High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is, as the name implies, corn syrup whose glucose has been partially changed into a different sugar, fructose. To make HFCS, you start with corn, then mill it to produce starch -corn starch. Starch, the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, consists of long chains of glucose. To make corn syrup, you mix the corn starch with water and then add an enzyme, produced by a bacterium, that breaks the starch down into shorter chains of glucose. Then you add another enzyme, produced by a fungus, that breaks the short chains down into glucose molecules. At that point, you have regular corn syrup.
According to a new study published in Diabetes Care, your finger-prick blood glucose test may be "abnormally and significantly high" if you test after handling fruit without first scrubbing your hands thoroughly and vigorously.
After the American Heart Association introduced its heart healthy logo in 1995, manufacturers apparently decided that such "healthy" logos were a pretty good marketing idea. Similar logos, called front-of-the-package labels, or FoP labels, have become popular with several food manufacturers, each of which has developed its own labels using its own criteria. Now, not surprisingly, a study by the Prevention Institute has found that these labels are misleading to customers. According to the Prevention Institute's executive director, Larry Cohen, they "emphasize one healthy aspect to trick [customers] into buying something fundamentally unhealthy." Dora the Explorer Fruit Shapes, for example, prominently labels itself as "gluten free," but does not mention the fact that 58 percent of its calories come from sugar.
Foods that are sugar free, no sugar added, or low carb, typically have the sugar replaced with sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols have a significantly diminished impact on blood sugar levels as compared to regular sugar because they are incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestine. They also have fewer calories than sugar, and are not as sweet as sugar. Some common sugar alcohols are: glycol, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and lactitol. The simplest sugar alcohol, ethylene glycol, is the sweet but notoriously toxic chemical used in antifreeze. Sugar alcohol is typically derived from fruits and vegetables.
I have a long-standing obsession with baking. The art of creating cookies, bars, pies, and cakes got me through some of the most stressful times in my life, including holidays, college final exams, and a new job. After I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of twenty-four, however, I learned that my traditional ingredients, including white flour, sugar, and excessive amounts of chocolate, lead to high blood sugars and of course, fatigue, fogginess, and other undesirable side effects.
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