Fructose is Making You Fat

How Fructose is Making You Fat: Part One

Fructose is Making You Fat

How Fructose is Making You Fat: Part One

Fructose is making you fat.  The evidence of this is overwhelming.  (If you would like to see massive amounts of that evidence broken down in easy to read formats, I recommend Michael Gillespie’s Sweet Poison, Dr Robert Lustig’s Fat Chance or Richard Johnson’s Sugar Fix.  Or if you like to watch YouTube videos, watch this.)  As I read through these works and began to digest what they were teaching, I desperately wanted to tell people what I learned.  Since I am a blogger by trade, a blog seemed like the most logical way to do this.  If you are here and you have struggled with your weight (As I have done for most of my life) those posts are for you.

Where is Fructose found?

The first thing you need to know about Fructose is where you can find it.  It occurs naturally in most fruits and some vegetables but where you will primarily find it is in common table sugar.  What we normally call sugar (the white or brown stuff we add to our morning coffee) is actually 2 sugars bonded together.  A sugar molecule is half Sucrose and half Fructose.  As we will learn, our bodies are adapted to deal with the sucrose, but have difficulty with the Fructose.

Another common place we find fructose now is High Fructose Corn Syrup, or HFCS.  HFCS is a relatively new invention (First created in 1957) that enabled us to sweeten foods far more cheaply than before.  Food manufacturers have started adding HFCS to EVERYTHING.  Out of approximately 600,000 different food products available at our grocery stores, 80% of them contain sugar or HFCS.  If you eat groceries (and who doesn’t) chances are you are eating far more sugar than you realize.

 How does it make us fat?

We are glucose-burning machines.  What gasoline is to a car, glucose is to us.  We are finely-tuned machines when it comes to dealing with almost any substance we put into our bodies.  If we eat enough fat, our body sees that and releases hormones that make us not want to eat fat for a while.  Same with carbs, or salt almost any other food on the earth.  The one thing we don’t really have a mechanism in place to deal with is fructose.

This made sense for most of human history.  Fruits were fairly difficult to obtain.  We didn’t have supermarkets, growing them was time-consuming and they tended to spoil quickly.  On those rare occasions where we were able to enjoy a nice orange or apple, we didn’t bother developing a way to regulate it.  Our bodies were just delighted to have such a rich source of energy and it converted the fructose to fat for storage as quickly as it could.   Then we found out we could refine sugar and things began to change.

We discovered that you could separate out the sucrose from Sugarcane or beets and get that glorious sweet stuff separated from that pesky fiber that tended to fill us up.  This made it very easy store and sell, thus the sugar trade was born.  Even with this, sugar was a little pricey and you only used in your morning coffee and occasional sweet treat.  Then soft drinks were invented.  Now we could all drink sugar all day long.  Shortly thereafter, we got HFCS and we were putting it everywhere because it costs almost nothing compared to sugar.

If all the fructose we were consuming was just empty calories, this would be troubling but not disastrous.   The issue becomes what it does to our bodies.  Our bodies don’t “see” fructose so it has trouble regulating our appetites when we consume it.  Let’s say we eat a meal that is 800 calories but 200 of these calories come from fructose.  Our bodies can see 600 of those calories and will regulate our appetites accordingly.  If 600 calories is enough to fill us up, we will feel full.  The only problem is that we didn’t eat 600 calories, we ate 800.  Those extra 200 calories were just converted to fat and forgotten about.

Have you ever wondered why you can drink a giant Coke and still have room for a Value Meal but if you drink an 8oz glass of milk you feel full for hours?  Your body can see everything in that Milk (provided you didn’t sweeten it with Hershey’s syrup or something.) but that Coke is metabolically invisible.  Repeat those extra 200 calories at every meal and it’s no wonder we are getting bigger as a nation.

This isn’t even close to the only problems fructose causes.  It is a dangerous toxin that does amazingly bad things to our organs, especially the liver, kidneys and heart.  We will look at each of these thing in the next few weeks.

Look here to see more in this series

My Sugar Free Journey: Part Two

My Sugar Free Journey: Part TwoMy Sugar Free Journey Part Two

Part One

So I was fat.  Topping the scales at a robust 388 lbs, BP at about twice what it should have been and the cholesterol levels of a stick of butter but no idea how to fix it.  You would think the answer would be to eat less and exercise but the willpower required to eat less just escaped me.  I might do well for a few weeks but all it took was just a day or two of weak willpower and I was back at square one.

Fat Sick and Nearly Killed Me

That’s when I found Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  If you haven’t seen this it’s a documentary about a guy that just stops eating solid food.  He runs everything through a juicer and drinks his meals.  Well I was desparate so the next morning I ordered a juicer from Amazon and started juicing.  Let me tell you, that works.  When you don’t eat anything, the weight falls off in large batches.  The only drawbacks are you feel horribly hungry constantly, you can’t eat with your friends and you feel weak as a kitten.

I Can’t Even Look at a Juice

Despite these major drawbacks I kept at it for a couple months and managed to lose about 80 lbs.  If you are some kind of inhuman Superman that keep up with that level of dietary abuse, this is the diet for you.  However, now even the thought of juicing makes me almost vomit.  I’ve tried to go back to it a couple times but just couldn’t.  The juices are horrible, the juicer was always a pain to clean and I never understood why were throwing away so much food.  When you juice a bunch of veggies you get about 10% back in juice, the rest is just fiber you throw down the garbage disposal.

Still Fat….Just Less So

So the good news was that I was down to around 300 lbs but the bad news was that the method that got me there was no longer an option.  What to do, what to do.  My wife had a great deal of success cutting at carbs so that kind of became our default way of eating.  I kept the weight I lost off but I have been around 300-310 lbs ever since.  (It’s been a couple years now.)

Little did I know the answer was right in front of me the whole time.

Next Time:   How I learned that Fructose is making me fat.

My Review of Fed Up the Movie

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My Review of Fed Up the Movie

Dian and I got to go see the Fed Up documentary tonight.  Unfortunately this movie isn’t available in wide release (we had to drive an hour to see it and we live in one of the biggest metropolis’ in the country) but I sure wish it was required viewing for everyone struggling with their weight.

Sugar Sugar Everywhere

To be clear, this wasn’t a weight-loss film, at least not directly.  The main thrust of the movie is how much our food supply has been adulterated by Big Food adding (among other terrible things) sugar to dang near everything we eat.  There are 600,000 food items on the shelves today and 80% contain sugar.  80%!!  Believe me, as I have gone through My Sugar Free Journey, it has been absolutely stunning to me how difficult it is to find ANYTHING without sugar added to it.

Big Food Wins the Day…and We Lose

The documentary did a very good job of outlining how we got into this mess.  Specifically, it was the McGovern Report of 1977.  In the beginning it had the problem mostly right, asking us to avoid things like excess red meat, dairy, salt and sugar.  However, once the different components of Big Food that were threatened found out what was in the report, the banded together to pressure the politicians to remove those recommendations from the report.  Once gutted, about the only thing left in the report was to reduce the amount of fat in our diet and to exercise.

Reduced Fat Oreos?  Who Are We Kidding?

Because of this change in the report, we saw our supermarket shelves flooded with “reduced fat” options of virtually every single food item available.  The problem is, when you take the fat out of food, it tastes horrible.  No one wants to buy food that tastes horrible.  So what solution did they come up with?  That’s right, dump tons of sugar where the fat used to be.

We Ate What Were Told and Worked Out…and Got Fatter

The kicker here is that we all did what we were told.  As a Nation, we bought the low-fat food and joined the gym.  However, the more low-fat food we ate and the more we worked out, the fatter we got, what was going on?  The answer was we were dramatically increasing the amount of sugar we were eating.

We Are Designed to Be Thin, Fit and Healthy

In a nutshell, the danger of sugar is this.  We have a very highly sophisticated system of hormones that controls our appetite.  Our blood is chemically “sampled” and as we get enough fat or salt or glucose in our bloodstream, we release hormones that tell us we are full.  The problem happens when we eat Fructose.  (Fructose makes up half of sugar (sucrose) and most of High Fructose Corn Syrup)  Our hormones can’t “see” fructose so our appetite suppressant hormones aren’t triggered.  For example (and I am just pulling these numbers out of the air, this wasn’t in the movie) if you eat a meal that is 1000 calories but 300 of those calories come from fructose, your body doesn’t “see” those 300 calories.  So that’s 300 calories you ate before your body turned on the hormones that turn off your appetite.  How dangerous is this?  If you eat one more calorie than you burn off every day for 20 years, you will be overweight.  And that’s just ONE calorie!  Most of us are eating far more calories than we burn off every day.

Pizza is a Vegetable?

The other aspect that the movie covered was how our Government has allowed Big Food to meddle in the dietary recommendations and twist the laws for their own ends, to our detriment.  For instance when school lunch recommendations were changed mandating more fruits and vegetables on every student’s plate, Big Food pressured Washington to allow pizza and french fries to qualify as vegetables.  That’s right, our government allowed fast food companies to continue to feed our kids junk, but call it healthy vegetables.

Let’s Move…How the Food Companies Say

Another example was how Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign was originally focused on changing how our kids ate.  Food companies like McDonalds and Kellogg’s didn’t like that so they offered to “help”.  Her message quickly moved away from food to getting your kids to exercise more.

You Must See This Movie

There was so much more to this movie and I could talk about it for days but let me just bring this review to a close.  It’s a powerful movie with a message so incredibly jarring it will cause you to reexamine every piece of food you put into your body.  I wish it was available in wider release so everyone could see it.  The real tragedy here is the small number of theaters will probably keep it away from the people who need to see it most; the poor, minorities, families with young children.  Go see it.  Take your whole family and for the love of your health, stop eating sugar.  It’s killing you.

Disclainer: No one paid me to see this movie.  I was not given tickets.  I drove over an hour in ridiculous traffic because of how badly I wanted to see it.  All opinions are mine.

Sugar Free Berries and Cream Recipe

Sugar Free Berries and Cream Recipe

Sugar-Free-Berries-and-Cream

So my little journey to the Sugar Free side of the culinary world has been much easier than expected.  It’s amazing how little I miss the things I used to love.  The one thing I was worried about was the occasional dessert.  I knew the old way of eating desserts was off the table (who needs to eat entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s Americone Dream anyway?) but I knew I wanted something sweet sometimes.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Sugar Free Berries and Cream Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Sugar Free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A delicious added Fructose-Free dessert
Ingredients
  • ½ pint of Strawberries
  • ½ pint of whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of Splenda or Xylitol
Instructions
  1. Cut Strawberries up into slices
  2. Place strawberries into small tupperware, add 1 tablespoon of dextrose, shake gently to coat strawberries
  3. Place in refrigerator and let sit for at least 4 hours
  4. Pour whipping cream into cold mixing bowl
  5. Add remaining Dextrose (You may want to start with one tbsp and adjust sweetness as needed)
  6. Whip with wire whisk until firm (You are looking for firm peaks but if you over-beat it will get lumpy and turn to butter)
  7. Place Strawberries in serving bowl, top with whipped cream.