The #1 Worst Carb Ever (Don't Eat This)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Although high fructose corn syrup (called HFCS and “corn sugar”) may sound healthy, it actually is anything but. This dirt cheap, chemically-altered sweetener shuts down leptin, a fat-regulating hormone in your body that is responsible for sending “hunger signals” from your stomach to your brain.
Essentially leptin lets you know when you’re full. And when your brain doesn’t get the message, you keep eating and eating and eating while the manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup, and the products that contain it, keep making more and more and more money.
Here’s an example from a recent study. Test subjects were divided into two groups—one was given a glucose (sugar) beverage to add to their diet, while the other group was given a beverage containing high fructose corn syrup to add to their diets. While both test groups gained weight, the group consuming high fructose corn syrup packed on intra-abdominal fat (or belly fat).
Why is that so startling?
It’s because this particular kind of fat causes diabetes and heart disease. So, not only is high fructose corn syrup causing you to eat more than you should, it is literally putting your health at risk.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes 42 pounds of HFCS a year. That’s more than 75,000 empty calories that have no nutritional value! What’s more, teenagers are consuming 15 to 20 teaspoons of HFCS a day when they need to be eating nutrient-dense foods for growth and lifelong health.
It’s no wonder that The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that HFCS use increased by 4,000% between 1970 and 1990. The manufacturers of HFCS really are cashing in big… just like drug dealers… while America is adding belly fat at a very dangerous rate.
Speaking of a drug, have you ever indulged in a sweet dessert that just wouldn’t fill you up no matter how much you ate? One of those treats that you have no self-control over, like, oh, I don’t know… maybe soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, ice cream, pudding, jellies, most “fat-free” foods, chocolate, crackers, cereals, syrups, candies, or desserts? If that’s the case, you may want to check out the food label. Chances are it contains a large amount of high fructose corn syrup.
And remember, on American food labels ingredients are listed in order of the most abundant to the least. So if, for example, you see HFCS listed anywhere in the first five ingredients, that’s very bad. Instead, you’ll want to choose a version that doesn’t contain HFCS at all.
As an alternative to HFCS, I recommend the new zero- or low-calorie sweeteners like truvia™, Z-Sweet®, and Sun Crystals™ that are made with natural sources, such as erythritol and stevia. You can find these at most grocery stores. These natural sweeteners can be used instead of sugar packets in your hot beverages, on oatmeal, and even in baked goods to some extent.
Erythritol is an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener that is fermented from sugars and found naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It has no calories, no glycemic impact, and is only slightly sweeter than real sugar. It is also recognized as safe by the FDA.
Other sugar alcohols (such as xylitol or maltitol) frequently are blamed for side effects like gas and diarrhea when people overdo sugar-free treats. However, erythritol is absorbed before it reaches the large intestine, so it does not normally cause these digestive effects.
In the U.S., the granular form is marketed under the name Z-Sweet® and found in other natural sweeteners including Sun Crystals™ (which is a mixture of erythritol and raw cane sugar so it’s not zero-calorie) and truvia™ (which contains a mixture of erythritol and stevia).
Stevia rebaudiana is a leaf that first gained popularity in South America as a no-calorie, natural sweetener with a sweetness that is 30-45 times greater than that of table sugar. It’s been used all over the world for years as a safe, natural no-calorie sweetener.
After a long debate (which many people believe was due to the chemical sweetener industry trying to block it), it’s been approved for use in the United States. You can find stevia under the names PureVia™, SweetLeaf™, and mixed with erythritol in truvia™.
It’s important to remember that you should use all sugar alternatives, even natural ones, sparingly. Let your body learn that it doesn’t need sweets all the time to be satisfied, and you’ll be on the fast track to better health.
Now, while High Fructose Corn Syrup just may be the #1 worst carb ever, does that mean you should be avoiding ALL carbohydrates?
Absolutely not! Carbs aren’t the enemy, just like fat isn’t…these nutrients are a healthy part of any wholesome fat-burning diet.