Farmers are subsidized to grow corn but they produce too much. Much of the corn is fed to livestock or turned into high fructose corn syrup, which is a cheap sweetener for processed foods. HFCS is calorie dense and is often found in junk food which is one of several good reasons to avoid junk food. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that fructose and glucose affect the brain differently; fructose seems to lead to increased appetite. Oops. The study used animals and we realize that experimenting with animals is not always a good indicator of the results that can be expected in humans. Plus there are not a lot of studies to which this can be compared but the results are interesting.
In another study, done at the University of California, researchers looked at 32 subjects with an average age of 50 who consumed fructose or glucose sweetened beverages equaling 25% of daily calorie intake. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It does to me. Unfortunately, it is what many people consume on a daily basis between soft drinks and junk food. Wow! And look at the results: both groups gained an average of 3.3 pounds but the fructose consuming group accumulated twice as much visceral fat (fat around soft organs) which increases the risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease. They also had a 14% rise in LDL cholesterol levels and a decrease in insulin sensitivity of about 17%. Oh my goodness… none of this is very good and it certainly doesn’t mean that glucose is “okay”.
The point is that there is no reason to discover which junk foods are better for us. That’s really crazy! What these studies do tell us is that substances created in a laboratory are not fit for us to consume; we were designed to eat foods created for us and found in nature. We are much better off consuming whole foods before they are processed and fragmented in a lab. So if you want something sweet try fruit (dried fruit is especially sweet so don’t overdo it… there are lots of calories in them). Perhaps a little agave nectar or Stevia on your oatmeal or rice would satisfy you. A little bit of a natural sweetener can go a long way.