What's Wrong with Fructose?

Summary
It could not be more clear that American corporations are running out of control. No sooner does the public become aware of one dietary danger than the industry creates ten more. In this case, the danger is highly concentrated dietary fructose. Despite solid scientific evidence of it's deadly effects, the industry is packaging it in ever more concentrated forms (HFCS and crystalline fructose), and even selling it to you as "healthy" (Agave syrup).

Eric Armstrong
TreeLight.com/Health

Acknowledgement:
I am routinely indebted to Dr. Mercola's work--in this case, to his clear explanation of the kinds of sugars that are present in the American diet. His pages, along with Dr. Lustig's exceptional lecture, are the primary sources for the information in this article.

Fructose is Dangerous

As Dr. Mercola writes, "too much fructose creates a metabolic disaster in your body". In his YouTube lecture, Dr. Lustig goes one further: "Fructose is a poison". Unbound fructose goes straight to the liver, which has to process it. And since unbound fructose is contained in virtually every soft drink and processed food we consume, we get a lot of it.

Here's why it's dangerous.

The harmful consequences are many:

Note:
There is exactly one time when fructose is helpful. After extreme exercise (like a marathon), when glycogen is completely depleted, fructose causes glycogen stores to be rebuilt more rapidly. So fruit and even sugar makes sense after severe, extreme exercise.

Fructose Antidotes

Dr. Lustig points to two natural "antidotes" for fructose:

Sugars and Starches

Clearly, the real danger lies in highly concentrated doses of fructose.

Sources of Highly Concentrated Fructose

When you start reading labels, you'll find these substances in virtually every package in a typical American grocery store. (And as soon as enough people learn to avoid them, American corporations will find some other way to entice you.)

High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is the one we knew about. Like artificial sweeteners, it's one that the public is slowly coming to avoid, as its dangers become more widely known. (See What's Wrong with High Fructose Corn Syrup?)

But think we're in the clear? Think again. The industry has been hard at work finding new better ways to produce poisons for profit. The two newest are Crystalline Fructose and Agave Syrup.

Crystalline Fructose

Dr. Mercola's pages say it best:

Agave Syrup

Dr. Merola writes, "Agave syrup, falsely advertised as 'natural', is typically HIGHLY processed and is usually 80 percent fructose. The end product does not even remotely resemble the original agave plant."

There's more on his Agave page (requires registering):

Given the high percentage of fructose, Agave syrup is simply a high-fructose syrup (HFS) made from agave, instead of from corn (HFAS, instead of HFCS). And it's being sold as a healthy alternative.

Can the FDA or USDA Do Anything?

Reading from the FDA charter, Dr. Lustig points out that the FDA has a mandate to regulate acute poisons (those that cause immediate harm), but not chronic poisons (those that cause long term harm), even when the FDA knows for a fact that the substances do in fact, produce chronic obesity and disease.

In other words, according to the FDA charter--a charter that is determined by our legislators, who are pretty much at the whim of corporate lobbyists--the FDA can do nothing at all.

The USDA, meanwhile, does nothing, because declaring our foods bad would make it impossible to export American "food" products.

Conclusion

There is no doubt whatever that American coporations play fast and loose with the facts. Despite years of documented studies on the effects of fructose, and despite the industrial high-heat processes that are used to make Agave syrup, it is marketed as a "natural", "healthy" alternative to sugar.

In short, anyone who has devoted themselves to avoiding HFCS and other egregious substances in American foods has been gulled into ingesting the exact same substance under another name.

So here I am, writing yet another article on something in the American food supply that you need to avoid to stay healthy. Nothing makes me madder than a nutritional poison that purports to be healthy. But American corporations will do anything and everything they can get away with, for the sake of profit. According to the insidious mantra of "personal responsibility", it's up to you to avoid the crap they're selling.

Well, take responsibility. Write your representatives to legislate against the ingredients those companies use. Tell them to impose punitive taxation on people who sell poisons for profit. Make the taxes retroactive, to pay for the harm they have already caused. Tax the past earnings of the executives who made the decisions, by way of civil suit if in no other way. And then put the criminals out of business.

Resources

Lectures

Articles
Register to read the articles at the Mercola site. You'll be glad you did.

Copyright © 2010 by Eric Armstrong. All rights reserved.
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