Turns out all sugars are not created equal. It used to be that most sugar came from sugar beets or sugar cane. That all changed in the 1970’s when corn became the main source of sugar, and in particular, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) became popular because it’s less expensive to produce. As far back as the 1990’s, the average fructose consumption was 83 pounds per year.
A major problem with fructose is that it’s metabolized by the body differently than sugar (glucose). Fructose metabolism places a huge burden on the liver, accounting for its disastrous impact on our health. It increases the damaging form of cholesterol (VLDL) and triglycerides, which are then stored as fat (mainly belly fat). Furthermore, the metabolism of fructose by your liver creates more waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, driving up blood pressure and causing gout. Fructose stimulates the appetite and may cause overeating. Over time, excessive fructose consumption leads to insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes, heart disease, many cancers, and other associated chronic diseases.
Of course, fruits and vegetables contain a relatively small or more “normal” amount of fructose. However, a major source of high fructose corn syrup is found in soda and other sweetened beverages. In addition, almost all processed and packaged foods today have added sugars, typically in the form of fructose. Ultimately, it’s always best to eat fresh, whole, unprocessed foods.