High Fructose Corn Syrup & Your Liver

There are so many mixed messages offered by the media about high fructose corn syrup and health. What can we believe?  Is there any science behind the claims and warnings? Yes. There are facts, and here are a few evidence-based resources to help you decide for yourself what makes sense to you regarding statements and claims.

The body uses sugar (glucose) for energy, fructose is a sugar from fruit, and we are told to eat a few servings of fruit a day. So what’s the big deal about sugar, glucose, ‘fructose’ and ‘high fructose’?

The answer involves recognition of how sugar is broken down (pathways of metabolism), organs that become involved (the liver, for example), the amount of work that the body has to do in order to effectively handle what we put into it (just like figuring out how to water your flower garden – careful to not over or under-water it), and the storage systems the body has available when there is too much of anything at any give time (so we avoid flooding the system).

The body uses glucose (a simple sugar) for energy. The liver works hard to handle ‘fructose’ (break it down). Too much stress on the liver (like flooding the flower garden with water) complicates the body’s metabolism on multiple levels (just as the flowers can drown if the roots get soggy). To read more about Dr. Lustig’s concerns about overloading the body with fructose, click here for a detailed, evidence-based explanation.

While the issue is hotly debated by scientists on both sides of the argument, the facts seem to be that the liver is the main organ burdened with metabolism of fructose. This point, for many in the healthcare field, represents a significant issue. Read more about the debate (click here) and decide for yourself (listen to the video as well).

Additional resources:

 

 

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