Throughout the years there have been many myths surrounding fat gain. Because many Americans have resorted to fast food and take-out to feed themselves and their families, the USA has grown a bit, gaining the international reputation of having an obese general public. That reputation may describe some people, but to the contrary, many Americans have also taken a great interest in maintaining a healthy body weight and keeping educated on the best practices to do so.
In the last 20 years, as fast food consumption grew and grew, the media looked continually for foods to demonize, advertising crash diets as suggested remedies to the problems at hand. Originally, the obvious answer was the easiest to conclude, so the blame for people getting fat was placed solely on…well, fat, of course.
Although fat was an easy thing to blame for fat people, there are definitely good fats that benefit the body, so cutting out fats as a whole didn’t work in theory, nor in practice. The blame was then shifted to salts, pointing the finger at MSG being an ingredient in almost all fast food for the fat gains. Although high sodium intake does lead to higher blood pressure, salt was not the only culprit either. As people cut fat and salts from their diets, it became apparent that there was more to the equation of an unhealthy nation.
In the 2000’s, it has spread with steadily increasing popularity that sugars were to blame. High fructose corn syrup has been a staple in the American diet for years, being cheap to produce and easily transformed into any snack or drink the country loves so much. This school of thought brought about another crash diet idea of cutting out carbohydrates completely, which can be bad for the heart.
So Is All Sugar Bad?
As stated, carbohydrates are necessary in controlled amounts to maintain proper health. Glucose is also necessary in controlled amounts, as it is the sugar that most cells can metabolize and turn into energy. The high fructose corn syrup mentioned before as a staple in the American diet must also be necessary, correct? Incorrect, actually.
Fructose is produced in nature as fruit sugar, hence the name resembling fruit. The problem with the corn syrup the USA produces so fervently and transforms into anything and everything labeled food is that it is “high fructose.” Taking in too much fructose can be bad for the liver, which is one of the only kinds of cells that can process it.
It can also lead to insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone responsible for metabolizing glucose, keeping it from rising to toxic levels. The more glucose made, the higher insulin levels rise. As the body has grown resistant to insulin’s effects, it cannot help handle glucose levels rising, allowing toxic glucose levels and leading to diabetes. Insulin also helps to signal fat from the blood to be stored.
When insulin levels are increased, too much energy is signaled to be stored as fat, inevitably ending in significantly elevated fat storage. All this, and more, is covered in the extensive Bodyweight Burn program, which you can get here, or by clicking the image to the right.
Fructose also aids in making the body resistant to another hormone called leptin. Leptin is released by fat, signaling to the brain how much fat the body has stored, helping to curb the feeling of hunger, regulating the diet. Because fructose has stopped leptin from working properly, the brain does not know that fat levels have risen, allowing a person to still feel hungry and keep eating. Much like insulin resistance, leptin resistance in the body compounds on itself. The more fructose brought in, the more fat is stored, the less of an effect hormones that regulate diet and metabolism have.
The resistance to hormones working properly in the body is a vicious set of cycles that lead inevitably to taking in more fructose (as it’s hard to escape), building more fat. Education is one of the biggest tools the country has in avoiding an obese future for the youth. Educating the youth and avoiding high fructose products may not change the population, but they are two steps in the right direction.