Tuesday, 17 April 2012

No, I am not a health nut (I just want to feel better)

I have spent the bulk of my morning today and yesterday, researching "the dangers of Fructose".   I was hoping not to find anything that really relates to me, cause I do not drink pop or eat junk food, (not counting cookies and chocolate of course, because it's not junk to me!).  

It was about 5 months ago that I decided to try 30 days without wheat, after my personal trainer read me an article about that "wheat belly" book.  So yesterday she starts telling me about how bad sugar is (well she didn't just start telling me yesterday, she has been telling me for years), mostly because she thinks that sugar is the cause of some of her recent health problems, including hang overs.  

So my research started with sugar (sucrose) and quickly lead to Fructose & Glucose (which are both in regular refined sugar)  There is so much information on the Web about fructose, a lot is not proven, but most everyone agrees we consume too much sweet stuff.  The worst being High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS, because it is hidden in so many things, ketchup, BBQ sauce, Salad dressing, snack foods, whole wheat bread & cereals.  

Basically the human body is designed to digest sugar in fruit, even small quantities of refined sugar are ok, because it has both fructose and glucose together.  However the body does not know what to do with too much fructose, or this new HFCS, so it just gets turned into fat.  Here is a simple explanation from Dr. Oz's website:

 "Your brain doesn't recognize the fructose in HFCS as regular food, so you can eat a lot of it and still be hungry, which means you eat even more. Our bodies have a nifty feedback mechanism -- a protein called leptin, which is released by our body's own fat -- that turns off our hunger signals, letting us know that we're satisfied and can step away from the buffet. But when we consume fructose in foods or drinks containing high fructose corn syrup, that feedback mechanism gets disrupted. So not only don't we get the message that we're full, but because the brain doesn't recognize this stuff as real food, it still wants us to eat.
• Sugar also sets us up for some wild swings in blood sugar highs and lows that make us crave -- you guessed it! -- more sugar, which in turn prompts the body to store more fat. Indeed, when people who are even slightly overweight -- in other words, most of us -- eat sugar, we store a whopping 35 percent of it as fat. All sugar does this, not just HFCS. But unlike regular sugar, HFCS is cheap and shelf-stable so you don't have to park yourself in the candy and cookie aisle to get a lot of it.
• The fructose in HFCS also seems to overwhelm your liver's ability to process it. "The liver doesn't particularly like it when there's fructose in there," Dr. Oz said. "It's irritating and the liver responds by producing inflammatory compounds." Among other things, like laying the groundwork for artery damage and heart disease, these compounds also encourage your body to store more fat. "You're literally turning the major organ responsible for detoxifying you into fat, which is hindering your ability to get thin," he said. "Fat people have a tougher time getting thin than thin people have staying thin. The odds are stacked against them because their livers can't keep up."

I can't help thinking how much HFCS I have let my kids eat in the past.  Not to mention what I have been consuming.  Then I discover websites, about IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome) and fructose intolerance, now this really relates to me.  I have spent so much time trying to find the cause of my digestive problems in the past months, I am surprised I have not stubbled on this before.  

"Dietary Fructose and IBS
Dr. Rao's research team has shown that of the patients who have come to their clinic at the University of Iowa Health Care suffering from IBS symptoms (gas, bloating, belching, nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort/pain) over one third were found to have a fructose intolerance problem (malabsorption). Further, they found there was a direct relationship between escalating digestive symptoms and increasing the test dose of fructose.

Approximately 15% of North Americans suffer from IBS, so the connection between IBS and fructose malabsorption means many sufferers may be able to put down their medications and pick up dietary guidelines instead. Fructose intolerance can be effectively managed through dietary modification and lifestyle changes. So this is very good news for millions of people!"

Apparently there is a test to see if you have Fructose intolerance, or you can just do the elimination diet, to see if you feel better.  Every site seems to a different list of things to eliminate, starting with Honey, anything that has HFCS on the label, apples, pears, peaches, wheat etc.  

I think I am going to find a good dietitian to help me with this.

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