Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Which Sugar is the Right Sugar?

You may be familiar with some of the controversy over high fructose corn syrup. Some scientists think the rise in consumption (we’re up to 60lbs per person per year) has driven the obesity epidemic in this country.

But is the high fructose stuff any different than table sugar, also know as sucrose?

A new study,
reported today at the Washington Post says no.

Before discussing the results, let’s take a look at the difference between high fructose corn syrup and good ol’ table sugar.

High fructose corn syrup is made up of fructose and glucose, the building blocks of sugar. Sucrose on the other hand is made up of one molecule that’s broken down into fructose and glucose by your intestine.

What do fructose and glucose do? Glucose tells your pancreas to crank out insulin. Insulin is the stuff that helps sugar cross into cells where it’s converted into energy. Glucose also cranks up
leptin production. Leptin tells your body it’s full. Another think glucose does is it tells your body to stop making ghrelin, which is stuff that tells your body it’s hungry.

Now to fructose. Fructose, according to the Post, “doesn’t stimulate either insulin of leptin production and doesn’t suppress gherlin.” What that means is that fructose doesn’t do anything to tell your body’ it’s full, or that it should stop eating. Obviously, this is not good.

But does high-fructose corn syrup really throw your body’s hunger-controlling chemicals out of whack? According to a study by the University of Rhode Island, no.

According to the Washington Post, the study showed “no differences in blood sugar, appetite hormones or hunger” between women who got a large part of their daily calories from table sugar, and those that consumed a lot of calories in the form of high fructose corn syrup. “That suggests no difference between the effects of what sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup do in the body -- at least over the short term.”

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.