forum: Everything else

#1 Tue 12 Jun 12 1:14pm


Jamie Oliver Food Foundation
From Jamie's Office
Member since Tue 06 Jul 04

The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold


One of my colleagues at Fresh One (Jamie's production company) had made a show on Corn Syrup. I learnt allot from just reading the press release below. Thought that this would make an interesting forum topic, any thoughts forum members?



Corn syrup is blamed for the rise in obesity and related diseases

Richard Nixon is remembered for his infamous part in the Watergate scandal, but his lasting legacy may be a burgeoning army of people in the West who are too fat.

In the 1970s, Nixon's Agriculture Secretary, Earl Butz, realised that farmers were harvesting more corn than they knew what to do with thanks to more efficient, industrialised methods. His answer was to champion increased production and use of high-fructose corn syrup, which has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some glucose into fructose. The fructose-rich sweetener now nicknamed "devil's candy" in the US was cheaper and sweeter than sugar. By the 1980s, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), called glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, was the favourite substitute for sugar worldwide, finds a new BBC series, The Men Who Made Us Fat, starting this week.

A growing body of research suggests that fructose, contained in both glucose-fructose syrup and table sugar, has strong links to obesity, as it suppresses the action of the hormone leptin, which tells the body that the stomach is full. The endocrinologist Robert Lustig told the BBC: "Leptin goes from your fat cells to your brain and tells your brain you've had enough." But when the liver is overloaded with sugar, leptin stops working. "It makes your brain think you're starving and now what you have is a vicious cycle of consumption, disease and addiction."

Dr Jean-Marc Schwarz, a food scientist at San Francisco General Hospital, said: "Some sugar will be converted to fat, and fructose is one sugar that can be easily converted to fat. It's not comparable to lead or mercury: it's the quantity that makes it toxic."

The substance is used widely in the US, especially in soft drinks, for flavouring and to improve shelf life. In the UK it is found in a range of products including McVitie's Hobnobs, Jaffa Cakes and Classic Rich Tea biscuits, Carte D'Or ice cream, Lucozade Energy Orange and Apple flavours, Yop yoghurts, McDonald's Big Mac sauce, two flavours of Kellogg's Special K bars and Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Soft & Fruity.

Kellogg's confirmed yesterday that it had removed glucose-fructose syrup from its All-Bran and Corn Flakes in 2009, but it remains an ingredient in some snack bars: "We use glucose-fructose syrup in a few of our snacks for texture reasons. We always ensure everything we use is approved by the Food Standards Agency." McVitie's has just announced it will add golden syrup to its Hobnob biscuits but could not confirm that this would mean dropping glucose-fructose syrup. And GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade, which includes 24 per cent glucose-fructose syrup in its ingredients, said it "does not contain high-fructose corn syrup".

Two-thirds of the British public are overweight, and a quarter are classified as obese. The average person in the UK is three stone heavier than 50 years ago, and obesity costs the NHS more than 4bn a year.

Dr Richard Johnson wrote in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007: "The combination of table sugar and glucose-fructose syrup has resulted in an additional 30 per cent increase in overall sweetener intake over the past 40 years."

Increased sugar intake is coupled with increasingly sedentary lifestyles: the average person now watches 26 hours of television per week; and an increase in portion sizes and snacking: the average woman now consumes 2,178 calories a day as opposed to 1,818 in the 1950s.

Laboratory research by Princeton University concluded that long-term consumption of glucose-fructose syrup resulted in "abnormal increases in body fat, especially the abdomen". Professor Bart Hoebel, who led the study, said: "Some people have claimed that glucose-fructose syrup is no different from other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true."

Other research has suggested it may be linked with the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, thought to cause Alzheimer's, heightened blood pressure, and memory and learning impairment.

Zoe Harcombe, author of The Obesity Epidemic: What Caused It? How Can We Stop It?, told The Independent on Sunday: "I think it's hideous, one of the most evil products we've introduced into our diet. It's cheap and it adds shelf life to products, but has no nutritional value whatsoever." She believes that we should also be curbing our consumption of fruit, high in fructose. "It is certainly not helping the obesity epidemic," she said.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietician, said: "Fructose is probably not as bad as we think at current UK levels. Short-term studies on very high doses have produced negative effects on blood lipids, but longer-term studies on more normal amounts (up to 50g a day) do not show these effects. Concerns about the use of glucose-fructose syrup in drinks may relate to the impact of the drinks themselves rather than the fructose content."

Helen Bond, of the British Dietetic Association, said: "There are a lot of frightening trials about the potential effects of glucose-fructose syrup. We need more scientific work on its effects on the body."

'The Men Who Made Us Fat' goes out on BBC2 at 9pm on Thursday

    Likes (0)

#2 Tue 12 Jun 12 3:25pm


Forum champ
Occupation Why is the Rum always gone???!
From out to lunch
Member since Sat 07 Jan 06

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

I have read up a bit on this  last year  although  some things are fading from memory. Sugar is 50/50 glucose fructose and HFCS is 45/55 glucose fructose.  It doesn't seem like much difference but  some of the problem is that the HFCS fructose is unbonded to the glucose, this leads to higher faster absorbtion  earlier in the disgestive track. When it comes to sodas and drinks with it that are easily absorbed as it is , it can hit the liver  in one big surge overwhelming it badly .

Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule or a cook.  { cowboy saying}
    Likes (0)

#3 Tue 12 Jun 12 10:03pm


Forum champ
Occupation Walking the Old Ways
From Living in the Wild Woods
Member since Wed 16 Jan 08

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

I am concerned (of course), especially as I continue to work with children who through disability are mobility-impaired, resulting in potential weight issues......................but I am not one for knee-jerk reactions. I think a lot more independent scientific research needs to be done by people who have nothing to gain from the results one way or the other.

I am always concerned about the food industry adding stuff of no nutritional value to everyday food products just to make money, whether it is to increase shelf-life or as an addictive 'taste' intended to hook the consumer. Because they can do it is no reason they should be allowed to do it, & it is clear that all too often legislation is playing catch up a long way behind.

I would like to see food product manufacturers forced to pay for the independent science to prove a thing IS safe before production begins, rather than 'watchdogs' paying after production has started to prove the stuff isn't safe.

I don't want anything hidden in my food just to make it last longer, or to use a crop too many farmers have invested in.
Farmers should grow the food we need to eat, not have us eat what they decide to over-produce!

    Likes (0)

#4 Wed 13 Jun 12 2:44pm


Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

I have done a lot of reading about glucose and fuctose. Corn syrup, cane sugar and the sugars in fruits have a similar balance of glucose and fructose ie they are pretty much as bad as each other.
I have a bad reaction because illness forces me to be so inactive. I need to avoid fruit now as well as all simple sugars.
I understand that generally, as well as lowering sugar intake (especially out of balance with fibre), exercise is important to help the body process fructose.

It seems to me that food industry science went gung ho to fructose syrup when glucose was implicated in diabetes etc, and it is only now that the problems of excess fructose is becoming well known. About time!

Here is the best presentation of the info I have found. It is a half hour program: … ic/3240406


    Likes (0)

#5 Thu 14 Jun 12 9:14am


Forum champ
From Scotland
Member since Wed 06 Apr 05

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

This is another good one, also with Dr Robert Lustig: … re=fvwrel, and his new series about the effects of HFCS, fructose and sugar in general "The Skinny on Obesity" is also worth a watch.

    Likes (0)

#6 Thu 14 Jun 12 11:02am


Member since Thu 14 Jun 12

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold


I just wanted to say that the presentation that Dr Lustig made - and has been updating for many years - is really worth watching. It is very detailed and aimed at people with a reasonable interest in biochemistry.
The chemical processes of digestion will never be adequately explained in magazines and newspapers, it's great that universities have made this kind of lecture available online.

    Likes (0)

#7 Thu 14 Jun 12 11:11pm


Forum champ
From Scotland
Member since Wed 06 Apr 05

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

I've just finished watching this programme, and was very heartened to see this being discussed publicly.  The programme was well put together and very informative, but I feel that it glossed over a lot of issues that would have been better dealt with in a little more depth.  However, it's great to see something like this finally making an appearance in mainstream television rather than marginal websites!  I am looking forward to the next episode, too, and would like to congratulate Jacques Peretti on a courageous series.  It was good to see the interviews with Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes - and the reference to to John Yudkin's book Pure, White and Deadly (it's well worth reading if you can track a copy down - it's out of print but can occasionally be found in libraries or online as a PDF which I how I got my copy) was good to see, as well. 

For those interested in a little more information, I would recommend reading Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes, and also Trick and Treat by Barry Groves.  Loren Cordain has also written some interesting books in a similar vein and Mary Enig is also a compelling writer (although not on the subject of sugar!).

    Likes (0)

#8 Fri 15 Jun 12 8:56pm


Forum champ
From Estonia
Member since Tue 06 Oct 09

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

It seems that sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup are the same when it comes to ingestion and digestion.  The problem is since it's cheaper (and sweeter) then sugar more of it is being used by the "friends" that fill our stores shelves full of enticing foods and beverages....and it's in almost everything (processed) think
Japanese Dr. Yoshiyuki Takasaki's US patent on HGCS processing in 1972 (notice the application date of 1969). … mp;f=false

Butz interview on "King Corn" documentary

NYC Health Department anti fat vid yummy

NYC Health Department anti sugar vid yummy

The MOST interesting link is this... If you watch anything WATCH THIS!!!!

Sugar: The Bitter Truth 2009

Sugar: The Bitter Truth 2011

    Likes (0)

#9 Sat 16 Jun 12 9:33am


From Serbia
Member since Sun 04 Apr 10

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

"She believes that we should also be curbing our consumption of fruit, high in fructose. "It is certainly not helping the obesity epidemic," she said." But along with fructose, fruits also deliver large amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. If you find someone suffering from obesity and malnutrition, it's unlikelly they got that way from eating lots of plain fresh fruit and unsweetened fruit juices.  hmm

    Likes (0)

#10 Sat 16 Jun 12 4:09pm


Forum super champ
Occupation Just being me
Member since Fri 28 Mar 08

Re: The deadly legacy of America's fields of gold

I'd like to know if HFCS is worse than refined cane sugar and the fructose in fruits or other highly refined sugars like honey.  According to many studies, it's all refined sugar to the body . . . then is the issue simply the quantity people consume?

A 30 ounce soda = 90 grams of sugar.
1 medium apple = 19 gm of sugar.
1 cup blueberries - 19 gms of sugar, but I feel one portion would be 1/3 cup.

1 teaspoon of clover honey = 5.3 grams sugar
1 teaspoon white cane sugar = 4.1 grams sugar

A 30 ounce soda is ten times the amount of sugar of tea or coffee with one teaspoon of sugar and a small bowl of fresh blueberries.

    Likes (0)