Some might think that the increase of the use of fructose corn syrup during the past 30 years, would be safe. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an “artificial” sweetener made from a complex process with corn; a process of brewing, separating, breaking down, injecting enzymes, filtering, mixing and blending. Still sound safe enough?
High fructose corn syrup is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods. It is cheap to produce, sweet and easy to store. It’s used in everything from bread to pasta sauces to bacon to beer as well as in “health products” like protein bars and “natural” sodas.
HFCS is less expensive, lasts longer, and is more easily transported and handled than natural sugar; thus food producers prefer it for their manufacturing processes.
Research has shown that “high-fructose corn syrup” goes directly to the liver, releasing enzymes that instruct the body to then store fat! This may elevate triglyceride (fat in blood) levels and elevate cholesterol levels. Because it is metabolized by the liver, fructose does not cause the pancreas to release insulin the way it normally does. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. Fructose reduces the affinity of insulin for its receptor, which is the hallmark of type-2 diabetes.
Some research claims that HFCS does not metabolize in the body like regular “natural” sugars; and that it might cause obesity-related glitches within the liver and other organs which normally deal with metabolizing, storing and using sugars in the body.
HFCS is Often Contaminated with Mercury. Recent studies of samples of HFCS and food products containing it in the United States conducted via two studies found that between 31% and 45% of the samples contained mercury. Mercury is toxic in even small quantities. For years, there have been suspicions that mercury used in vaccines may be related to the rise in autism in the United States. But this mercury contamination issue is much bigger and affects common foods widespread throughout the nation’s food supply. Products tested from big-name manufacturers such as Minute Maid, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Quaker, Hunt’s, Manwich, Smucker’s, Kraft, Nutri-Grain, and Yoplait had detectable levels of mercury.
Today, Commercial fruit juices and any products containing high fructose corn syrup are more dangerous than sugar and should be removed from the diet.
Read Labels! You’ll quickly see that this ingredient has been added to half the supermarket. So read under Ingredients carefully and look for High Fructose Corn Syrup or even just Corn Syrup.
Americans are being poisoned by a common additive present in a wide array of processed foods like soft drinks and salad dressings, commercially made cakes and cookies, and breakfast cereals and brand-name breads.
This commonplace additive silently increases our risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
The name of this toxic additive is high-fructose corn syrup. It is so ubiquitous in processed foods and so over-consumed by the average American that many experts believe our nation faces the prospect of an epidemic of metabolic disease in the future, related in significant degree to excess consumption of high-fructose corn syrup.
The food industry has long known that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in the most delightful way.” And cane sugar had been America’s most delightful sweetener of choice, that is, until the 1970s, when the much less expensive corn-derived sweeteners like maltodextrin and high-fructose corn syrup were developed. While regular table sugar (sucrose) is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, high-fructose corn syrup can contain up to 80% fructose and 20% glucose, almost twice the fructose of common table sugar. Both table sugar and high-fructose sweetener contain four calories per gram, so calories alone are not the key problem with high-fructose corn syrup. Rather, metabolism of excess amounts of fructose is the major concern.
The alarming rise in diseases1,2 related to poor lifestyle habits has been mirrored by an equally dramatic increase in fructose consumption, particularly in the form of the corn-derived sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup.3-12 In this article, we’ll examine the evidence for these associations, and we’ll attempt to determine if high-fructose corn syrup is a benign food additive, as the sweetener industry has lobbied us (and the FDA) to believe, or a dangerously overlooked threat to public health.
While cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in America,1 scientists have noted that “we are experiencing an epidemic of [heart and kidney] disease characterized by increasing rates of obesity, hypertension, the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease.”2 Add to this list a disturbing rise in new cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and you have a public health crisis of enormous proportions.
With a growing sense of urgency, scientists are examining the relationship between consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and numerous adverse medical conditions. And they’re coming away with a sour taste in the mouth. Emerging research shows that excessive dietary fructose, largely from consumption of HFCS, represents “an important, but not well-appreciated dietary change,” which has “…rapidly become an important causative factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome,”9 a conglomeration of risk factors that greatly elevates the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Other research suggests that high dietary fructose consumption contributes to obesity and insulin resistance,5,7 encourages kidney stone formation,13 promotes gout,14-17 and is contributing to an upsurge in cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.4,18,19 Furthermore, high dietary fructose consumption is associated with increased production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are linked with the complications of diabetes and with the aging process itself
High dietary intake of fructose is problematic because fructose is metabolized differently from glucose. Like fructose, glucose is a simple sugar. Derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates, glucose is a primary source of ready energy. Sucrose (table sugar) comprises one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. Thus, excessive sucrose intake also contributes to the rise in overall daily fructose consumption. Glucose can be metabolized and converted to ATP, which is readily “burned” for energy by the cells’ mitochondria. Alternatively, glucose can be stored in the liver as a carbohydrate for later conversion to energy. Fructose, on the other hand, is more rapidly metabolized in the liver, flooding metabolic pathways and leading to increased triglyceride synthesis and fat storage in the liver. This can cause a rise in serum triglycerides, promoting an atherogenic lipid profile and elevating cardiovascular risk. Increased fat storage in the liver may lead to an increased incidence in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and this is one of several links between HFCS consumption and obesity as well as the metabolic syndrome.7
Fructose may have less impact on appetite than glucose, so processed foods rich in fructose can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and its related consequences by failing to manage appetite.20 Additionally, loading of the liver with large amounts of fructose leads to increased uric acid formation, which may contribute to gout in susceptible individuals.
The high flux of fructose to the liver, the main organ capable of metabolizing this simple carbohydrate, disturbs glucose metabolism and uptake pathways and leads to metabolic disturbances that underlie the induction of insulin resistance,9 a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.
So you may want to look at labels of the food you eat more closely to prevent obesity or disease like diabetes. Just a thought.
“When you begin to notice that disordered eating habits are affecting your life, your happiness, and your ability to concentrate, it is important that you talk to somebody about what you’re going through.”
Setting up a treatment plan:
You and your treatment team will determine what your needs are and come up with goals and guidelines. This will include a plan for treating your eating disorder and setting up treatment goals. It will also make it clear what to do if you’re not able to stick with your plan or if you’re having health problems related to your eating disorder.
Your treatment team can also:
- Treat physical complications. Your treatment team monitors and addresses any medical issues that are a result of your eating disorder.
- Identify resources. Your treatment team can help you discover what resources are available in your area to help you meet your goals.
- Work to identify affordable treatment options. Hospitalization and outpatient programs for treating eating disorders can be expensive, and insurance may not cover all the costs of your care. Talk with your treatment team about financial issues ― don’t avoid treatment because of the potential cost.
Ongoing treatment for health problems:
Eating disorders can cause serious health problems related to inadequate nutrition, overeating, bingeing and other factors. The type of health problems caused by eating disorders depends on the type and severity of the eating disorder. In many cases, problems caused by an eating disorder require ongoing treatment and monitoring.
Medications can’t cure an eating disorder, but they may help you follow your treatment plan. They’re most effective when combined with psychological counseling. Antidepressants are the most common medications used to treat eating disorders that involve binge-eating or purging behaviors, but depending on the situation, other medications are sometimes prescribed.Taking an antidepressant may be especially helpful if you have bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Antidepressants can also help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, which frequently occur along with eating disorders.
You may also need to take medications for physical health problems caused by your eating disorder.
Hospitalization may be necessary if you have serious physical or mental health problems or if you have anorexia and are unable to eat or gain weight. Severe or life-threatening physical health problems that occur with anorexia can be a medical emergency.
In many cases, the most important goal of hospitalization is to get back to a healthy weight. Achieving your healthy weight can take months, so you’ll probably need to continue outpatient treatment to accomplish your goals once you get out of the hospital.
Health problems linked to eating disorders may include:
- Electrolyte imbalances, which can interfere with the functioning of your muscles, heart and nerves
- Heart problems
- Digestive problems
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Dental cavities and erosion of the surface of your teeth from frequent vomiting (bulimia)
- Low bone density (osteoporosis) as a result of irregular or absent menstruation or long-term malnutrition (anorexia)
- Stunted growth caused by poor nutrition (anorexia)
- Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Lack of menstruation and problems with infertility and pregnancy
What is being done to better understand and treat eating disorders?
Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. But many questions still need answers. Researchers are studying questions about behavior, genetics, and brain function to better understand risk factors, identify biological markers, and develop specific psychotherapies and medications that can target areas in the brain that control eating behavior. Brain imaging and genetic studies may provide clues for how each person may respond to specific treatments for these medical illnesses. Ongoing efforts also are aimed at developing and refining strategies for preventing and treating eating disorders among adolescents and adults.
Taking an active role:
You are the most important member of your treatment team. For successful treatment, you need to be actively involved in your treatment and so do your family members and other loved ones. Your treatment team can provide education and tell you where to find more information and support.
There’s a lot of misinformation about eating disorders on the Web, so it’s important that you follow the advice of your treatment team and get suggestions on reputable websites to learn more about your eating disorder. Examples of helpful websites include the National Eating Disorders
“Eating disorder treatment depends on your particular disorder and your symptoms. It typically includes a combination of psychological counseling (psychotherapy), nutrition education, medical monitoring and sometimes medications.”
The eating disorders anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, and their variants, all feature serious disturbances in eating behavior and weight regulation. They are associated with a wide range of adverse psychological, physical, and social consequences. A person with an eating disorder may start out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, their urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape, or extreme efforts to manage weight or food intake, also may characterize an eating disorder.
Eating disorder treatment also involves addressing other health problems caused by an eating disorder, which can be serious or even life-threatening if they go untreated for long enough. If an eating disorder doesn’t improve with standard treatment or causes health problems, you may need hospitalization or another type of inpatient program.
Having an organized approach to eating disorder treatment can help you manage symptoms, regain a healthy weight, and maintain your physical and mental health.
Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses. They frequently coexist with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. Other symptoms can become life-threatening if a person does not receive treatment, which is reflected by anorexia being associated with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
Eating disorders affect both genders, although rates among women and girls are 2½ times greater than among men and boys. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood but also may develop during childhood or later in life.
How are eating disorders treated?
Typical treatment goals include restoring adequate nutrition, bringing weight to a healthy level, reducing excessive exercise, and stopping binging and purging behaviors. Specific forms of psychotherapy, or talk therapy—including a family-based therapy called the Maudsley approach and cognitive behavioral approaches—have been shown to be useful for treating specific eating disorders. Evidence also suggests that antidepressant medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may help for bulimia nervosa and also may be effective for treating co-occurring anxiety or depression for other eating disorders.
Treatment plans often are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following:
- Individual, group, or family psychotherapy
- Medical care and monitoring
- Nutritional counseling
- Medications (for example, antidepressants).
You may start by seeing your family doctor or mental health counselor, such as a psychologist. You may also need to see other health professionals who specialize in eating disorder treatment. Other members of your treatment team may include:
- A registered dietitian to provide nutritional counseling.
- A psychiatrist for medication prescription and management, when medications are necessary. Some psychiatrists also provide psychological counseling.
- Medical or dental specialists to treat health or dental problems that result from your eating disorder.
- Your partner, parents or other family members. For young people still living at home, parents should be actively involved in treatment and may supervise meals.
It’s best if everyone involved in your treatment communicates about your progress so that adjustments can be made to your treatment as needed.
Managing an eating disorder can be a long-term challenge. You may need to continue to see your doctor, psychologist or other members of your treatment team on a regular basis, even if your eating disorder and related health problems are under control.
Some patients also may need to be hospitalized to treat problems caused by malnutrition or to ensure they eat enough if they are very underweight. Complete recovery is possible.
“Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.”
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is newly-recognized and is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that occur twice weekly or more for a period of at least six months. During bingeing, a larger than normal amount of food is consumed in a short time frame and the person engaging in the bingeing behavior feels a lack of control over the eating.
In BED, bingeing episodes are associated with at least three characteristics such as eating until uncomfortable, eating when not physically hungry, eating rapidly, eating alone for fear of being embarrassed by how much food is being consumed, or feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after the episode of overeating. These negative feelings may in turn trigger more bingeing behavior. In addition, although BED behaviors may cause distress by those affected, it is not associated with inappropriate compensatory behaviors such as those found in Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa. Therefore, people with BED often present as either overweight or obese because they consume so many extra calories.
Anorexia Athletica is a constellation of disordered behaviors on the eating disorders spectrum that is distinct from Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. Although not recognized formally by the standard mental health diagnostic manuals, the term Anorexia Athletica is commonly used in mental health literature to denote a disorder characterized by excessive, obsessive exercise. Also known as Compulsive Exercising , Sports Anorexia, and Hypergymnasia, Anorexia Athletica is most commonly found in pre-professional and elite athletes, though it can exist in the general population as well.
People suffering from Anorexia Athletica may engage in both excessive workouts and exercising as well as calorie restriction. This puts them at risk for malnutrition and in younger athletes could result in endocrine and metabolic derangements such as decreased bone density or delayed menarche.
Symptoms of Anorexia Athletica may include over-exercising, obsession with calories, fat, and weight, especially as compared to elite athletes, self-worth being determined by physical performance, and a lack of pleasure from exercising. Advanced cases of Anorexia Athletica may result in physical, psychological, and social consequences as sufferers deny that their excessive exercising patterns are a problem.
“Over exercise” is a general term referring to exercising to the point of exhaustion. Over exercise can occur once in a while as when someone overdoes it on a single work-out, or it can be a habitual behavior. When over exercising becomes the norm, this may be an indication that a person is actually suffering from what is called Obligatory Exercising, Compulsive Exercising, or Anorexia Athletica. When someone over exercises to the point where it is a problem, he or she may experience physical, psychological and social consequences.
Overeating is not a specific diagnosis of any sort but may rather refer to a discrete incident of eating too much such as during holidays, celebrations, or while on vacation, or it may refer to habitual excessive eating.
People who engage in overeating regularly tend to eat when not hungry and may eat alone because they are embarrassed about the portions of food they are consuming. In addition, they may spend exorbitant amounts of time fantasizing about their next meal. Another sign that overeating has become a problem is if excessive amounts of money are wasted on food. In general, people who overeat are overweight or obese though people with normal body weights may overeat from time to time as well.
Overeating becomes problematic when it manifests as a compulsive or obsessive relationship with food. At this point it may be treated with behavior modification therapy or as a food addiction. One program available that supports people in recovering habitual, problematic overeating using the context of an addiction is Overeaters Anonymous (OA). OA is set up similarly to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and is a twelve step program in which members acknowledge that they are powerless over food. OA is open to anyone who has an unhealthy relationship with food and who wishes to stop.
Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is an emerging condition that is gaining increased recognition among medical professionals. Its clinical importance is in relation to obesity as many people who suffer from NES are overweight or obese and being overweight or obese comes with many negative health risks. Although not classified as one of the types of eating disorders, as a syndrome, NES is considered a constellation of symptoms of disordered eating characterized most prominently by a delayed circadian timing of food intake.
People with NES tend to not eat in the morning and consume very little during the first half of the day. The majority of their calories are then consumed in the evening hours, so much so that sleep may be disturbed so that a person can eat. People with NES may be unable to get back to sleep after eating or may experience frequent awakenings throughout the night for feedings. However, people with NES are fully awake and aware of their eating episodes.
It is distinct from bingeing disorders in that the portions consumed are generally those of snacks rather than huge meals. In addition, it differs from Bulimia Nervosa since there are no compensatory or purging behaviors present to offset increased calorie intake.
Orthorexia Nervosa (also known as “orthoexia”) is a term coined by physician Steven Bratman in an article he wrote for Yoga Journal in 1997. It is not a traditionally recognized type of eating disorder but it does share some characteristics with both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, most specifically obsession with food.
Orthorexia refers to a fixation on eating “pure” or “right” or “proper” food rather than on the quantity of food consumed.
Having Orthorexia Nervosa is like suffering from Workaholism or Exercise Addiction in which something that is normally considered good or healthy is done in excess and to the point that a person becomes obsessed with the activity. Like other obsessive disorders people with Orthorexia Nervosa experience cyclical extremes, changes in mood, and isolate themselves. Most of their life is spent planning and preparing meals and resisting temptation to the exclusion of other activities. They may even go to the extreme of avoiding certain people who do not share in their dietary beliefs or carry their own supply of food wherever they go.
Like other eating disorders, Orthorexia Nervosa may result in negative consequences. Social isolation, physical deterioration, and a failure to enjoy life can occur. There have even been a few deaths related to Orthorexia Nervosa when a person becomes so low in body weight due to restrictive eating or fasting that the heart fails.
EDNOS – Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Edition there exists a category of eating disorders that do not meet the specific criteria for the two defined disorders, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. When people exhibit behaviors in the spectrum of disordered eating but do not meet all the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia, they are given a diagnosis of an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Over one-half to two-thirds of people diagnosed with eating disorders fall into the category of EDNOS. More people are diagnosed with EDNOS than Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia combined.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the only type of eating disorder under the category of EDNOS. A person meets the definition of having EDNOS if they have exhibit all the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa but have regular menstruation or a normal body weight, or if they exhibit all the criteria for Bulimia but purge less than two times per week or for a duration shorter than three months, or if only small amounts of food are purged, or if a person spits out food rather than swallowing it.
People diagnosed with EDNOS can experience the same negative psychological, social, and physical consequences as a person diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia. The seriousness of their condition is no different than that for people diagnosed with specific disorders. The only difference is that the person may experience a spectrum of disordered eating behaviors and these behaviors may change over time.
Although BED is the only one of the types of eating disorders categorized under EDNOS, people who are considered to have Sub Therapeutic Anorexia Nervosa or Sub Therapeutic Bulimia are also given a diagnosis of EDNOS. To have Sub Therapeutic Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia means that a person displays some but not all of the criteria for the full-blown condition.
“When a person has an eating disorder, they don’t just have an apparent lack of appetite because of weight and body dysmorphia issues. They are struggling with serious mental health issues that are taking over critical areas of their life.”
Cambridge Eating Disorder Center (Cambridge, MA)
Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by the refusal to eat. It can affect anyone of any gender or age but disproportionately affects young women in their late teens and early twenties.
According to the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) there are four diagnostic criteria that must be present to achieve having Anorexia Nervosa. First a person must refuse to maintain body weight over a minimal normal weight for age and height or have a failure to make expected weight gain during a defined period of growth, resulting in a body weight 15% lower than expected. Second, the person must experience intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight. Third, the person must have a disturbance in the way his or her body weight, size, or shape is experienced and also experience undue influence of body weight, or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current body weight. Finally, amenorrhea must be present. Amenorrhe is the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles when otherwise expected to occur. This eating disorder affects 0.4-percent of adolescents and young women. However it is estimated that more than 4-percent of all women will struggle with anorexia nervosa over the course of their lifetime.
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by cyclical bingeing and purging episodes. Bingeing is defined as the consumption of more food than most other people would eat in a similar circumstance over a discrete period of time accompanied by a sense of lack of control over the food consumption.
Bulimia Nervosa exists when bingeing and compensatory behaviors occur on average 2 times weekly or more for a period of at least 3 months, when the behaviors are not exclusively those of Anorexia Nervosa, and when self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape or weight. Those with Bulimia are often very concerned about gaining weight and intensely fear getting fat.
People with Bulimia may engage in a variety of either purging or non-purging behaviors such as vomiting, using laxatives, using diuretics, using enemas, fasting, or exercising excessively. Bulimic bingeing and purging cycles are often conducted in secret because of the shame and disgust associated with the process.
Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder affects 1.3-percent of adolescents and young women. An additional 0.7-percent of older women will develop this disorder over the course of their life.
Learn tomorrow the other eating disorders. Eating Disorders is this week’s National Awareness Topic!