How Sugar & HFCS Cause Obesity

Sugar & high fructose corn syrup: How they make you fat and what you can do about it

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I recently read two articles about sugar, and what it does to your body, especially sugar in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I’m telling you, it made me want to give up sugar for life (although I’ve done that several times already). Not that I EVER consume HFCS, but sugar is another matter.

There’s sugar – the pure, white, super-sweet, refined stuff that most of us know as sugar, and then there are all the unrefined or natural forms of sugar: agave nectar, brown rice syrup, sucanat, date sugar, maple syrup, molasses, honey, and so on.

As far as the body is concerned, it’s all sugar. Ask any diabetic if you doubt it.

Also, and I don’t have real scientific data to back this up –  I think that sugar interferes with digestion, and compromises the immune system. It does that to me, and besides, all the other health nuts agree with me!

My theory is that sugar, being empty calories, strips good stuff from the digestive system on the way through, preventing us from absorbing the vitamins, enzymes and minerals in other foods.

Sugar also upsets the natural acid/alkaline balance and acidifyies the body, creating conditions like IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Candida etc. 

Maybe the healthy sugar alternatives, having their own nutrient packages, don’t do that, but I wouldn’t bet the farm.

Pete Sedesse, 5.25.10 on Helium:

“There are many dangers to having too much sugar in your diet. One major concern is with the amount of calories they cause you to eat. This is because not only is sugar high in calories, but it often is consumed in foods that are digested rapidly, leaving you feeling hungry quickly.

Excess sugar intake is also a contributor to developing diabetes, especially in children. Sugar also leads to the development of obesity because as the body is using the sugar as energy, it is storing carbohydrates.”


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So that’s how sugar makes you fat. Does it make any difference if you eat small amounts of sugar in foods such as home baked desserts with whole grains, dried fruit, nuts & seeds?

Foods with complex carbohydrates will digest more slowly, compared to ice cream, or sugared drinks, but the sugar will still add to the calorie count, and will still be empty calories in your diet.

Pete Sedesse tells how to replace sugar in your diet:


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“Foods high in sugar will also cause you to feel hungry because they are digested very rapidly.  Once you eat, the sugar is absorbed by the body, and your stomach is left empty.  An empty stomach causes your brain to make you feel hungry. 

The answer to this problem is fiber.  Fiber is a part of many foods that is not digested.  Because the body cannot digest fiber, it sits in your stomach and small intestines longer and prevents your stomach from feeling empty. 

Foods such as oatmeal, fruits and vegetables are all high in fiber and will keep you feeling full longer.”

And then there’s high fructose corn syrup, which the food industry has renamed “corn sugar” because people were freaking out about it. There has been a big campaign promoting the harmlessness of corn sugar, formerly known as HFCS.

Pete Sedesse has this to say about HFCS:

” Fructose is a strange sugar as far as metabolism goes.  It contains the same amount of calories as glucose, but it is not recognized by the brain as an energy source when dealing with hunger. 

The result of this is that your blood can be flooded with fructose which is being used as energy, but your brain can still be telling you that you are hungry because it is detecting low glucose levels. 

It is for this reason that foods like Coca Cola are so dangerous.  You are consuming huge amounts of calories in the form of high fructose corn syrup, but your brain is not getting the message and is telling you that you need to consume more food.”

So much for the harmlessness of HFCS (aka corn sugar).

Another article, in VegSource, referred to a Princeton study published last year, in which some rats were fed HFCS while others were not. (I know, animal research – ick):

“A study from Princeton published in the February issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior (PDF) shows that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), used as a cheap sweetener in everything from Coke to Progresso Soup, is not the same as table sugar, namely for the way that it makes you gain 48% more weight.”

“Since HFCS was introduced into the American food supply as a cost-effective sweetener, the population’s obesity rate has shot up from 15% in 1970 to nearly 33% today.”

I suspect that popular foods such as Big Macs and Doritos have also had something to do with the obesity rate. Would it be as high without the soft drinks? Probably not.  I don’t doubt that HFCS is just plain evil, while regular sugar isn’t far behind.

Here’s the problem for me: I’m a sugar addict. That’s right, sugar is addictive, and I was born a sugar addict. I feel so much better when I eat no sugar at all, and I’ve stayed off it for as long as three years.

But I always fall off the wagon. It doesn’t make me fat, because I don’t ever eat all that much sugar, even on my worst days, when I’ll go through half a bag of chocolate chips, or a dozen oreo cookies. Plus I’m eating my healthy vegan diet at the same time.

What sugar does to me: It gives me indigestion, and weakens my immune system, so I get sick. I’m convinced that if I never ate sugar again, I’d probably never catch another cold.

I’m knocking on wood as I say that, because I live with grandchildren who eat a small amount of sugar (never HFCS), and bring home every virus circulating in the school system.

But still, it’d be an interesting research project. With no rats! To compare a group of adult men and women who eat a healthy vegan diet and no sugar, with a group who eat a healthy vegan diet including sugar, for several years.

Study the incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, etc. and see who wins. I already know the outcome. The no-sugar vegans will win hands down.

Depressing. I can just hear those little candida organisms cheering down there in my leaky gut.

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One Response to “How Sugar & HFCS Cause Obesity”

  1. Mark says:

    Interesting & good article. They way I work it – avoid refined sugars as much as possible. As described they really do mess with our systems & make is obese.
    Natural sugars are essential to the body and we have to be careful not to demonise natural sugars.
    Natural sugars are those found in fruits n vegetaables as nature intended them to be.
    The other issue to watch out for, is firms demonise sugar to push sweeteners, which are not healthier & have far bigger problems.

    Stick to natural sugars & avoid refined & processed as much as possible.
    You can find some great info on this @
    http://www.drjoeesposito.com/
    & do sign up for his newsletters, as it gives you access to the radio shows that cover all of this.

    Before anyone starts stating natural sugars in fruit n veg are bad & fattening – Ive recently lost a stone in weight by increasing the amount of natural smoothies & juices in my diet.
    I feel far better than I did before, lots more energy with a clearer mind. Bring on natural sugar & dump the rest

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