On nutrition labels, sugar is just sugar. But when it comes to how the body metabolizes that sugar, there are two very different molecules that make up what we think of as table sugar. There’s glucose, the more easily metabolized of the two that provides most of the body’s energy, and fructose, which can only be processed in the liver and is associated with Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

High fructose corn syrup is an industrial food product and far from 'natural' or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks through a very secret process known only very few people even with the industry. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup.

The average Albanian increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero until the 1990’s to more than approximately 20 kilograms per person per year. The calculation is based on the amount of the sugary drinks and processed food average per capita consumption in Albania. During this time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than five-fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.

The worlds’ biggest sugary and soda makers, which are present even in Albania, officially report that 55% of the sugar in their products is corn syrup, but independent media demonstrates that sometimes the corn syrup makes even 78% of the sugar in the packaged beverages.

High fructose corn syrup is almost always found in very poor quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease-promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals and even mercury.

Some basic biochemistry will help you understand this. Regular cane sugar, sucrose is made of two-sugar molecules bound tightly together — glucose and fructose in equal amounts. The enzymes in your digestive tract must break down the sucrose into glucose and fructose, which are then absorbed into the body.

HFCS also consists of glucose and fructose, not in a 50-50 ratio, but a 55-45 fructose to glucose ratio in an unbound form. Fructose is sweeter than glucose. And HFCS is cheaper than sugar because corn is much cheaper than sugarcane.

Now back to biochemistry. Since there is there is no chemical bond between them, no digestion is required, so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol). This is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver”. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin — our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both of these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.

The last reason to avoid products that contain HFCS is that they are a marker for poor-quality, nutritionally depleted, processed industrial food full of empty calories and artificial ingredients. If you find “high fructose corn syrup” on the label, you can be sure it is not a whole, real, fresh food full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Stay away if you want to stay healthy. We still must reduce our overall consumption of sugar, but with this one simple dietary change you can radically reduce your health risks and improve your health./AgroWeb.org