Sugar: The Bad

high fructose corn syrup

Should I avoid all forms of sugar? This is a frequently asked question from many of my patients that are in treatment for obesity or eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED). As with all things polluted, sugar has developed a bad reputation. In its natural form, it is one of the most important sources of energy that we have on the planet. It is the only carbohydrate that circulates in the blood stream and it serves as the primary energy source for the brain. In the plant world, it is formed through photosynthesis, and is vital to the propagation of each plant species, as its job is to nurture the plant’s seed. Sugar is found naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and even in milk. These sources of sugar are not a problem. It is the added sugar in all of its polluted forms, which is contributing to so many of our health problems today. It is also the amount of added sugar in the U.S. diet that is literally killing us. This week, we’ll be posting a three-part series about sugar, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

The Bad

Commercially, fructose is derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and corn. This is where things get sticky. There are three important forms of commercially derived fructose:
  1. Crystalline fructose is a monosaccharide. It is usually created from cornstarch, but other starches such as rice and wheat can be used. In this method, corn is first milled to produce cornstarch, then processed to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose. The glucose obtained is treated with a series of enzymes to convert nearly all of it into fructose. The fructose is then allowed to crystallize, and is finally dried and milled to produce crystalline fructose.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a mixture of glucose and fructose. It is made up of any of a group of corn syrups that have undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce the desired sweetness.
  3.  Sucrose, the third form, is a disaccharide compound made up of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. It is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role as a food enhancer.
Dr. J. Renae Norton is a clinical psychologist, specializing in the outpatient treatment of obesity and eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED) and the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the Director of The Norton Center for Eating Disorders and Obesity in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

©2013, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2013, Dr J Renae Norton. http://edpro.wpengine.com’.

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