Chapter 4, Part 4: Fructose and Galactose
Recap of Part 3: Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs)
Dr. Fife explains that sugar consumption accelerates the aging process. He explains that elevated blood glucose levels increase molecular entities known as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs for short. The sticky glucose in your bloodstream can stick to fats, but it’s especially attracted to proteins.
He points out that aging is the accumulation of damaged cells.
The more AGEs you have in your body, the “older” you become functionally regardless of how many years you’ve lived. AGEs adversely affect other molecules generating free radicals, oxidizing LDL cholesterol (thus creating the type of cholesterol that collects in arteries and promotes atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes), degrading collagen (the major supporting structure in our organs and skin), damaging nerve tissue (including the brain), and wreaking havoc on just about every organ in the body. AGEs are known to play an important role in the chronic complications of [type 2] diabetes and in the development of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. [Ed: My emphasis]
Part 4 Begins: Fructose
Fructose (erroneously pronounced fruit-ose) has primarily found its way into our modern processed diet through an industrial process that churns out what is called high fructose corn (HFCS) syrup. Obviously, fructose is derived from corn.
Fructose has been hailed as the preferred sugar for diabetics because it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as does sucrose or regular table sugar. Fife attributes this misinformation due to clever marketing tactics from the sugar industry.
He explains the invention of HFCS in 1957 and its subsequent development. A big myth is that fructose comes from fruit, due to the similarity in the spelling of their names.
He explains the HFCS has a higher content of fructose compared to regular table sugar and that fructose and glucose in HFCS is more rapidly absorbed.
Fructose has a much greater overall damaging effect on the body than glucose. We normally think of glucose when we talk about glycation, but fructose undergoes glycation about 10 times the rate of glucose and intensifies AGE generation and tissue degeneration.
Fife points out that vegetarians tend to eat more fruit and more honey which results in them having a higher intake of fructose. He explains another problem with the excessive consumption of fructose. In animal studies high fructose consumption coupled with a copper deficiency in growing animals interfered with collagen production. Collagen is what holds our tissues and organs together. People who eat a processed food diet are typically copper deficient.
Fructose is metabolized in the liver, which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Fife points out that the detrimental effects are very similar to liver disease caused by alcohol consumption. It gets worse:
Fructose is far more fattening that other sugars or fat. Eating foods containing HFCS does not satisfy hunger but encourages overeating, which is another reason why food manufacturers prefer to use it in place of other sweeteners. Fructose tricks you into gaining weight by turning off your body’s appetite control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn, does not suppress ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, and not activate leptin, the hormone that suppresses hunger. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
My comments: Ouch! The bottom line is that the consumption of HFCS is even worse than sucrose or regular table sugar. Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, has written and spoken extensively how the consumption of HFCS quashes the production of the hormone leptin, which tells your body that you have eaten enough.
Continuing: The fat from the HFCS weight gain tends to land in the abdominal area causing a pot belly. This is visceral fat which is stored inside of the abdominal cavity. It gets worse:
Visceral fat is not just excess fatty tissue, but it’s a metabolically active tissue that releases hormones and promotes inflammation and increases your risk of a number of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, arthritis, sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders, and dementia.
Rat studies have borne out the rats fed HFCS at lower levels than in soda pop get fat. They don’t get fat when fed a high fat diet! Long term rat studies lasting over six months show these rats being fed HFCS develop metabolic syndrome. Again, this is obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other degenerative conditions. Male rats suffered even more from metabolic syndrome.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is found in hundreds of processed food and beverage products. Included are fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and dozens of others.
Fife slams the myth that fructose doesn’t have an immediate effect on blood sugar compared to regular table sugar. Fructose has a more detrimental effect on insulin resistance. He continues by stating that researchers understand this phenomenon so well that they routinely use fructose when they want to cause insulin resistance in laboratory animal studies.
Some physicians are now claiming that the increased use of fructose in all our foods is largely responsible for the skyrocketing incidences of diabetes we are experiencing today.
Fife reminds his readers that all sources of fructose have the same effect on the body. It doesn’t matter if the fructose is from HFCS, sucrose or a natural source such as agave syrup (a popular sweetener used in the health food industry). The effects are all the same.
He unmasks the agave scam. Agave is marketed to diabetics as being superior to table sugar or HFCS because it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much as table sugar. Agave nectar is processed from starch from the agave root. It’s a process similar to the production of HFCS, and the fructose content ranges from 70 to 97% He concludes by stating:
Despite the misinformation from marketers, agave syrup or nectar is far worse for your health then any other form of sugar. ED: My emphasis
Milk sugar or lactose consists of equal amounts of glucose and lactose, and lactose has similarities to fructose. Just like fructose, lactose is ten times more likely to form AGEs compared to glucose. Fife points out that when whole milk or cheese is consumed, there is not enough lactose to be concerned about. The problem occurs when the fat is removed as in non-fat milk, yogurt, and in other low-fat or non-fat iterations.
Dried non-fat milk is often added to low-fat or non-fat dairy products to add taste and texture. Fife explains that this is virtually doing the same things as adding HFCS.
All reduced-fat milk and milk powders are potential sources of excessive amounts of galactose…
My comments: I previously have not known what Dr. Fife just explained. I have used non-fat milk powder when camping as a way of having milk without refrigeration. Now I’ll have to rethink this.
Continuing: Fife explains that the galactose content of non-fat dry milk and skimmed milk powder is 49.5 to 52% galactose, which means that nonfat dry milk is predominantly sugar.
Like fructose, galactose is well known for promoting premature aging, inflammation, and excessive oxidative stress and vitamin deficiency due to the production of AGEs and free radicals. The consumption of high levels of galactose rapidly ages the body and the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Fife cites various studies concerning the consumption of diary products. Some people claim that the fat in whole milk is the culprit concerning heart disease. Fife makes it clear that the real issue is the high sugar content in low-fat or non-fat dairy products. The good news is that fermented milk and cheese have lower galactose levels, and they are not associated with oxidative stress or inflammation.
He references two groups of people that have thrived on whole milk. We can assume he is also referring to raw milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. One group is in Switzerland, and the other is the Masai in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Each Masai would consume several quarts of milk daily.
They were completely immune to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other degenerative diseases until more recent times, as they have adapted to agriculture and a diet much higher in carbohydrate-rich foods.
Fife reminds us that dairy consumption has always been considered to be healthy. The problem is with the increased galactose intake due to the consumption of non-fat milk and non-fat milk powders. The latter seems to wipe out the health benefits of high-fat, whole milk products.
Here are more examples of processed food products that contain these non-fat milk additives.
- Most low-fat dairy products; Cottage cheese, cheese, cheese spread, yogurt, chocolate milk, and ice cream
- Dessert and pudding mixes
- Chocolate milk mixes
- Gravy mixes
- Cookie dough
- Processed lunch meats
- Used in many dry goods including pancake and biscuit mixes, cake mix, cookies, crackers, bread, and other confectionary products
Fife throws one more dagger into the idea of consuming non-fat milk powder. Undamaged cholesterol is beneficial, but the processing of this product causes the cholesterol to become oxidized. Now, it’s harmful cholesterol. This is true for both dried non-fat milk and dried whole milk.
My Comments: This concludes our review and digest of Chapter 4, Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet. If you think Dr. Fide’s exposé of the destructive effects of sugar on your health in this chapter wasn’t damning enough, wait for his next chapter.
The 30-page chapter 5 is titled A Weapon of Mass Destruction. It’s not about chemical or biological weapons used for warfare, but rather he digs into the various processes of how the consumption of sugar thoroughly trashes our health. It ends up being chemical and biological warfare in your body.
Intellect Verses Feelings-Based Desires
Mexican restaurants typically serve a bowl of corn chips with hot sauce as an appetizer prior to your meal being served. My wife and I have avoided them for years due to the fact that they are baked with unhealthy oils.
Recently I was taken to a Mexican restaurant by some friends, and the server did the customary placing of the bowl of corn chips on our table. I was hungry, relented, and ate some of the chips. They tasted good. Unfortunately, I am very bad at stopping with just a few. In the next 24 to 48 hours, I could tell what I had eaten. My skin was more oily. I regretted my capitulation to what I know is not good for me.
Even more recently, a friend “Joe” and I were out for a hike. He mentioned to me that his wife sent some pie with him, and he asked if I would like some. I asked, “Does it have sugar in it?” Joe answered affirmatively. I passed up his offer. Later, we ate at a Mexican restaurant after our outing. Sure enough, the server dutifully placed a bowl of corn chips on our table. I didn’t touch them.
If you believe that these sugary foods and unhealthy seed oils are deleterious to your health, then your intellect will say, “No, I will not consume these products, no matter how good they may taste or how much pleasure I derive by consuming them. You leave your intellect in charge.