When is sweet taste sour? When it’s in foods where it doesn’t belong. And, when it leads to an unhealthy heart. How? By depositing sugar as fat into an area of our body called the viscera – around our stomach and intestines.
In the 1980s, we went fat-free. Yet obesity continued to rise. As did heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cancer.
Scientists are puzzled. Wuz up?
Turns out, sugar.
A 2009 study proved that two groups fed beverages sweetened with either fructose or glucose gained the same amount of weight (about 3 pounds), but the new fat ended up in different places. The fructose group gained visceral fat, which is linked to much higher risk of heart disease and diabetes than the fat that sits just beneath your skin.
Since then, more studies have consistently shown the same effect. And the amount of sugar used in the studies typically is equivalent to a fructose-sweetened 12-ounce can of soda, as in High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
Those of us drinking the most fructose have the most visceral fat, higher blood pressure and higher blood sugar levels, in addition to elevated triglycerides (fat in your blood), LDL (bad cholesterol) and low HDL (good cholesterol). Not only that, liver and muscle fat doubled in one study where folks downed a liter a day. This is indeed precarious in our body’s system because a fatty liver leads to insulin resistance (inability of your muscle cells to drink up much need blood sugar for energy) and is the first stepping-stone to diabetes or heart disease.
The danger of HFCS is that when levels in the body are high, the liver goes into overt action, quickly converting it to fat and plunking it right down in our gut. This isn’t the kind of fat our body likes to burn for energy, though, so it lingers and creates more danger. This whole process is like an algebraic equation:
HFCS + Your Body = Visceral Fat & Fatty Live = Inflammation = Cardiovascular Disease
The average American downs 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugars per day (some consume more). (more…)