Monday, September 20, 2010

Six Food Myths

BL sent this:

6 Biggest Myths About Food Busted, Huffington Post, Sept 17

Here they are:
  • Myth 1: Eggs are bad for your heart.
  • Myth 2: High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar.
  • Myth 3: A raw-food diet provides enzymes that are essential to healthy digestion.
  • Myth 4: Your body can’t use the protein from beans unless you eat them with rice.
  • Myth 5: Microwaving zaps nutrients.
  • Myth 6: Radiation from microwaves creates dangerous compounds in your food.
Believe it or not, I agree with all of these (I agree that they are myths). Do you?

I was expecting to go into it saying, "Oh, give me a break." But their justifications all make sense. I'm glad I'm not as cynical as I imagine.


andrewaway said...

So are they true or not. I'm confused.

andrewaway said...

Sorry. Now I get it. You provide a zillion links and I do the reading.

Bix said...

I see what you mean. I'll clarify it.
(I think they are myths, e.g. I don't think HFCS is worse than sugar, etc.)

andrewaway said...

I think you are right.

Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Bix, I bet you're familiar with Dr. Robert Lustig's tirade against fructose. He's on the faculty at University of California-San Fransisco.

Dr. Lustig is convinced that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a chronic toxin, at least in the amounts many of us eat, and the cause of our current epidemic of childhood and adult obesity and overweight.

Here are a few of his other major points:
-HFCS was invented in Japan in the 1960s, then introduced to U.S. markets in 1975
-sucrose and fructose are both poisons
-in the U.S. we eat 63 pounds (28.6 kg) of HFCS and 141 pounds (64.1 kg) of sugar per year [he didn't define "sugar" in this context]
-he praises Yudkins book, Pure, White, and Deadly [I've written about the Cleave-Yudkin carbohydrate theory of chronic disease]
-the triglyceride/HDL ratio predicts heart disease much better than does LDL cholesterol
-chronic high fructose intake causes the metabolic syndrome [does he think it's the only cause?]
-only the liver can metabolize fructose, in contrast to every other tissue and organ that can use glucose as an energy supply
-high fructose consumption increases the risk of gout and high blood pressure
-fructose interferes with production of our body’s production of nitrous oxide—a natural circulatory dilator—leading to higher blood pressures
-fructose increases de novo lipogenesis—in other words, it creates body fat
-fructose interferes with natural chemical messengers that tell your brain you’ve had enough food and it’s time to stop eating
-high fructose intake reduces LDL particle size, potentially increasing the future risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks [small, dense LDL cholesterol is more damaging to your arteries that large, fluffy LDL]

Is he right about all this? I have no opinion since I've not studied all the literature.

Do I personally eat much HFCS? No.


ElDoubleVee said...

"-HFCS was invented in Japan in the 1960s, then introduced to U.S. markets in 1975" What does this mean? Is some inscrutable oriental plot implied or is he just using racism to try and denigrate a food additive. Very odd.

"-sucrose and fructose are both poisons" What does this mean? Poison like Hemlock or Strychnine? Or is it just hyperbole to further denigrate a food additive.

Hyperbole weakens the message you are trying to convey. Why not say that any concentrated food additive is not good for your metabolism.

Bix said...

Interesting list. Some I agree with, some I would argue, some I just don't get (Japan?). I've read quite a bit about HFCS, fructose, and many other sugars.

The argument here is not whether lots of fructose in the diet is bad. I think lots of fructose is bad. (I don't think fructose itself is bad.)

The argument is whether HFCS is worse than table sugar. I don't think it is. They contain almost identical amounts of fructose (table sugar is a disaccharide made up of a molecule each glucose and fructose). Some HFCS contains even less fructose than sugar.

The only reason HFCS is called "high-fructose" is because pure corn syrup has minimal fructose in it. If you want to avoid fructose, eat pure corn syrup.

By the same token, if you want to avoid fructose, avoid honey, maple syrup, and some other sweeteners, which have even more fructose than HFCS:

1 tablespoon HFCS contains about 3g fructose.
1 tablespoon honey contains 9g fructose.
1 tablespoon maple syrup contains about 6g fructose.

The metabolism of fructose in the body is complex. The liver plays a role, but it is not the only organ that metabolizes fructose. Indeed, fructose can be converted to glucose (fructose-6-phosphate-->glucose-6-phosphate via glucose phosphate isomerase), a very useful reaction when glucose is at a premium. As well, fructose can enter the glycolysis pathway (which gives us energy) directly without being converted to glucose. Fructose is also the basis for many regulatory functions. I wouldn't call it a poison. said...

about eggs - i thought completely organic ( the old fashioned way - raised in my grandmothers house was good - yolk included ? it is all the farm raised,hybrid, non organic that was bad ?

Bix said...

Well, I wasn't saying eggs were bad. I think that's a myth.

I think it comes down to quantity. One egg a year would have an insignificant effect on health; one egg an hour would have a significant effect.

Type of egg (organic, free-range, etc.) - I don't know.

Family Nutritionist said...

The omega-3 content of an egg depends on the hen's diet. A free-range hen might be eating more high-omega-3 foods than a factory-caged hen. Or not.

But that won't change the fat cholesterol content of the egg very much...

Anonymous said...

"What does this mean? Is some inscrutable oriental plot implied or is he just using racism to try and denigrate a food additive. Very odd. "

What he clearly meant was that this 'food' was INVENTED in some lab in japan. They manufactured HFCS because it was a cheaper alternative to sugar. Now take normal table sugar, yes it's processed and refined and doesn't resemble the natural brown cane sugar BUT it is somehow still natural and wasn't manufactured in a lab.
HFCS marketing is big business and HFCS is in everything you buy that comes in a package, I'm actually suprised to see this blog defending HFCS

Bix said...

This myth only addressed the nutrition of HFCS and sugar. They seem to me to be very similar food products, devoid of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and most other nutrients.

Looking at this, I don't see how sugar is more nutritious than HFCS:



anrosh said...

let me add a caveat about japan - they have a STANDARD for themselves and a standard for others.

the Japanese makes "special " products for america and some for themselves. so if you want a japanese make - a 100 % - it is only available in the markets of japan

- the rest is all too obvious .