Professor Robert H. Lustig talks about the dangers of consuming the sugar fructose that has been imposed on us by the food industry in this 90 minute lecture. You can download his handout [PDF] or even listen to it [Audio].
I’ve summarized most of the points he made, so that it may be easier to understand or remember:
What is fructose?
Fructose (in the form of corn syrup or sucrose) is a type of sugar (carbohydrate) that has replaced glucose “the energy of life” in many processed foods.
In which foods?
Fruit juice, sauces, ketchup, soda drinks, Pepsi, Cola, bread, candy, and many others. It’s everywhere. Especially in “diet” and “low-fat” foods. Read the labels.
What’s bad about fructose?
Inhibits leptin, the hormone responsible for making you feel ‘full’. The brain still thinks it’s starved hence more eating. It also doesn’t trigger insulin, so (similar to the toxin alcohol) only the liver can metabolize it while risking liver disease. It eventually causes a metabolic syndrome: obesity, type 2 diabetes, lipid problems, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Why is it in our food?
Pure economics: It’s cheaper, more abundant, and sweeter than glucose. In combination with the removal of fiber, foods get longer shelf life and cook faster; fast food.
What should I do?
- Only drink water, fresh milk and fresh squeezed fruit juice.
- Eat carbohydrates with fiber (like fruits).
- There is no cure except changing your own eating behavior.
- Promote awareness by telling your friends, relatives, and people you know.
What good is fiber?
- Reduce intestinal carbohydrate absorption rate.
- Increases speed of intestinal transit inducing the feeling of being ‘full’.
- Lowers absorption of some free fatty acids in the colon and suppresses insulin (unfortunately, that also means more gas).
Exercise is NOT for burning calories!
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Reduce stress and cortisol release
- Higher energy expenditure = Feeling good
- Detoxifies fructose
Also worth mentioning: Cola contains high amounts of salt that is masked by high fructose. Salt makes the body loses water so you become thirstier. It’s made to make you drink and eat more.