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Studies Confirm Corn Syrup Worse than White Sugar
For many years, scientists were unsure if corn syrup was worse than sugar. Now, a new study has confirmed that corn syrup is the unhealthiest sweetener of all. Read more below.
According to new research, corn syrup can now definitely be added to the “worse than sugar” category. For several years, the corn industry has tried to state that corn syrup is no worse than sugar because it contains a similar glucose to fructose ratio.
However, the new study has uncovered that high fructose corn syrup has a higher fructose rating, and is actually much more harmful to health. Read more about these new studies below.
For several years, Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has been at the forefront of the research that suggested that corn syrup was worse for your health than regular table sugar.
However, there were few other studies to back this initial research, so it was difficult to determine if his assessment was correct or not. Now, a study from the University of Utah has proven that corn syrup is more detrimental to health than white sugar.
The study, first published in the March 2015 Journal of Nutrition (published online January 2015), examined the effects of sugar vs corn syrup on the health of female mice. Biologists from the University of Utah fed mice equal amounts of sugar or fructose based on the equivalent amounts of what most Americans eat on a regular basis. The study authors found that the mice fed the corn syrup had a reduced lifespan and trouble with reproducing more than the mice fed table sugar.
The study also examined male mice given the same sugar diets, and found no difference in male mice who took sucrose or fructose- both were equally toxic to male mice. “This is the most robust study showing there is a difference between high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar at human-relevant doses,” the study authors noted. According to the study authors, although high fructose corn syrup has roughly the same amount of fructose and glucose as table sugar, corn syrup separates the molecules, while table sugar keeps them together.
The study authors theorized that this could be the reason why the corn syrup had more detrimental effects. The new findings were based on the results from a 2013 toxicity study on sugar.
In the 2013 study, researchers found that when mice were fed 25 percent of their calories from added fructose and glucose, females died at twice the normal rate. Male mice given the same diet were 25 percent less likely to reproduce or fight for territory. The new study narrowed the previous results even further by separating the types of sugar given to mice. Some received 25 percent corn syrup while the other group received 25 percent table sugar.
Female mice had a 1.87 higher rate of death when given corn syrup and produced just over 26 percent fewer offspring. Males acted the same no matter what kind of sugar they ate, suggesting that sugar of any kind may be worse for males than females. The researchers also found that the type of sugar did not contribute to an increase in weight gain or difference in glucose tolerance.
The researchers also noted that the difference seems to occur before the sugar enters the liver, brain, or bloodstream- suggesting that the difference occurs in the stomach. “We speculate that the different sugars could favor different microbes in the guts of mice. Other research has shown differences in bacterial communities in the gut to be associated with metabolic diseases in rodents and in humans. It’s possible one form of sugar causes more bacteria to get across your gut than another,” the study authors stated.
According to a study from 2010, HFCS can contain up to 65 percent fructose rather than the 50 to 55 percent fructose it is supposed to contain. Regular table sugar contains about 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The ratio of glucose to fructose is important because of how the sugar is metabolized. Glucose is metabolized directly into the blood. Fructose, on the other hand, is metabolized by the liver.
In fruit and other natural foods, fructose is used as a “reward” for eating nutritionally-dense fruits. In nature, it is only fruit that produces fructose. Because only a small amount of natural foods contain fructose, our bodies are not equipped to handle large amounts of these foods. When a diet high in fructose is consumed, studies show that the liver becomes overloaded and starts storing the fructose as fat rather than using it. This can lead to a whole host of problems including liver disease, cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, a sluggish metabolism, and obesity.
The reason your body can handle fructose while it is in fruit form is because fruit contains many other nutrients, carbs, and fiber, that help metabolize the fructose properly and prevent it from hitting your liver like a brick.
What makes high fructose corn syrup worse than table sugar is that even a small increase in fructose amount can have detrimental effects on the body. If you replace all sugar with HFCS, you are dramatically increasing your fructose intake. Obviously, table sugar is also bad for you in large amounts, but with the effects on the liver combined with the potential increased rate for death and fertility problems, it makes sense to avoid this sweetener.
According to data collected by the University of Utah, at least 25 percent of Americans eat a diet that consists of 25 percent or more of added sugars. Added sugars are anything not existing naturally in foods. Usually, 44 percent of sugar consumed is table sugar, 42 percent is corn syrup, and 14 percent is made up of other sweeteners.
According to the study researchers, previous studies have indicated that a higher intake of corn syrup/fructose leads to metabolic problems, like obesity, insulin resistance, and abnormal triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Data published by The New York Times in 1902, stated that even back then, the average American already consumed 8 times more sugar that year than individuals in the early 1800s. According to an article published by Business Insider in 2012, the average person in 1882 consumed only as much sugar as contained in a single can of soda over a period of 5 days.
A single can of soda contains about 44 grams of sugar, which means that the average person in the 1800s only consumed about 10 grams or less of sugar per day. Today, the average American eats that much sugar in a seven-hour period.
In fact, the modern American consumes 100 pounds of sugar each year- and some eat much more. Obviously, this is too high, particularly if most of it comes from HFCS. There are about 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon (a baking teaspoon, not a regular soup spoon).
To maintain the 1800s level of sugar consumption, you should eat no more than three teaspoons of sugar per day. This can actually be quite difficult, as almost all packaged foods contain added sugar. According to standard health data, the liver can handle up to nine teaspoons of sugar per day- or up to 38 grams.
A single 12 ounce can of soda contains about 38 grams of sugar, but so do many other common packaged foods. For maximum health, try to keep your daily added sugar consumption to five or fewer teaspoons daily.
Since fructose is metabolized by the liver, it has a different response than glucose, which is absorbed by the blood stream. When fructose is metabolized, it creates fatty acids. These acids accumulate as fat droplets in the liver and in skeletal muscle tissues. Eventually, this causes a sluggish thyroid, insulin resistance, and even non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It can also lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, drive up your blood pressure, and cause gout.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2011 examined how added sugar influenced a person’s health. The study authors found that added sugar over a period of two decades significantly contributed to cardiovascular deaths. Individuals who consumed more than 30 percent sugar daily were four times more likely to die from heart disease.
In short, eating a lot of sugar (particularly from fructose) will make you fat, give you heart problems, raise your blood pressure, slow your thyroid, and increase your risk for diabetes. Simply cutting back on sugar can dramatically work to improve your health outside of any other factors.
By now, you should recognize just how damaging the high prevalence of added sugars in the modern diet are. You may think you are eating healthfully, but usually all processed foods contain added sugars. This means that if you are also eating a sweetened food daily (such as a sweet beverage or dessert), then you are probably pushing your body past safe sugar consumption levels.
The only way to reduce your risk of these dangerous and deadly health problems is by eating a better diet. In addition to reducing your sugar consumption to less than nine teaspoons daily, you can add the following foods to your diet to improve your thyroid function and maintain a healthy weight:
If you have eaten a poor diet for an extended period, you probably have some nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies have a powerful effect on the thyroid and can cause it to become sluggish. Common nutrient deficiencies that lead to thyroid problems include:
You can think of your thyroid as a sort of barometer for the health of your body. If your thyoid isn’t functioning properly, than your health is not in balance. There are a variety of factors that can cause your thyroid to become unbalanced, but one of the easiest things to fix that can have a dramatic effect is reducing your sugar intake. If you consume more than 39 grams of sugar daily, then it is likely that this is contributing to your sluggish thyroid. Reduce the sugar in your diet, eat a healthy diet, and address any nutrient deficiencies and you will soon see your thyroid jump back in balance.
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