Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Pour Some Sugar On Me

In yesterday's comments, Celebrate Woo-Woo made the good point that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup actually are different. As she says:
I would like to chime in that corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup has not undergone the same processing and additions as high fructose corn syrup and is not the metabolism killer. Corn syrup is all glucose while high fructose corn syrup is mostly fructose, a little more than half usually. Fructose needs to be balanced with fiber as it is in fruits, but since it isn’t with HFCS, I think that’s where the body starts having issues with it.

She is right in that there is a difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup and I appreciate her pointing that out. I found this piece that goes into the different types of sugars and here is how they broke it down:

Corn Syrup: Made from corn and composed mainly of glucose.

Fructose: A simple sugar found in fruits, honey, and root vegetables. It is used as a caloric sweetener, added to foods and beverages in the form of crystalline fructose (made from corn starch), and it makes up about half the sugar in sucrose or high fructose corn syrup (see below). Fructose does not elicit a glycemic response so it is sometimes used as a sweetener for foods intended for people with diabetes.

Galactose: A simple sugar found in milk products.

Glucose: The main source of energy for the body and the sugar produced when carbohydrates are digested or metabolized. Glucose is sometimes referred to as dextrose. Starch is comprised of long chains of glucose. Glucose make up exactly half of the sugar in sucrose and nearly half of the sugar in high fructose corn syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: A mixture of glucose and fructose produced from corn. The most common form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Lactose: The sugar found naturally in milk, it is composed of one galactose unit and one glucose unit; sometimes called milk sugar.

Maltose: A disaccharide composed of two glucose units. It is found in molasses and is used in fermentation.

Sucrose: Commonly referred to as table sugar, it is composed of one glucose unit and one fructose unit, bonded together.

I did a TON of research trying to find the different effects of these sugars. I found so much conflicting information - some said sugar isn't harmful, some said sugar will KILL you (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still). It was hard to pinpoint the different sources and agendas - one site CLEARLY had an agenda (the same site that said sugar won't hurt you AT ALL). I kept reading and reading and then my brain blew up. Bah.

I can say this - my husband is a diabetic and we know for a FACT that different sugars have very different effects on him since he's testing his blood sugar at least 6 times a day. For example, he can have a bit of honey with little effect. But tropical fruits totally whack his blood sugar out - his days of pineapple and oranges are OVER, y'all. I think gaining a little bit of knowledge and then taking the time to carefully gauge how you feel after consuming sugar can go a long, long way. I have a friend who is so sensitive to sugar, that she has pretty cut it out of her diet. After she consumes sugar, she is very cranky, moody and generally unhappy for several hours after. I generally don't have a sweet tooth, but this pregnancy has thrown me for a loop with my cravings for sweets. Perhaps this is why sugar has been so high on my radar lately.

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