Sucrose and glucose and High Fructose Corn Syrup, oh my!

The Threat of Obesity is Just as Scary

Halloween was once a time when ancient Celtic people honored the end of the harvest season. These days however, it seems that Halloween celebrates the surplus of corn which gets manufactured into High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and processed into synthetic confections making the masses more massive.
“High Fructose Corn Syrup is nutritionally equivalent to sugar and its fine in moderation,” according to television ads by the Corn Refiners Association. But is ultra refined corn really fine at all? HFCS is a type of corn syrup that has undergone processing to increase its fructose content and is then mixed with pure corn syrup. HFCS is manmade. It does not exist in nature.

Research has shown a direct link between obesity and HFCS; the tie-in lies in the link between leptin resistance and high fructose consumption.

Leptin is a hormone that helps regulate appetite and metabolism. Leptin resistance can result in weight gain because the leptin-resistant individual does not get normal signals of satiety. This causes them to overeat and gain weight over time.

Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit, but it’s not the normal consumption of fruit that is the problem. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are about 50% fructose, and these ingredients have become increasingly common in many foods and beverages. The result, people are eating much more fructose than ever before.

Concern about the connection between HFCS and obesity prompted a research team from the University of Florida to conduct a study on two groups of rats. They fed each group the same amount of calories over six months except one group got a lot of their calories from fructose and the other group received no fructose.

At the end of six months, researchers found that the group that was fed a high fructose diet had higher levels of triglycerides in their blood. They were also leptin-resistant.

To measure leptin resistance, the researchers injected all of the rats with leptin and then monitored their food intake. The rats fed the high fructose diet did not reduce their food intake while the rats that followed the fructose-free diet were able to stop eating. These rats responded appropriately to the extra leptin.

Both groups were then fed the same high-calorie, high-fat diet. The rats that were previously exposed to a high fructose diet ate more and gained much more weight than the fructose-free rats.

It is believed that high triglycerides impair the transport of leptin across the blood brain barrier. If leptin does not reach the brain, the brain will not send out the signal to stop eating.

Although many beverages have a corn syrup root which easily stimulates the cascade of obesity, candies are perhaps even more culpable. So if you’re looking for safe candy-eating recommendations, my best advice is: “Out of sight, out of mind.”

If you’re already one of the unlucky leptin-resistant individuals, then one piece will not do the trick to satisfy your Halloween treat. Please stick to whole foods. Fruit is nature’s candy. I doubt that anyone is overweight from eating too many apples.

As for your trick-or-treaters, give them non-food items such as stickers or tattoos.

If you still have a sweet tooth to fill, try some of these sweet treats made from whole food ingredients.

Cocoa-Nut Treats
1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup raisins
2 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon organic non-dutched, cocoa powder
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut
In a food processor, chop all seeds/nuts. Add remainder of ingredients to make smooth thick paste. Roll into 1″ balls. Roll in finely shredded coconut. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Per serving: 75 calories, 5g “Heart Healthy” Fat, 6g carbs, 1g fiber, 3g sugar, 2g protein. Good source of Vitamin E, Copper, Iron, Magnesium & Manganese.
Nut Brittle
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cashews
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour nuts into a bowl and coat with syrup. Cut a piece of parchment paper as long as a cookie sheet. Place parchment on cookie sheet. Pour nuts onto sheet and press onto paper. Bake 15-20 minutes. Nuts are done when toasted and hardened. Cool, cut and store in an airtight container. Lasts for weeks in the fridge and with portion control. Enjoy with chopped fresh fruit, yogurt, top whole grain cereal or a green salad.
Per serving: 2 Tablespoons (amount you can fit in a cupped hand), 100 calories, 8g “Heart Healthy” Fat, 5g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 2g sugar, 3g Protein. Good source of Vitamin E, Copper, Magnesium and Zinc, all which facilitate energy metabolism.