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Biotech Science

Fructose As Culprit In the Obesity Epidemic 821

Posted by kdawson
from the check-your-brake-fluid dept.
drewtheman writes "According to an interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology from the University of California, San Francisco, fructose, once touted as diabetic-friendly because it doesn't raise insulin levels directly, could be a major culprit for the obesity epidemic, high blood pressure, and elevated blood levels of LDL in Americans and others worldwide as they adopt American-style diets. Fructose comprises 50% of table sugar and up to 90% of high-fructose corn syrup, both ingredients found in copious quantity in most American prepared foods."
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Fructose As Culprit In the Obesity Epidemic

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  • by janrinok (846318) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @04:58AM (#19865477)
    Excessive quantities of anything is not good for the diet. It has been known for decades that high quantities of carbohydrates can cause weight increase. The confusion here is linking fructose as being good for diabetics (yes, and it still is in reasonable quantities) and excessive consumption of fructose leading to obesity.
    • by Fyz (581804) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:50AM (#19865637)
      Ah, the infamous and controversial "Don't stuff your face" argument...
    • by eric76 (679787)
      There's much more to it than that.

      Fructose is primarily metabolized by the liver. The increased levels of fructose in the liver result in massive changes for the worse in the way the body processes sweetners and leads to a much greater induction of insulin resistance.

      That is, in an otherwise healthy population of adults, the increase in diabetes and obesity will be much greater with high fructose corn syrup than with the equivalent amount of regular sugar.

      Ever since hearing Dr. Lustig give a talk on the su
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Oswald (235719)
        This is from the transcript of the cited interview, attributed to Dr. Lustig. I'm not trying to be bitchy; I just thought you might want to know it:

        You know a lot has been made over this high fructose corn syrup being particularly evil. In fact high fructose corn syrup is either 42% or 55% fructose, the rest is glucose. Well sucrose is 50% fructose the rest is glucose. In fact high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are equally problematic.

        If you're having success with your diet, I imagine it's your common s

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:08AM (#19865497) Journal
    Thanks to those motherfuckers, the sugar growers, and the congresscritters, we pay about three times what the rest of the world pays for sugar. That's why we get that corn syrup crap in soft drinks, and so much of the rest of our food.

    -jcr

    • by MaelstromX (739241) * on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:46AM (#19865621)
      You're right, the sugar quotas and corn subsidies raise prices (directly or indirectly) for almost all consumable items. The jury is still out on whether HFCS truly is tied to obesity (there are studies that go both ways, and TFA adds as far as I can tell nothing new to the debate), but there is absolutely no question that it kills us economically.

      Just check out this research study [64.233.179.104] that estimates that subtracting the benefits of the quotas/subsidies from the costs (i.e. consumer/producer benefits of lower costs minus "oh but the poor farming corporations!") leaves the American economy almost billion dollars per year better off.
  • Well maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:12AM (#19865509) Homepage Journal
    But the smart money is still on "Burgers".

    / and no concept of portion control.
  • by axia777 (1060818) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:13AM (#19865513)
    Pie is tasty and the sky will be blue tomorrow. No shit fructose is bad for us. It is pure simple sugars. The only fructose that IS good for humans is the fruit kind. And that is not simple sugar. Don't drink Soda Pop and always check the labels for High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is says it has it, don't buy it. That shit should be illegalized in most foods.
    • by eric76 (679787)
      I agree completely with you on that. I would love to see it made illegal to add to any food.

      I keep hoping that with the high corn prices, the food producers will switch back to sugar.

      We are all being used as lab rats to test the safety of food additives. Like lab rats, many will end up dying needlessly as a result.
    • by Rosyna (80334) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @06:01AM (#19865677) Homepage
      Don't drink Soda Pop and always check the labels for High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is says it has it, don't buy it. That shit should be illegalized in most foods.

      Why? HFCS and Sugar breaks down to the same things in the body. Every study I've seen shows that HFCS is no more dangerous than Sugar. Studies that only look at the Fructose show that high amounts of Fructose is dangerous. The HFCS in soft drinks and sport drinks is not high in Fructose. The "High Fructose" part of "High Fructose Corn Syrup" means it has a high content of fructose compared to corn syrup itself (which has next to no fructose).

      In fact, a happy paper [nih.gov] at the NIH says pretty much this.
      • by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @09:30AM (#19866521)
        From my read of TFA, fructose breaks down in the body the way alcohol does. The liver has to do all the work (glucose is mainly broken down directly in muscles and organs, where it is useful), and turns it to fat, while not raising insulin levels. Not raising insulin levels means the body doesn't know it has enough sugar already, which means apetite doesn't decrease in the amount it should.

        Now, fruits have the exact same fructose in it. Why are fruits better? For one, they come with other nutrients. For another, to consume the amount of fructose in a glass of coke, you'd have to eat a whole bushel of apples. The logistics prevent you from overindulging in fruits, while soda's are all about overindulging.
    • by Carewolf (581105) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:40AM (#19866047) Homepage
      Don't confuse the issues.. Yes, sugar is bad for you in large amounts, but real sugar is a whole lot better than the corn sugar crap that is used everywhere in the US. The nice thing about real sugar is that it is a natural appetite inhibitor, which means that you will not be hungry after drinking a non-US produced Coca-Cola, in fact you are more likely to forget to eat all together, since Cafeine is also a appetite inhibitor (Many European computer nerds are unhealthly skinny as a result).

      The problem is the corn sirup, that both contains high amounts of carbs, and will leave you hungry after drinking it.
  • by cbuskirk (99904) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:13AM (#19865517)
    All dem commy pinko leftists wanna do is hurt the American farmer and its just a damn shame. /sarcasm

    Corn is the one of the most powerful forces in America. This will get filed away with global warming as libral propaganda.
  • by erik umenhofer (782) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:16AM (#19865531) Homepage
    No more ketchup?...snapple? Mexican Coke still uses sugar so I'm cool there...but ketchup?
    • by hazem (472289) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @06:17AM (#19865733) Journal
      Heinz finally makes an "organic" ketchup that uses cane sugar instead of HFCS for sweetener. It actually tastes a lot better - like I remember it tasting as a kid. I've also seen other brands of ketchup that use regular sugar as well.

      I personally gave up HFCS and MSG to the best of my ability about 9 months ago. I'm still too fat (probably all the beer I still drink) but I do feel much much better. That near continuous run-down feeling is gone now. So is that all to frequent feeling after lunch like a bad flu was coming (buzzing in my head, hot flash, sweating, tightness in the chest, congested feeling).

      I'm sure someone will respond saying there's no scientific proof that MSG and HFSC are bad for me and that I'm a fool for trying to not consume them. That's just fine... call me a fool. I feel better not eating them and that's reason enough - placebo effect or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:18AM (#19865533)
    This [nytimes.com] ran a few years ago and was REALLY interesting. Corn in america == money. Farmers have a corn glut to deal with. 100 years ago, they put the extra corn to work as alcohol (whiskey), and soon we had a nation of alcoholics. So then they came up with corn syrup. That hasn't worked out too well considering how fat Americans are.

    Next up-- ethanol!

  • by Kyrubas (991784) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:22AM (#19865551) Journal
    ...but where is a link to the paper or actual report? I just don't trust an interview as easily when it comes to scientific claims as I would the scientific data and whatever fallacies it may hold.

    On another note, there have been plenty of studies already demonstrating how nutritionally bad fructose is bad for an individual. Here's a compilation I found awhile back of the cons of using fructose so widely in consumables: http://curezone.com/art/read.asp?ID=32&db=6&C0=17 [curezone.com]
  • Rule of Thumb (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dukaso (1128185) <[ ] ['~' in gap]> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:23AM (#19865553)
    Here's a decent rule of thumb when it comes to eating food: If you don't know understand what the ingredients are when you may not want to consume it. Pick up any random piece of junk food and read the ingredient panel. Kudos to you if you can even pronounce everything correctly.
    • Sadly (Score:5, Informative)

      by aepervius (535155) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:41AM (#19866051)
      I took organic chemistry so I understand what the ingredient are (at least on the basic structural level) and can pronunce them very well ;).

      Anyway the argument is a bad one (and remind me of the argument of people saying "oh god they are adding chemicals in our food") If you took normal organic growing food and we told you the list of stuff inside it, you would not understand half of it, still that would not make it more or less dangerous. 2-oxo-L-threo-hexono-1,4- lactone-2,3-enediol is an example of it. Naturally I could call it L-ascorbate too. Or maybe vitamin C. The problem are not that people don't understand what the smallest ingredient part in ppm or milli% of their food composition is, the problem is that people ignore totally the composition of the main ingredient, like fat, and refuse to do sport, and eat a lot during the day way way more than is necessary for their activities, and not equilibrated. It is a LIFESTYLE problem. It ain't one signle factor but a combination of many. And no, the ingredient you can't pronunce without having being in university ain't the problem.
  • There were published studies clearly showing this effect, 20 years ago. I guess it's taken this long for the industry to stop crushing it long enough to get a word out. I'd paste references but it's sunday morning and they're in a book on the other side of the room.
  • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:31AM (#19865573) Homepage Journal
    In Capitalist West US corn industry taxes you.
    In Soviet Russia CIA spoils Cuban sugar for you.

    Have you US cubicle jockeys ever thought about how much you are locked into corn syrup?
    A few sick fat 'end users' will not stop the protectionism, tariffs and congress critters.
    You have a huge set of new tax credits, grants and loans flowing into big corn for 'ethanol'
    Then you have state subsidies.

    Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life and own the world?

  • On the other hand... (Score:4, Informative)

    by julesh (229690) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:41AM (#19865615)
    Fructose used responsibly is actually beneficial. Fructose is substantially sweeter than glucose, so consuming it could allow you to reduce your sugar intake. Consuming as much fructose as you would otherwise consume glucose is clearly bad for you, but there is an opportunity to reduce intake.

    The HFCS used in most soft drinks is (I believe) 50% fructose. It is metabolised almost identically to sucrose: there is an initial enzyme that splits sucrose into glucose and fructose at similar ratios to the contents of the corn syrup, after that the metabolism is identical. It seems unlikely therefore that there is any substantial difference in health effects, and most of the studies quoted in the wikipedia article linked from the main story tend to agree with that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bl968 (190792)
      But it doesn't work like that in real life.... The more real sugar you eat, the more you feel full. But with HFCS, the more you eat, the hungrier you feel. The problem is that HCFS inhibits leptin secretion by the body, so your body never get the message that you're full. Which works out great for the agribusinesses but not so well for the rest of us...
  • um no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eneville (745111) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:41AM (#19865617) Homepage
    I hate articles like this. The reader should not be blaming a single food as a CAUSE for obesity. The cause is that the consumer should not be eating large quantities of anything. Personally if anything is to blame then its the consumer for not getting off their ass and actually preparing food, going for a bike ride, or doing some running. Simple exercise like washing up has now been replaced with a dish washer, we mow lawns with electric/petrol mowers, and we don't even write letters by hand either, soon voice recognition will replace keyboard work. When will the world learn that as physical creatures we depend on a good, fresh diet and plenty of exercise.
  • WTF

    Fructose comprises 50% of table sugar and up to 90% of high-fructose corn syrup,...
    The one who wrote that must be high on sugar.
    Fructoses are simple monosaccharides. I don't remember them having corn-atoms
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:54AM (#19865653) Journal
    Having been thin most all my life but finding I had high cholesterol, I was prescribed a popular anti-cholesterol medicine. I began to gain weight passing up what is normal for my height. But my doctor and chiropractor wanted me to lose weight, just 10 pounds. I found out about HFCS and eliminated it from my diet and within a few months lost 30 lbs.
    And all I did was remove HFCS from my diet.

    I suspect since the anti-cholesterol medicine has an effect on the liver, and apparently HFCS is mostly processed by the Liver, has something to do with my weight gain once on the meds.

    Now this article suggest other sugars also contribute. I suppose I need to further reduce my sugar intake.

    But here is a HFCS tip: Bread! I would buy bread that didn't have HFCS in it and git used to which brand I'd buy. Then I discovered that all the bread I was buying had the ingredients changed to include HFCS. And this I discovered after the cola industry said they would stop selling their HFCS drinks at schools. I guess the HFCS industry simply shifted what they include it in. So the school kids still get it????

    Nasty corn industry!!

    Seems to me the corn industry needs to be heavily taxed where teh tax is used for health care..... like cigarettes..
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @06:12AM (#19865727) Homepage
    Everytime I travel to the US and look at the ingredients its there on the side of the can every single time. Over in europe we use this amazing new invention called "sugar" instead.

    So its not quite true to say that America are shipping the crap that is High Fructose Corn Syrup on the rest of the world, its actually that AMERICAN companies are using that on AMERICANS and using more natural ingredients outside of the US. This appears to be due to costs (its cheaper to use HFCS in the US, as sugar imports are penalised) meaning that the world's richest economy is using the cheapest and crappiest ingredients.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bucc5062 (856482)
      I like to think I healthy these days. Good balance of protien, carbs, veggies, and try to stay away from "processed food" as much as I can.

      So, I read this post and others and got curious. Going through random pulls of my cupboard I found most of my dry food (bread cereal) contained either HFCS or simply labeld corn syrup.

      Wow!

      By eating better I have lost weight and as a middle aged IT professional trying to stay fit that is good. Armed with what I have read this morning I can now be on the lookout for foo
  • Awesome report (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mattr (78516) <.mattr. .at. .telebody.com.> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:00AM (#19865879) Homepage Journal
    This is really interesting. Two questions for anyone with knowledge.


    1. Lustig says:

    Well it's glycaemic index plus fibre. Fibre turns any food into a low glycaemic load food. In fact we are supposed to eat our carbohydrate with fibre, that's the key. Processed wheat is white, when you go out into the field it's brown but by the time it gets to your bakery it's white. What happened? Well the bran was stripped off, well the bran is the good part, the bran is what we're supposed to be eating.

    So if we eat significant fiber with everything we ingest does everything become low GI? Or what? This will definitely make me eat French bread (if that has bran?) and no more white bread (which I have known is a "slab of sugar" but didn't really use that knowledge). And what is a compact source of fiber? I doubt you could drink a cola with HFCS and neutralize its evil with a graham cracker (if that has bran in it?) but what's the score there?


    2. The experiment in which a drug was administered to children whose brains could not detect leptin resulted in the kids spontaneously working out, doing sports, eliminating soda from their diet, etc. I'd like to know what the kids thought / felt during the study, and want to know if we can "fool" ourselves into doing the same kind of activities and getting a similar effect, in effect bootstrapping a similar kind of health benefit without taking the drug Octreotide. (and what is that drug, sounds pretty strong!)


    3. Extremely refreshing and seemingly sensible comments about why it is important to exercise. This has got to be massively important for geeks. Personally I had an obese father who as a doctor unfortunately must have been an ultrageek since he didn't want to do any sports that could hurt his hands (since he couldn't do surgery). He got diabetes. I've been heavy (not astoundingly, but overweight) since I was little and he encouraged me to sit in my room and play with my Apple II all summer I remember well, and now after he got diabetes and bypasses he said "turns out I was wrong, exercise is important!" I coulda killed him!


    So anyway this is quite important and felt like a revelation: While calories are one thing I thought exercise was basically to boost the metabolism to burn food faster. Well this article says exercise increases skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity (so less insulin is made so less blood sugar is shunted into fat), lowers cortisol (which is a "megastress hormone" that the article says triggers deposition of bad fat, and finally detoxifies fructose.

    These are all awesomely understandable reasons why you gotta exercise and at least to me at this moment it makes me want to throw this glass of diet cola (who cares! anything unhealthy!) off the table and never look a piece of white bread in the face again. Now we need some "best practices" or programming style guides that include exercise with this info in it, of course optimized for maximum concentration and efficiency with minimum weight gain.

    • Re:Awesome report (Score:4, Informative)

      by Budenny (888916) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @10:46AM (#19867133)
      The remarks about bran are only partially correct. All bran is not the same. Wheat bran, contrary to the implication, is bad for you and has no dietary benefits. It irritates the intestines and blocks the absorption of nutrients. It is a myth that whole wheat bread has more vitamins and minerals and is therefore better for you than white bread. Yes, it has more vitamins and minerals. No it is not therefore better for you, because they are not accessible. What matters is not what is in it, what matters is what you can get out of it. The problem is phytates, which prevent absorption of minerals.

      The right way to eat wheat bread is the way that was traditional until the rise of the steam baked industrial rapid rise loaf. That is,first, a slow fermenting rise, usually overnight. This makes the bread both lower GI index, and also more digestible. Second, flour which is not whole wheat but is relatively high extraction. This the so called grey flour of traditional French bread. Until modern times, when people talked about 'white' bread, what they meant was bread without the bran, a greyish color, but containing the germ.

      The extraction rate varies from 75% or less for conventional white flour to 85% for brown but not wholewheat flour. In countries where bread is the staple, the extraction rate is usually in the low eighties and this is probably the sensible level. The rate in the US during WWII was raised to 80% - similarly in the UK, or perhaps a little higher. It would be a dramatic step forward for modern diets if it could be placed at that level today.

      The same points apply to rice bran, which also should be avoided. It is striking that traditional cultures with long histories of healthy eating invariably mill rice and refine wheat, but never try remove oat bran. Both wheat and rice bran are better used by feeding to poultry, when the conversion into high quality protein is a much better use for it than irritating the human bowel to no nutritional effect.

      Oat bran is in a completely different category. It does not irritate the bowel, and its nutrients are available. I believe the same to be true of spelt.

      Its worth remarking that probably one of the main causes of obesity is the obsession with the low fat diet. Without any real evidence, we have embarked on a gigantic nutritional experiment in the Anglo Saxon countries over the last 30-40 years. We have gone from diets which were reasonably balanced in terms of saturated fats and complex carbohydrates, to ones which attempted to eliminate all saturated fats. However, the natural and normal craving for some fats has led to the substitution of polyunsaturated fats for saturated. There is no evidence that this is healthy, and much that it is far worse. In addition, since the available high carb foods are highly refined, we have then substitued for potatoes, rice and pasta, much sugar, including fructose. The result is a diet far worse than what we started with, and one which our evolutionary history has never prepared us for.

      It is not an accident that this has happened at a time that the health food movement has metamorphosed into the supplements industry.

      So what should we eat? Liberal amounts of meat, fish eggs butter and full-fat, non-homogenized milk. Absolutely no refined vegetable oils. Moderate amounts of mono-unsaturated vegetable oils (olive and peanut). No corn oil, safflower oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine. Liberal amounts of vegetables of all sorts. Liberal amounts of sourdough bread made with coarse white flour. Similarly pasta. White, not brown, rice. Parboiled is OK. Fruits in season. And fruit juice, if at all, in great moderation.

      Exercise well, and stay off the scales! Because the other great cause of obesity in Western society is the practice of dieting, which, as many studies have shown, simply leads to long term weight gain.
  • by 605dave (722736) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:22AM (#19865975) Homepage
    A few years ago I became aware of HFCS, and was amazed at how pervasive it is. With the birth of my son I needed to lose weight, and was starting to really be aware of what I ate. I changed two things about my lifestyle. I eliminated almost all HFCS (mostly sodas), and started exercising more regularly. I lost 60 pounds, and have kept it off. I don't know about any of the scientific arguments, but my experience tells me HFCS has a big role to play in out society's weight issues. There are other factors, including exercise which I mentioned. But if you want to get creeped out, go to a convenience store and try to find something without corn syrup in some form. Perhaps the weight loss can party be credited to the fact that I eat better foods and drink more water by avoiding HFCS. But the bottom line is this. For me, getting rid of HFCS either caused me to lose weight directly, or forced me to eat healthier by avoiding it.
  • Summary of article (Score:5, Informative)

    by amyhughes (569088) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:39AM (#19866039) Homepage

    Clearly people aren't taking the time to read the article (I'm shocked), so here's a summary of the fructose info...

    Our consumption of fructose has gone from less than half a pound per year in 1970 to 56 pounds per year in 2003.

    high fructose corn syrup came on the market after it was invented in Japan in 1966, and started finding its way into American foods in 1975. In 1980 the soft drink companies started introducing it into soft drinks and you can actually trace the prevalence of childhood obesity, and the rise, to 1980 when this change was made.

    it's not the calories that are different it's the fact that the only organ in your body that can take up fructose is your liver. Glucose, the standard sugar, can be taken up by every organ in the body, only 20% of glucose load ends up at your liver. So let's take 120 calories of glucose, that's two slices of white bread as an example, only 24 of those 120 calories will be metabolised by the liver, the rest of it will be metabolised by your muscles, by your brain, by your kidneys, by your heart etc.. Now let's take 120 calories of orange juice. Same 120 calories but now 60 of those calories are going to be fructose because fructose is half of sucrose and sucrose is what's in orange juice. So it's going to be all the fructose, that's 60 calories, plus 20% of the glucose, so that's another 12 out of 60 -- so in other words 72 out of the 120 calories will hit the liver, three times the substrate as when it was just glucose alone.

    fructose [does] three things that are particularly bad in the liver. The first is this uric acid pathway that I just mentioned, the second is that fructose initiates what's known as de novo lipogenesis...Which is fat production...Excess fat production and so VLDL [the bad form of cholesterol], very low density lipoproteins end up being manufactured when you consume this large bolus of fructose in a way that glucose does not, and so that leads to dyslipidaemia.

    And then the last thing that fructose does in the liver is it initiates an enzyme called Junk one, ...and when you initiate Junk one what happens is that your insulin receptor in your liver stops working...that means your insulin levels all over your body have to rise.

    put all of this together and basically you've got a feed forward system of increased insulin, increased liver fat, liver deposition of fat, increased inflammation -- you end up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. You end up with your inability to see your leptin [**leptin tells your brain you are full**] and so you consume more fructose and you've now got a viscious cycle out of control.

    In fact fructose, because of the way it's metabolised, is actually damaging your liver the same way alcohol is. In fact it's the exact same pathway, in fact fructose is alcohol without the buzz.

  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @07:46AM (#19866077) Journal
    Two wikipedia links, and a link to an Australian radio report from an American source. Now you have to listen to the fucking article. Slashdot editors take note: oh who am I kidding... anyway a wikipedia article is not news, or stuff that matters. We want to read an article, not listen to the fucking thing.

    Time to coin another useless acronym. Where's The Fucking Article!

  • by FranTaylor (164577) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @11:09AM (#19867347)
    It's funny with people: you threaten to take away their donuts and their soda, and they get all riled up, but you take away their civil liberties, and they don't seem to care very much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ghettoimp (876408)
      Well, isn't being able to eat what you want a matter of freedom? In fact, it seems to me it's more basic than most of the freedoms we talk about on slashdot.

      I'd certainly like people to eat well, and I'd like the companies that produce our food to do so more ethically and with a greater concern for our well-being as consumers. But if someone wants to eat donuts and soda, that's their choice, and who am I to deny them that choice?
  • by Sir Holo (531007) * on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:12PM (#19867979)
    The body regulates the rate of breakdown of sucrose (into fructose and glucose) through the enzyme sucrase [wikipedia.org]. Ingesting fructose-glucose mixtures bypasses your body's regulation mechanism, resulting in faster uptake and greater stress on the body's other sugar-regulation mechanisms, such as insulin.

    In the end, greater stress on a body system results in it wearing out sooner, hence the epidemic of adult-onset diabetes.

    High-fructose corn syrup is NOT the same as sucrose. People with sucrose intolerance [wikipedia.org] lack the enzyme and cannot properly digest sucrose.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:13PM (#19867983)
    Blame the mentality of the stupid people that have absolutely no self-control and societies that promote the concept that its 'ok to be who you are' no matter how gluttonous or morbidly obese that may be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by skrolle2 (844387)
      If you had actually bothered to RTFA you would have known that it's not about self-control.

      Regular sugar triggers insulin and makes you feel full. Fructose doesn't, but contains the same amounts of calories as regular sugar. We have a digestive system that is very good at telling us how much to eat to not gain weight, but if we feed it the wrong things, it will not tell us.
  • by ApharmdB (572578) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:01PM (#19868413)
    From the article: The second reason that exercise is important is because it's the single best treatment to get your cortisol down. Cortisol is your stress hormone, it's the hormone that goes up when you are mega-stressed, it's the hormone that basically causes visceral fat deposition which is the bad fat and it has been tied to the metabolic syndrome. So by getting your cortisol down you're actually reducing the amount of fat deposited and it also reduces food intake. People think that somehow exercise increases food intake, it does not, it reduces food intake.

    What is this guy talking about? Ever since I started regularly exercising I am more hungry, more often. And actually hungry, not the confusion of eating out of boredom when I wasn't in shape. Just look at marathon runners, they need to eat tons of food to give them the energy they need. What this guy is saying seems so counterintuitive. Can anyone explain what he means or he is just crackers?
  • This is bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by melted (227442) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:14PM (#19868513) Homepage
    The only reason for obesity "epidemics" is sedentary lifestyles that a lot of people are leading. Sitting for hours in front of a computer or TV does no good to you. And coincidentally computers and TVs weren't widely available in 1975.

    I weighed nearly 300 pounds (around 135Kg for metric folks). I have a huge frame, but there's still around 35Kg of fat that I need to lose. About three years ago I had stopped drinking soda containing sugars, as well as sweet fruit juices. Didn't make even a bit of difference as far as my weight is concerned. Granted I started to feel much better, because my blood sugar wasn't on a roller coaster all the time, but that's about it. I did not make any other changes to my diet, though, so I still consume quite a bit of carbs as breads (and no, I don't eat donuts or sweets every day either).

    So I bought a bicycle. So far it helped me to lose about 10Kg. This is not much, considering, but I'm making a slow, steady progress. In a few years I _might_ hit my target weight. Maybe even sooner if I change my diet.

    The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is that there's no "epidemic". It's that people walk a hundred yards/metters a day and sit on their ass all day. No matter how many calories you consume (within reason), diet alone is not gonna make you leaner if you don't exercise. At least not for long.
  • "Mindless Eating" (Score:5, Informative)

    by coyote-san (38515) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:55PM (#19869421)
    Somewhat related to a number of the comments....

    A book was published about a year ago, "Mindless Eating". It discussed the various factors that cause us to overeat and undereat. (The latter is a serious problem in combat situations in the military. It's one thing for a civilian to lose 20 pounds of fat, it's another thing for a fighting soldier to lose 20 pounds of muscle.)

    It's easy to say "eat less/eat healthier", but that requires far more attention than you realize. Marketers are NOT trying to get you to eat poorly, they just want you to buy from them instead of the competitor. If everyone wanted broccoli, there would be broccoli stands on every corner.

    Most people want something fast, cheap and filling. Chains have tried introducing healthier fare periodically (e.g., Taco Bell had 'lite' choices for awhile), but they weren't popular enough to be economically viable. But offer a larger standard drink or more fries and your sales climb, so you get a downward spiral that results in a pound of french fries and people drinking 64 ounces of soda.

    Worse, this "renormalizes" what people expect. Did you know that coke bottles were originally 8 fl oz? Then pepsi introduced a standard 10 fl oz bottle as a marketing gimmick. Vending machines stabilized things at 12 oz for a while (since you had to stay at the standard size to be sold in the machine), but fast food restaurants competed with each other with larger and larger cups, free refills, etc. You could always buy a smaller size but that's psychologically hard when you get half as much drink but pay nearly the same price.

    Ditto coffee. It used to be a cup or two in the morning, perhaps with a bit of cream. Then Starbucks came into the market and the sizes have not only increased, the amount of fat and sugar has exploded. People who would never consider drinking a milk shake every day (or even twice a day!) do this without thinking twice when it's a fancy Starbucks drink. If you want a cup (8 oz) of black coffee... good luck!

    I think the most telling story was some guy at a yard sale(?) who asked if the seller had any more dinner plates in a set from the 40s. He was holding a serving platter. Historically dinner plates were around 8", but now they're usually 12" (iirc), or over twice as much area. People tend to fill their plates so we're eating a lot more food without thinking about it. Now look at sit-down restaurant chains (Chili's, Olive Garden, etc.) They're selling presentation so they use larger plates than you have at home, and they fill those plates. It's not an exaggeration to say that they serve 3 or 4 solid servings, nutritionally speaking.

    This is gradual enough that most people aren't aware that it's happening, but we are eating a lot more food and finding it harder to eat the correct portions. How often have you seen a 6'+ adult order from the child's menu?

    Does this excuse people from TRYING? No, of course not. But arrogant "people should know better" tirades don't help since changes requires us to be aware of the subtle changes that have lead us to the current selections and portion sizes.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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