The Bitter Truth About High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Drinking less high sugar beverages may be the best single way to curb the obesity epidemic
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is now the most popular added sweetener in the American diet, which makes it pretty hard to avoid completely. But there are some good reasons to limit your consumption of soda, sports drinks and other beverages that include HFCS, especially if you're trying to lose weight.
Honey contains fructose (fruit sugar), as do most fruits and some vegetables. It's the sweetest naturally occurring sugar. Ordinary table sugar is a mixture of glucose (better known as the sugar in your blood) and fructose. HFCS is also a mixture of glucose and fructose and is made by a process that changes some of the glucose in corn syrup into fructose. High-fructose corn syrup is as sweet as sucrose but less expensive. That's why soft-drink manufacturers switched over to using it in the mid-1980s.
Fructose once seemed like one of nutrition's good guys. Despite being among the simplest of simple carbohydrates, it has a very low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a way of measuring how much of an effect a food or drink has on blood-sugar levels. Low glycemic index foods are generally better for you.
But large amounts of fructose may have some drawbacks. It has a low glycemic index because our metabolisms aren't designed to handle a lot of it at one time. For thousands of years, the only fructose humans consumed came from fresh fruits in season. In the past 100 years or so, there's been a massive increase in our fructose intake. But we haven't gotten any better at metabolizing it.
Glucose, not fructose, is the mainstay of our energy production. Cells throughout our bodies burn glucose to power our metabolism. In contrast, fructose is broken down almost exclusively in the liver. That means it's more likely to create certain types of fats, especially those that increase the risk for heart disease. And recent work has shown that fructose may have an influence on hormones that affect how hungry or full you feel. The changes may blunt your normal sense of fullness, which could lead to overeating.
Fruit juices such as apple or white grape juice in concentrated form are widely used as sweeteners. They are used to replace fats in low-fat products because they retain water and provide bulk. This makes the product feel better in your mouth and look nicer, too.
Fruit-juice concentrates also have high levels of fructose. Concentrated apple juice, for example, is 65 percent fructose. That's higher than the 55 percent fructose content of HFCS-55 that is used in soft drinks. And fruit-juice-concentrate sweeteners don't have the vitamins, minerals and fiber of whole fruit. So fruit-juice concentrates are another way that empty calories get into our diets.
Sweeteners added to sports and juice drinks are particularly troubling because many people think those drinks are healthful. Between 1977 and 2001, our energy intake from sweetened beverages more than doubled. And studies have shown that people don't cut back on their overall calorie intake to offset the extra calories from these beverages.
Researchers are also noting other problems. Harvard scientists report that women who drink one or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day are 83 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who drink less than one a month. Not surprisingly, they are also more likely to gain weight.
Kids who drink sweet beverages get hooked on a level of sweetness that could affect their habits for a lifetime. Diet surveys have found that average American adolescents drink two 12-ounce sweetened soft drinks per day -- the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar and 300 calories.
One of the problems with sweetened beverages is that they are beverages. These watery but high-calorie drinks may trick your body. That's because your body doesn't register the calories as well as if you were to drink a thicker liquid, such as a milkshake or whole milk.
Some experts say drinking less of these sweetened beverages may be the best single way curb the obesity epidemic. Earlier this year, a Beverage Guidance Panel issued its proposed "guidance system for beverage consumption." The six-level system emphasizes beverages "with no or few calories" -- especially water -- over those with higher calorie content.
What we suggest is replacing these sweetened beverages with flavored water. You can make it by adding the juice of half a lemon or 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cranberry juice to 32 ounces of water with a sprinkle of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder . Aside from being less than 2 carbs, you will get the health benefits that the stevia provides along with the vitamin C and electrolytes that lemon have. You can substitute limes for lemons if you get bored. Click here to order stevia powder
Sugar Free Low Glycemic Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Carbs Per Serving: 2.4 g
Prep Time:<15 minutes
Skill Level: Easy
3 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups vanilla whey protein powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup Steviva Brand Stevia Blend
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup blueberries
3 ounces cream cheese, cut into 9 small cubes
non-stick spray or paper muffin liners
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 9 muffin tins with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
Combine the eggs, oil, and cream; stir to blend. Add the whey powder, baking powder, Steviva Brand Stevia Blend, cinnamon, lemon rind, and orange rind.
Stir until just combined. Do not over-stir or muffins will be tough.
Fold in the blueberries gently.
Spoon 1/2 the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each.
Fill with remaining batter, making sure batter goes completely over and around the cubes of cream cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until muffins spring back to the
touch and no longer look moist on top. Serve warm.
Nutritional Facts Per Serving:
Serving Size: 1 muffin
2 g protein
3 g total fat (0.9 g saturated fat)
4.9 g carbohydrate
3.3 g dietary fiber
.5 mg cholesterol
8 mg sodium
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