Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fructose Might Not Be So Sweet

I strongly encourage everyone to listen to this podcast produced by the ABC about some recent research in the US about the potential down side of fructose. They interviewed Dr. Robert Lustig, who is a Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at UCSF. This weekly podcast is called The Health Report and is one of many terrific science and health podcasts produced by the ABC. According to this bio page, Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT and Cornell before his research career.

This interview carries an important message because fructose has insinuated itself so deeply into American society. I learned this from reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" which I blogged about here. Fructose is a monosaccharide carbohydrate. A simple sugar. It's the namesake ingredient of HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), which is in almost everything we eat, and in many things we don't eat. An interesting thing I learned from this podcast was that HFCS doesn't contain as much fructose as I imagined. As confirmed by the Wikipedia page on HFCS, fructose comprises nominally around 42 to 55% of HFCS. The rest being glucose.

Dr. Lustig describes the detrimental down stream effects of consuming large quantities of fructose. I would surely butcher his message if I attempted to outline it here. It's just complicated enough that mainstream media would utterly fail at communicating this to anyone, and still straight foward enough that any intelligent person will readily grasp the string of causal relationships. Please take 30 minutes of your day and listen to this piece. We can all make our own decisions. But we make better ones when we have more information.

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