You’ve told yourself that you’re not going to eat anymore sugar this week. You threw away all of the Nutter Butters in your desk at work, opted not to put sugar in your morning oatmeal and you swore off on soda. There’s one problem: high fructose corn syrup won’t let you be great.
There are six different kinds of sugar:
- Glucose: Simple sugar that can be carried in the blood; can be found in honey, fruits and vegetables.
- Fructose: Simple sugar that occurs naturally in fruit and honey.
- Sucrose: Commonly known as table sugar, it occurs naturally in sugar and found in plants.
- Lactose: Milk sugar, which makes up less than 5% of cow’s milk.
- Maltose: Two joined-up glucose molecules, found in barley.
- High fructose corn syrup: Corn syrup where half of the glucose has been converted into fructose, and is chemically very similar to sucrose.
What biologically happens to the body when people crave sugar? Simple sugar glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream and then distributed to all the cells in our body when we consume food. While glucose in moderate levels is important to brain function and acts a major fuel source for the body’s nervous system, higher levels of sugar consumption in children and adults can have serious negative health impacts.
There is evidence that sugar stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain as opioids and dopamine and might have the potential to be addictive. Studies have also shown that humans and animals who show signs of being addicted to sugar,experience symptoms of withdraw once sugar is removed from their diet.
High fructose corn syrup is a special kind of sugar that has been proven to increase glycemic index levels, contains calories that contributes little to no nutritional value and increases the risk of diabetes. High fructose corn syrup is in everything, including many of your favorite healthy snacks. Items like breakfast cereal, yogurt, nutrition bars and even salad dressings contain high fructose corn syrup.
Since high fructose corn syrup is found in processed food, the first step would be to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables still provide you sugar, but in a much healthier way. Cut out, or reduce, soda from your diet and substitute with water or sparkling water. Fast food items contain a tremendous amount of high fructose corn syrup. To resist the urge to pull up to a drive-thru window, keep healthy snacks in the car like nuts or trail mix.
By Doctor Garth Graham, former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ad president of the Aetna Foundation, which is overseeing a Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge with “Healthy Beverage Zones.”