What do “The Waltons,” “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Little House on the Prairie” have in common? They pulled on your heartstrings, even if they were kinda sappy. In some things, a touch of corniness is welcome.
But when it comes to your food, researchers at UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Western Human Nutrition Research Center say that even a little high-fructose corn syrup should have you turning the channel (so to speak) and choosing HFCS-free foods. The scientists found that consuming a moderate amount of HFCS (equivalent to half a can of soda at breakfast, lunch and dinner) for two weeks can amp up lousy LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while boosting your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Eighty-five healthy volunteers were divided into three groups: One group got drinks sweetened with a 25 percent concentration of HFCS, one with 17.5 percent and a third with 10 percent. The 25 percenters saw their LDL go up from 91 mg/dL to 107; the other HFCS-drinking groups went from 93-95 to 102. (Healthy levels are below 100; for some it’s around 70.)
Unfortunately, in 2009, each North American ate more than 35 POUNDS of HFCS — now some say it’s up to 66 pounds! And heart woes aren’t the only problem researchers report that HFCS can trigger: Scientific articles say it leads to weight gain by inhibiting secretion of the “stop eating” hormone leptin and never shutting off the “feed me more” hormone ghrelin. So read ingredients labels on EVERY food you buy, and go with fruits and berries for your natural sweet treats.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit sharecare.com.