Two Good Reasons to Avoid High-fructose Corn Syrup

cerealDespite recent marketing efforts to make high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) seem less harmful to our health, the truth remains that it simply isn’t good for our bodies. HFCS is created by way of a chemical enzymatic process that increases its fructose content, and—as you may have guessed—this is not a good thing. In fact, countless studies point to the dangers of a diet high in HFCS and why you should avoid it.

Let’s Talk Liver Health
Due to the extra fructose, HFCS is absorbed more quickly into your body—and that fructose travels directly to the liver, where it contributes to fat deposits and triggers a number of metabolic imbalances such as increased triglycerides and impaired insulin sensitivity. Not surprisingly, several studies have linked too much HFCS in the diet to obesity and a higher risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The Heart of the Matter
Can too much HFCS increase your risk of heart disease? Yes, say scientists from the University of California, Davis. In a recent study involving more than 80 adults between the ages of 18 and 40, Dr. Kimber Stanhope and her team were able to determine that regularly consuming beverages sweetened with HFCS—even at low levels—contributes to heart disease risk factors and over time may increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The more we learn about HFCS (and sugar in all its forms), the more health experts urge us to eliminate it from our diet. Just last year the World Health Organization revised its recommendations to say that our daily sugar intake should amount to only 5% of our total calories—half of what they recommended previously. That’s about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily. The problem? Most of the time we don’t even realize we’re eating it.

So much of the food in our Standard American Diet (SAD) contains high-fructose corn syrup. And it isn’t just found in sugary sodas, candy, and snacks, but in unexpected places such as bread, cereal, protein bars, yogurt, and even pasta sauce! Your best bet? Always read the Supplement Facts labels to see how much sugar is in the products you buy. The closer it is to the top of the ingredients list, the more sugar a food is going to have.

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What are the Effects of Taking Probiotics?

woman_pillsNowadays it seems like we hear about the benefits of probiotics everywhere we turn. New studies continue to find a strong connection between a balanced gut and overall well-being, and more and more health practitioners are recommending probiotic supplements to their patients to help balance the gut and promote good digestive health.‡ Still, many people question whether or not there are any probiotics side effects. Here is the answer:

“Side effects” is actually a medical term used in the labeling of various pharmaceutical products. Probiotics are not pharmaceutical drugs. They are dietary supplements that have many beneficial effects on the human body.‡ Some of those effects include better elimination, changes in bowel habits, and—similar to when you consume a new food—they may produce occasional gas or bloating.‡ Also similar to consuming a new food, eating too much may present digestive challenges for the first-time user.‡

Essentially, it is possible to consume too much for your constitution the first time, and a way to address that and improve the effectiveness of your probiotic supplement is to decrease the dose by half or more in the beginning. Then, gradually increase the amount each day until your body adjusts and you are satisfied with the results.

Remember: probiotics are the “good” or “friendly” bacteria that occur naturally in the gut, but factors such as age, poor diet, stress, and the use of certain medications (including antibiotics) can deplete our bodies of billions of good bacteria and upset a healthy digestive balance. Ninety percent of digestion and up to 80 percent of immune function occurs in the digestive tract, so having a good balance of bacteria is important to our digestive, immune, and overall health.‡

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