Is sugar and high fructose corn syrup making you fat?


WASHINGTON, January 16, 2014 — Everyone diets in January. But do you find yourself backsliding from your New Years resolution to eat a healthy diet and lose that excess weight?

There is a conflict between wanting to lose weight and motivating oneself to do what it takes to lose weight. Reducing your ingestion of sugar and eliminating high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from your diet may increase your willpower, but can also decrease your risk of  heart disease, type-2 diabetes and kidney disease. When you made your New Years resolution to eat healthy foods and exercise more, you meant it.

However, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are white devils. They are highly addictive sugars that have a similar affect upon the brain much as heron and morphine. Bart Hoebel, a renowned Professor of Psychology, in the Program in Neuroscience, at Princeton University said, “sugar “riggers production of the brain’s natural opioids. We think that is a key to the addiction process. The brain is getting addicted to its own opioids as it would to morphine or heroin. Drugs give a bigger effect, but it is essentially the same process.” Binging on sweets might make you feel good, momentarily.

However, you will crave more sugar or simple carbohydrates (like bread and pasta) that break down to sugar. Ingesting foods with HFCS also turns off brain areas that stimulate the sensation of being full and metabolizes in the body to make you fat, especially in the abdomen area. One might expect to find HFCS content in prepared cakes, pies, ice cream and cookies, but beware of the hidden HFCS in fat free or supposedly, diet foods.

Some fat free brands of salad dressing, for example, replace oil with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Similarly, HFCS is replacing tomato paste in some brands of barbeque sauce.

Read labels for nutrition and content.

You might be shocked to find sugar and HFCS as the first, second and third ingredients. A middle aged friend is confined to a nursing home.

She is overweight and hooked on Swedish fish.  Unable to travel to the store, she aske me to bring her some of the red chewy candies.

According to the label, Swedish Fish are fat free but are made of invert sugar, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, citric acid, white mineral oil, artificial flavors, red color and carnauba wax.  Yuck!

There are 30 grams of sugar in just 7 pieces of candy fish. Who cares that they are fat free? The sugar in the Swedish Fish made her feel good, but snacking on foods with HFCS between meals, for example, soft drinks, ice cream and candy, raises triglycerides and cholesterol levels that can cause a chemical reaction in the body called oxidized stress. The author of this article has been overweight for 40 years and has tried almost ever diet, except eliminating refined sugar and HFCS. Dump the sugar and commit to healthy eating. It might surprise you that 16 grams of sugar per serving is equal to about 4 teaspoons of sugar.

Additionally, check out your local Overeaters Anonymous Program.  It is a  12-step, self-help program that is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous.  It encourages the elimination of white sugar, salt and flour from your diet as well as peer support through group meetings. Stop procrastinating and resolve to make this New Year’s resolution to lose weight stick. 2014 is your year to get and stay healthy. Maybe we can do this together. Send me stories of how you are planning to overcome the conflict of weight loss.

Dr. Millicent Carvalho-Grevious, is the founder and principal of Pennsylvania Conflict Resolution and Mediation Services, Inc. She has mediated conflicts for over 30 years, providing services in a variety of venues for private and public entities, including the United States Postal Service, the Office of Dispute Resolution of the Department of Education, and the office of Employer Support for the National Guard and Reserve. She was one of 14 conflict resolution experts from 11 nations invited to Chongqing, China in 2009 to participate in a forum titled, “Responding to the Challenges of Financial Crisis and Building Social Harmony.” Previously, she served as Director/Program Chair of Urban Studies and Community at LaSalle University, Associate Professor and Chair of Department of Social Work at Virginia Union University and Associate Professor and Social Work Department Chair at Delaware State University. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Social Work and Master of Law and Social Policy degrees at Bryn Mawr College and Master of Education (Counselor Education) at Boston University and Bachelor of Arts at LaSalle University.

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  • Alison Mitchell

    So eating a lot of sugar and HFCS can increase a person’s cholesterol level? That’s a scary thought.