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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    We're drowning in high fructose corn syrup from overproduction of corn which makes agribusiness rich and people and livestock sick

    [...]

    Loading high fructose corn syrup into increasingly larger portions of soda and processed food has packed more calories into us and more money into food processing companies, say nutritionists and food activists. But some health experts argue that the issue is bigger than mere calories. The theory goes like this: The body processes the fructose in high fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream.

    The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more and at the same time, we are storing more fat.

    "One of the issues is the ease with which you can consume this stuff," says Carol Porter, director of nutrition and food services at UC San Francisco. "It's not that fructose itself is so bad, but they put it in so much food that you consume so much of it without knowing it."

    [...]

    So, the answer is to just avoid soda, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple, because the inexpensive, versatile sweetener has crept into plenty of other places -- foods you might not expect to have any at all. A low-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt, for example, can have 10 teaspoons of fructose-based sweetener in one serving.

    Because high fructose corn syrup mixes easily, extends shelf-life and is as much as 20 percent cheaper than other sources of sugar, large-scale food manufacturers love it. It can help prevent freezer burn, so you'll find it on the labels of many frozen foods. It helps breads brown and keeps them soft, which is why hot dog buns and even English muffins hold unexpected amounts.

    The question remains just how much more dangerous high fructose corn syrup is than other sugars.

    Fructose, as the name implies, is the sugar found naturally in fruit. It can be extracted, turned into granules and used like sugar in the kitchen. It used to be considered a healthier alternative to sucrose -- plain old table sugar. It's sweeter, so less is needed to achieve the same taste. Diabetics use it because fructose doesn't stimulate insulin production, so blood sugar levels remain stable.

    The process of pulling sugar from cornstarch wasn't perfected until the early 1970s, when Japanese researchers developed a reliable way to turn cornstarch into syrup sweet enough to compete with liquid sugar. After some tinkering, they landed on a formula that was 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose -- sweet enough and cheap enough to make most soda companies jump from liquid sugar to high fructose corn syrup by the 1980s.

    The results were dramatic. -- a whopping increase of 4,080 percent.

    [....]

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