Sugar, Sugar

2 08 2011

There are several types of sweetness to be found in Nature. And some things that appear very sweet can be potentially very dangerous, especially when they appear natural but are artificial alterations. All sugars are forms of carbohydrates which include not only sugars but starches as well. Sugars are further classified into simple or complex. Simple sugars contain one or two types of sugars. Glucose and fructose are examples of simple sugars. Fructose is commonly found in fruits. Glucose is also often referred to as “blood sugar” because it is a main source of energy for our bodies. Sucrose or ordinary table sugar is a combination of fructose and glucose in a one to one ratio. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is syrup made from corn that has undergone a process to convert some of the glucose into varying percentages of fructose; thus it is a glucose-fructose blend.

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism[1] looked at the cardiovascular risk in people consuming large amounts of sweetened beverages. The study looked at 48 volunteers age 18-40. The researchers looked at an intake of 25% of total calories comprised of glucose, fructose or HFCS. They measured such known cardiovascular risk factors as triglycerides, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B (apoB- a type of protein associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease) after two weeks on the various sugars. They concluded that these “risk factors for coronary heart disease” will increase significantly with consumption of fructose or HFCS that supplies at least 25% of daily calories. Of note, the fructose that is available in sweetened beverages is often rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. The fructose that is found in fruits often has the absorption modulated by other compounds found within the fruit. While the current HHS/USDA recommendations allow for up to 25% of daily calories from such sources as HFCS sweetened beverages, discretion might dictate consuming considerably less. While a teaspoon of sugar can help the medicine go down, that teaspoon of sugar may be the reason you need medication in the first place.

[1] (Stanhope, Bremer, & Medici, 2011)




One response

4 08 2011

I think these sweetened sodas and the like should have a warning label on them or else be taxed so much that people would give them up.

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