Halloween Candy

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

The now proven false claim that saturated fat causes heart health issues caused many to switch to a low or no-fat diet for decades. Naturally, children were affected also, and obesity rates climbed as a result. The problem is that low-fat foods contain higher amounts of added sugar and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) to make them more palatable after removing wholesome fats.

Along with the high carbohydrate craze, TV commercials got kids to insist on cereals with lots of added sugars and HFCS. Families also indulged in microwave oven prepared quick sugary breakfast foods and processed foods for other meals also promoted on TV.

The result has been disastrous as a multitude of ills based on metabolic disorders that introduce type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems have increased despite the low or no fat food craze, which is only now slowly beginning to fade as more discoveries reveal how saturated whole fats are healthy.

Leave it to Dr. Robert Lustig, University of California San Francisco professor of pediatric endocrinology, to come up with a study model to further prove the culprits behind our rising epidemic of obesity, metabolic disorders (prediabetes), diabetes, and even heart disease is not dietary fat, but dietary added sugar and HFCS.

Dr. Lustig has dedicated himself to long term epidemiological and biological studies as part of his crusade against the enormous increase of added sugars in our foods and HFCS in sodas with the correlation to increased obesity, metabolic disorders, and poor heart health.

His fascinating lengthy live San Francisco video lecture, “Sugar, the Bitter Truth,” went very viral a couple of years ago. It was dynamically captivating enough to hold many people’s attention despite its length.

Don’t confuse whole fruit fructose with commercial corn syrup fructose or HFCS. The latter is artificially synthesized and highly condensed fructose that gives more sweetness and flavoring to processed foods at lower costs than cane or beet sugars.

Besides being produced from GMO corn with its absorbed glyphosate levels, traces of mercury are carried over from the manufacturing process.

The Recent Lustig Led University Human Study

The researchers decided to use children who were obese and experiencing metabolic disorder (prediabetic). The two often go hand-in-hand. Minority children were selected as subjects because their metabolic disorder obesity profiles are high.

The study’s purpose was to determine whether isocaloric (equal calorie) substitution of starch for sugar would improve metabolic parameters in 27 Latino and 16 African-American children with obesity and metabolic syndrome aged 8 through 18, with a mean age of 13.

No attempt was made to change the essential dietary food habits of the children. Foods provided were purchased from nearby regular supermarkets. Their processed and junk food levels remained the same except for their sugar content.

Sugar caloric intake was reduced from 28% to 10%. The missing calorie count from the decreased sugar was compensated by an equivalent amount of calories using starchy foods.

The study diet contained comparable percentages of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as their reported normal diets. Chips and pizza were not excluded. They were not converted to a whole food organic diet. Foods loaded with added sugars such as high-sugar cereals, pastries and sweetened yogurt were excluded.

The purpose was to determine any changes in metabolic markers and weight differences resulting from nine days of less added sugar/HFCS while maintaining the same amount of calories as their normal diets provided.

By introducing only one dietary change into the study, it would be easy to deduce whatever measurable physiological and metabolic changes that did occur would be linked to the sole difference in their diet – less sugar and HFCS. This was a very clever arrangement for a short trial with only 43 subjects.

The researchers determined that only 10 of the 43, 16 male and 27 female, had no significant weight change after the nine days of reduced sugar diets. The other 33 averaged just under two pounds of weight loss each.

Mt. Sinai Icahen Scholl of Medicine’s chief endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Mechanick commented this study has questioned the supposition that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie,” regardless of the food consumed.

Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number indicating the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests, was reduced significantly, as were lactate, triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol blood levels. Glucose tolerance and hyperinsulinemia (excess insulin) also improved significantly.

These improved markers for metabolic disorder or prediabetes in such a short time with only one dietary change are very significant.

It should be noted that the starchy foods used as substitute calories for reduced sugar and HFCS were of the refined type, such as breads, pastas, and pizzas that comprise the bulk of the standard American diet (SAD).

There are many who claim that refined carbohydrates offer the same blood sugar (glucose) negative consequences as added dietary sugars in processed and junk foods. This study seems to indicate otherwise.

The research team concluded:

“Isocaloric fructose [sugar] restriction improved surrogate metabolic parameters in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome irrespective of weight change.”

The complete study report is here.

Translation, metabolic disorders among the kids were improved with less sugar or high density fructose (half glucose half fructose) in their diets even if some of them didn’t lose weight.

“We took kids who are sick and we made them healthy,” said Lustig. “We didn’t completely reverse it, but within 10 days we went a very long way in reversing their metabolic dysfunction, with no change in calories… .”

More on HFCS Specifically

Other factors with HFCS include an inability to convert its fructose into energy directly. Fructose heads straight for the liver to be metabolized. Instead of it completely becoming glucose for cellular metabolic energy, a good portion of it becomes fat.

The nearly exponential increase of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) over the past few decades is attributable to the similar increase of HFCS (or corn syrup) added to beverages and used in processed and junk foods to stimulate addiction.

A previous study by this same group using healthy adults demonstrated changes in liver fat within 7 days of fructose restriction.

Sugar is Addictive and Toxic

Lustig points out how sugar works on the reward system of the brain. The more you consume the more you want. That’s why sugar and HFCS are added to even foods that aren’t meant to be sweet. It keeps people coming back for more.

He also mentions how the study on reducing sugar for children argues that the health detriments of sugar, and fructose specifically, are independent of its caloric value or effects on weight.

Much of Lustig’s work focuses on proving all the ills that were supposed be prevented by restricting dietary fat have failed because sugar and high density fructose were proportionately added significantly to become ubiquitous in processed foods.

Regarding the “empty calories” label of sugar, Lustig had once commented, “It’s not about the calories,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the calories. It’s a poison by itself.

Here’s Lustig’s TedTalk. The lecture that went viral is much longer, but you can access it on YouTube as “Sugar, the Bitter Truth.”