But there is a chemical difference between a mixture of two monosaccharides and the disaccharide formed from the same, so you cannot simply assert that the two are nutritionally equivalent in every way without investigation.
True, but the first step in metabolizing sucrose is splitting it up into glucose and fructose, so one would expect the effects to be very similar, at least.
What, if any, byproducts are there of the split? Nothing comes for free, I’m told.
The reaction is: sucrose + water -> glucose + fructose
But this started out with the claim that sucrose invokes a higher degree of appetite suppression, which could, at least in principle, involve bodily processes (including mere taste) at an earlier stage than initial catabolism.
My own history can be nothing more than anecdotal, of course, but the era of HFCS’s large-scale replacement of sucrose corresponds pretty neatly with the era of me going from skinny adult to obese adult.
But as Exapno and others pointed out, the increase in obesity can’t just be attributed to the switch to HFCS. Portion sizes overall have gotten much much bigger over the years. This handout from the CDC gives some information about that, and lists strategies that health-care providers can teach their patients. Also, people eat more processed food now than they did when you were younger.
The nature of processed foods is also such that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s most responsible for any weight gain associated with that food. There is a good bit of overlap in terms of what additives go in which foods; the same handful of ingredients are as likely to be in a relatively healthy breakfast cereal as they are in a Twinkie. Which one will make you fatter?
In any event, this may be academic anyway. Many low- and no-fat foods have HCFS to replace the fat. So it’s a double-edged sword. Do we want people to consume more fat, or do we want them to consume more sugar? Which is the lesser evil?
I would like to have seen Cecil’s article mention this.
As written, the article says simply that sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, implying that it’s a 50-50 mixture of two monosaccharides (which it isn’t).
EDIT: Incidentally, doesn’t the sweetness of fresh fruit come almost entirely from fructose?
If it’s fructose that causes obesity, as the cited studies claim, wouldn’t that mean fresh fruit is worse for your waistline than HFCS is?
I’ve heard that orange juice is little better than a soft drink plus a vitamin C tablet, as far as your health is concerned. What makes fruit not as bad as HFCS is that it’s packaged with a crapload of fiber, and this fiber fills you up in a way that HFCS does not.
It could take me four or five oranges to squeeze a glass of orange juice. I could drink that glass in five minutes, taking it easy and slow along with breakfast. I definitely couldn’t eat five oranges in five minutes.
Heh - here in orange growing country, we aren’t doing our jobs if you aren’t eating oranges that fast, we are growing them that fast
Plus, did you know that almost all table oranges come from CA, and almost all juice oranges come from FL?
Let’s talk about juices for a minute though.
I buy 100% fruit juices, no added sugar of any kind. I cut them with water, usually 3:1 water to juice to get the calorie range to 30-40 cal/cup instead of the more common 120 to 140 as constituted.
This makes me wonder - why do almost all fruit juices have almost the same caloric content, regardless of fruit? Even if the juice has HFCS or other sweetener? Are all fruits really in such a close range of calories when juiced?
My WAG: Most of the juices are in fact made from concentrate, and so there is some leeway in how much water to add. And the public seems to be willing to drink a certain sweetness for some reason, one I find too sweet now that I have been doing this for years. Recently I was visiting my mother and for breakfast she served some straight up OJ and she might as well have injected it, it was far far too sweet. Same thing happened the other day when circumstances forced me to sip a regular coke instead of my preferred diet. I almost puked.
Anyway, I think people are just conditioned to too much sweetness in drinks, it doesn’t have to be that way, although it is a relearning-curve that is pretty steep for a while.
Well, if you’re talking about pure juices, it’s very likely because they’re made from fruit that has been bred (Breeding plants? Is that right?) to contain enough sugar to be highly marketable. If you’re talking about “100% juice” blends, most of the juice is from apples, which add enough sugar to make sour cherries taste sweet.
Pepsi has introduced Pepsi Throwback, sweetened with “pure sugar”. Same price as regular.
I just wanted to bring this into relative focus. Those little sugar packets you put one or two of into your morning coffee–or maybe you put three or four in, and get smart-asses asking if you want some coffee with your sugar–contain about a sixth of an ounce, or 4-5 grams, of sugar. So a 12-ounce can of Coke, which has 40 grams of sugar according to the label, has 8-10 packets worth of sugar in it. :eek: Now multiply that by how many cans you drink per day, or the ~15 packets per 20-ounce bottle by the number of bottles you drink per day.
When you’re pouring that much sugar syrup into your body, how much do you really think it matters whether it’s sucrose or fructose/glucose?
A lot of them also use pear juice, for the same reason.
White grape juice is used the same way. Basically, instead of adding sucrose, they’re adding high-sugar, low-flavor juice concentrate, which amounts to the same thing.
A while back I was looking at fruit juices and cocktails as an alternative to sodas. I noticed that pear juice was in just about everything. You’d have a “raspberry/cranberry cocktail”* and the main ingredient would be pear juice. Yes, that is exactly the reason why, but at the time it was odd to me that nothing mentioned pear in the advertising. Of course, it’s precisely because pear juice has very weak flavor that it isn’t mentioned. The flavor comes from the other fruits, so they’re the ones that get named.
*Not necessarily a real flavor.
Apparently not in Phoenix
It also likely corresponds to the era of a “large” soda being 32oz (or even twice that) instead of 16-20oz. Yes, we are drinking more, but WHY are we drinking more? I think it’s because HFCS does not signal the brain “you’re full- stop now” like other sugars do. Remember, the original Coke serving was a tiny 8oz (or 7oz?) glass bottle.
I have seen studies that give HFCS a very low satiety rating, ie you don’t feel “full” unless you drink more. OTOH, I have seen other studies that contradict that.
Left Hand of Dorkness- OJ with the pulp (such as the stuff you squeeze yourself) has a decent amount of rather nice fiber. OJ without the pulp is more or less “flavored sugar water with vitamin C added”.
I’ll go along with blaming the portions.
A fast meal used to include one of those 6 or 8 oz. coke bottles. The little paper pouch of fries; and a burger was the size of a McDonalds burger. Now, quarter pounders, whoppers, super-size fries, and 16 to 24 oz soft drinks are standard. Those little dainty cakes at tea? those were supposed to be a dessert. Steaks were 6 or 8 oz. - now 10 is small, 14 or 16 is normal. You every look at a “normal” serving of breakfast cereal, as recommended on the side of the box? Supposed to be half a cup, one of those tiny boxes we used to take camping 30 years ago - yeah right, who eats that little today?
Part of the problem is the arms race of size. If you can’t beat them on taste, compete on size. One has super-size, they all have to. Part of the problem is money - really, food has gone from being the second-biggest cost of living after housing, to more trivial than communication and information. Add up your cell phone, cable, internet, video rentals, music etc. and you probably pay more than for groceries. We’re fat because food is cheap.
Originally, fat was tagged as the belly-buster, being 2.5 times the calories of protein or sugar. To make things “fat free” they add sugar as necessary to make them taste edible. So the caloric ocntent ahsn;t gone down much, but the balance - fat vs. sugar - has. Maybe that’s part of the problem too - not enough fat, our appetite doesn’t slow down. Soft drinks would be the worst in that regard - all sugar, no fat. Very few people drink a litre of milk.
Most Americans also used to go out for food rarely. So if a restaurant gave you a big portion, it was a treat. Now there are families who seldom eat a meal cooked at home. And often when they do, its packaged food. So we have a lot less control over what is in our food, and a lot less control over how much ends up on our plates. And, restaurants have helped us establish an idea of portion size that’s really not sustainable if you aren’t a longshoreman.
Most of us grew up with a “clean your plate/don’t waste food” mentality - driven by the thought that food was expensive and necessary. When you are trained from a young age not to “waste” food - then presented with a 12 oz steak, a salad big enough for a meal (covered in dressing, of course), mashed potatoes to feed a hard working farm hand, and a slice of cheesecake bigger than your head - we do what has been ingrained in us by our parents.
A lot of restaurants (and people, for that matter) assume that large portions equal value. If I can get a six-ounce steak for $9.99, wouldn’t it be better to get a 12-ounce steak for $12.99? After all, it’s twice the meat for only three bucks more. In fact, there’s a diner near me whose marquee sign reads “GREAT HOMEMADE FOOD AND PLENTY OF IT.” And one of the major casual-dining chains (TGI Fridays, IIRC) advertises smaller portions at lower prices.
I am now going to eat a whole bag of celery sticks. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.