and fruit punch to obesity in children (4445). Although these epidemiologic associations suggest a potential causal role, are there any direct experimental data to show that sucrose or fructose can induce obesity or hypertension?

Please invest the time to go further. Link here.

 

Coke vs Juice – which is the healthier choice? Neither!

Many schools have replaced pop with juice in their vending machines. Many parents encourage their kids to drink juice. After all juice is the healthier choice. But sadly it is not.

Fruit juice has as much sugar as most soft drinks. Worse the “sugar” in juice is Fructose and we can only absorb about 25 grams of Fructose. The rest goes to the liver to be converted into fat and also creates many other problems.

It appears we can absorb, at any one time, up to 25 grams of fructose. Now what is 25 grams? A glass of orange juice has up to 14 grams of fructose, a can of Coke sometimes has 15 to 16 grams of fructose, so you have a rough idea of how much 25 grams is. If you exceed that amount at any one time, individuals with limited fructose absorptive capacity can not absorb this substance and can get symptoms.

What are the symptoms of fructose intolerance?

The usual symptoms are bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea, constipation–indigestion and sometimes excessive belching. These are common symptoms that a number of patients with this condition describe. (Source)

It is best that we avoid juice altogther. Here also is a useful table that shows us how much fructose is in fruit itself. Again keep the 25 grams threshold in mind:

Source Richard Johnson

Many might say “We have always eaten fruit!”. True but remember the conditions under which we ate it. Wild fruit is not sweet compared to modern fruit. Ever had a wild apple? Almost inedible. Apples were all converted to cider for thousands of years. We would have also had to compete with all the birds and insects. I almost never get more than a few cherries off my tree even today.

Fruit would have been hard work and transitory. Without a global food system it still would be. No oranges in Canada and no bananas. People my age still remember getting an orange in their stocking – it was such a treat back in the day.

So what do you drink when you are not drinking alcohol? We drank alcohol from the beginning as it enabled us to keep the fruit and also eat fruit that we could not eat on its own because it was too bitter (The apple again) Why not water? Why do our kids have to drink sugar?

 

A wonderful historic context for the sugar hypthesis

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There are 2 more in the series.

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Comments

  • matt: isn't the "sugar" in soda high fructose corn syrup? why do y...
  • Caroline Cooper: Hi Rob, Nice to see you're writing again. I have been thi...
  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...
  • nj: Rob, check out the chart here for a broader perspective on a...

What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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