John Clark writes…
First published: June 2012 – Gazette & Herald
We don’t allow children to drink alcohol – for very good reasons. We don’t allow children to smoke – for very good reasons. There is another substance which is just as dangerous. It is not taxed and there are no health warnings. Our children eat and drink it at lethal levels.
The culprit is fructose. Fructose occurs in fruit and vegetables. Thousands of years ago when humans were hunter-gatherers fructose intake was at 20gm a day. It was packaged in 200gm of fibre. Today our fructose intake is 60gm a day in an average fibre intake of 12gm.
For 50 years we have had an increase in obesity, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic liver disease. The cause was thought to be fat. So we lowered our intake down from 40% to 30%, yet these diseases continued to increase. Low fat means less taste so therefore food was sweetened. In 1966 the Japanese invented high fructose corn syrup. It is cheaper to produce than sugar and sweeterand used by manufacturers commercially from the 1970’s. In the late 70’s fructose intake was 37gm each day. By the mid 90’s fructose intake had increased to 50 gm. Now many teenagers are consuming more than 70gm. To make matters worse when fructose is in excess in the diet it forms fat in the body. In brief, low fat leads to high fructose which results in an increase of fat in the body. The complete opposite of the original aim.
Fructose causes more harm in the body than fat or alcohol. This problem was first highlighted by a British research scientist John Yudkin. In 1972 he published a book ‘Pure, White and Deadly’. No one took any notice. In the late 60’s a University Chemistry Lecturer dismissed the question of farm fertilisers and pesticides with the logic ‘the next thing you will be telling me is that white sugar is dangerous’. I should have said – ‘Well yes’.
Several factors make fructose a very dangerous substance.
Normally when we have eaten ‘enough’ our fat cells release leptin. This tells us we are no longer hungry – we stop eating. With a high fructose intake leptin is not produced and therefore we still feel hungry and just go on eating.
The body’s method of handling fructose is not the same as glucose. When glucose is ingested it is used throughout the body – only a little is stored in the liver. The liver is the only organ capable of processing fructose (as with poisons). With modern levels of fructose consumption this can lead to liver dysfunction, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and many others.
Fructose is not controlled, taxed or banned. Yet it is very dangerous. Dr. R.H. Lustig (the source of many of the facts in this article) describes it as a poison. Those who pollute our food with excessive amounts of fructose tell us ‘it must be safe, it’s natural’. Well so are tobacco and alcohol.
Fructose needs to be taxed as a first step. Which government will have the guts to take on the transnational food companies? If not, the nation’s health and hence finances will suffer massively.