This article originally appeared in Natural News but has since been removed from their website. Their editorial note has been left in the article.
Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud
Sunday, November 23, 2008 by: Rami Nagel, citizen journalist
Key concepts: Fructose, Food and Health
(NaturalNews) Editor’s note: This highly-controversial article was written by a Citizen Journalist writer, not an in-house NaturalNews staff writer. NaturalNews does not agree with every statement in this story, but we posted it because we are aware of an increasing amount of fraudulent, low-quality “agave” products in the marketplace, and we think a public discussion on agave nectar product is of value. Some readers have pointed out that some of the sources mentioned in this article have conflicts of interest, as they are aligned with competing products such as brown rice syrup. It’s up to you, the discerning reader, to decide what to make of this article. I plan to provide more coverage of this topic in the future, and we are currently looking at the agave nectar industry in an effort to separate fact from fiction. Right now, I can confidently say there is a lot of fraud in the agave industry, much like there was in the olive oil industry a few years ago. – Mike Adams, editor of NaturalNews.com
Here is the complete article as written by Rami Nagel:
Agave nectar is advertised as a “diabetic friendly,” raw, and a “100% natural sweetener.” Yet it is none of these. The purpose of this article is to show you that agave nectar is in reality not a natural sweetener but a highly refined form of fructose, more concentrated than the high fructose corn syrup used in sodas. Refined fructose is not a ‘natural’ sugar, and countless studies implicate it as a sweetener that will contribute to disease. Therefore, agave nectar is not a health building product, but rather a deceptively marketed form of a highly processed and refined sweetener.
Agave nectar is found on the shelves of health food stores primarily under the labels, “Agave Nectar 100% Natural Sweetener,” (1) and “Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar.” (2) In addition, it can be found in foods labeled as organic or raw, including: ketchup, ice-cream, chocolate, and health food bars.
The implication of its name, the pictures and descriptions on the product labels, is that agave is an unrefined sweetener that has been used for thousands of years by native people in central Mexico. Botanically, agave plants are in the lily order Liliales and the order Asparagales (depending on which botanical taxonomic system you use) both of which define agave as a flowering plant. For “thousands of years natives to central Mexico used different species of agave plants for medicine, as well as for building shelter,” so claims the fanciful pedigree of this plant. Natives would also allow the sweet sap/liquid of the agave to ferment naturally, which created a mildly alcoholic beverage with a very pungent flavor known as ‘pulque’. They also made a traditional sweetener from the agave sap/juice (miel de agave) by simply boiling it for several hours. But, as one agave seller explains, the agave nectar purchased in stores is neither of these traditional foods: “Agave nectar is a newly created sweetener, having been developed during the 1990’s.” (3)
What is Agave Nectar?
The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice. The process in which the agave starch is converted into refined fructose and then sold as the sweetener agave nectar is through an enzymatic and chemical conversion that refines, clarifies, heats, chemically alters, centrifuges, and filters the non-sweet starch into a highly refined sweetener, fructose. Here, a distinction must be made. Fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose’. There are some chemical similarities between fructose (man made) and levulose (made by nature), and so the synthetically refined sugar fructose was labeled in a way to make one believe it comes from fruit. Levulose is not fructose even though people will claim it is. Russ Bianchi is Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc., a globally recognized food and beverage development company. Russ explains:
“If fructose were natural, I would be able to go out to corn field and get a bucket of sweetener. I can go to a beehive and get honey that I can eat without processing it. I can go to an apple tree and pick an apple and eat it. I cannot go out into a cornfield, squeeze corn, and get fructose syrup, and I cannot go into an agave field, and get the product sold on retail shelves, as agave nectar. Falsely labeled agave fructose and high fructose corn syrup are both products of advanced chemistry and extensive food processing technology.” (4) Mr. Bianchi has an insider’s view of the health food industry and the food creation industry, having worked in the industry for decades.
Take water for example. We all know that the chemical formula for water is H2O: two hydrogens and one oxygen. The opposite would be O2H, which is nothing close to water. Likewise, man-made fructose would have to have the chemical formula changed for it to be levulose, so it is not levulose. Saying fructose is levulose is like saying that margarine is the same as butter. Refined fructose lacks amino acids, vitamins, minerals, pectin, and fiber. As a result, the body doesn’t recognize refined fructose. Levulose, on the other hand, is naturally occurring in fruits, and is not isolated but bound to other naturally occurring sugars. Unlike man-made fructose, levulose contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fruit pectin. Refined fructose is processed in the body through the liver, rather than digested in the intestine.(5) Levulose is digested in the intestine. Refined fructose robs the body of many micronutrient treasures in order to assimilate itself for physiological use. While naturally occurring fruit sugars contain levulose bound to other sugars, high fructose corn syrup contains “free” (unbound), chemically refined fructose. Research indicates that free refined fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium. (6)
The reason why refined fructose is used so commonly as a sweetener is simple: it’s extremely cheap in cost.
Agave nectar, as a final product, is mostly chemically refined fructose, anywhere from 70% and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites. The refined fructose in agave nectar is much more concentrated than the fructose in high fructose corn syrup. For comparison, the high fructose corn syrup used in sodas is 55% refined fructose. High fructose corn syrup is made with genetically modified enzymes. Is agave syrup (refined fructose) made the same way?
“They are indeed made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes. They are also using caustic acids, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and so forth in the conversion of agave starches into highly refined fructose inulin that is even higher in fructose content than high fructose corn syrup”, says Mr. Bianchi. Inulin is a chain of chemically refined fibers and sugars linked together, and, this bears repeating, high fructose inulin has more concentrated sugar than high fructose corn syrup!
In a confidential FDA letter, Dr. Martin Stutsman (from the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Labeling Enforcement) explains the FDA’s food labeling laws related to Agave Nectar: “Corn syrup treated with enzymes to enhance the fructose levels is to be labeled ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup.'” According to Mr. Stutsman, agave, whose main carbohydrate is starch, requires the label “hydrolyzed inulin syrup.” Even though, like corn, agave is a starch processed with enzymes, it does not require the label high fructose agave syrup because the resulting refined fructose sweetener is so sweet that it is chemically closer to inulin.
From this point forward, agave nectar will be referred to by a more accurate name: agave syrup. This name is also legally uncomplicated and non-deceptive, per US Federal labeling laws, even though the true name would be hydrolyzed high fructose inulin syrup. “The product called ‘agave nectar’ is really chemically refined hydrolyzed high fructose, which is intentionally mislabeled to deceive consumers,” states Mr. Bianchi.
In a stunning report released in October 2008, the U.S. government’s own accountability office reported that of the thousands of food products imported into the US each year from 150 countries, just 96 total food items were inspected by the FDA to insure label accuracy and food safety. (7) The FDA doesn’t usually protect consumers regarding food safety or food labeling, nor does it usually take action against many misleading labels. This was seen with the processed infant formula scandal from China, where infant milk powder was tainted with toxic melamine.
High Fructose Agave’s Dubious History
In the year 2000, with warrants in hand, federal agents from the Office of Criminal Investigations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came banging on the door of North America’s largest agave nectar distributor, Western Commerce Corporation in California. In an extremely rare case of the FDA protecting consumer interests (rather than supporting big business, while shutting down legitimate and health consciousness competition), they discovered that Western Commerce Corporation was adulterating their agave syrup with high fructose corn syrup (to lower the cost even more and increase profit margins). While the federal agents confiscated the material in the warehouse, the owners of Western Commerce Corporation were nowhere to be found. Those who ran the company fled the country with millions of dollars in assets to avoid criminal prosecution.
This adulterated agave syrup (refined fructose) was also labeled as certified organic (8) to fool consumers into thinking they were getting a pure product. This shows you how unverified organic labels were used in the USA, and continue being used even now.
Today, high fructose agave syrup is made primarily by two companies, Nekulti, and IIDEA. Yet a third agave marketer, by the name of ‘Volcanic,’ has a suspicious claim on their website. “If your agave comes from one of the other two companies in Mexico, something has been added.” (9) They are referring to Nekulti and IIDEA. Their claim is based upon an analysis, which claims that their agave nectar has a lower refined fructose level.
Blue Agave Nectar is Not a Safe Sweetener
When the Spaniards came to the New World, around 1535, they brought with them a
desire for brandy. When their supplies ran out they had to find a new alcoholic beverage to replace their lost brandy. The Spaniards found that by distilling the juice of the plant now known as the blue agave plant they could produce a potent alcoholic beverage, which over time has evolved into what we now call tequila. In order to produce a sweetener from the blue agave plant, the entire pineapple -like, giant root bulb of the plant is removed from the earth. It is then dried and juiced, making an agave starch juice. This in no way resembles any form of traditional use of the blue agave plant. While great for distilling tequila, the blue agave plant, when transformed through a chemical process into refined fructose, may contain many properties that make them dangerous and toxic for regular human consumption.
“Yucca species, together with other agaves, are known to contain large quantities of saponins,” according to Tyler’s Honest Herbal. Saponins in many varieties of agave plants are toxic steroid derivatives, as well as purgatives, and are to be avoided during pregnancy or breastfeeding because they might cause or contribute to miscarriage. These toxins have adverse effects on non-pregnant people and many health compromised consumer categories as well. They are known to contribute to internal hemorrhaging by destroying red blood cells, and they may gravely negatively harm people taking statin and high blood pressure drugs. Agave may also stimulate blood flow in the uterus.(10) Other first hand reports indicate agave may promote sterility in women. Since the agaves used for agave syrup are not being used in their traditional way, there should be a warning label on the sweetener packages that it may promote miscarriage during pregnancy, through weakening the uterine lining.
What’s Wrong With Fructose?
Once eaten, refined fructose appears as triglycerides in the blood stream, or as stored body fat. Elevated triglyceride levels, caused by consumption of refined fructose, are building blocks for hardening human arteries. Metabolic studies have proven the relationship between refined fructose and obesity.(11) Because fructose is not converted to blood glucose, refined fructose doesn’t raise nor crash human blood glucose levels — hence the claim that it is safe for diabetics. Supposedly, refined fructose has a low glycemic index, and won’t affect your blood sugar negatively. But the food labels are deceptive. Refined fructose is not really safe for diabetics. “High fructose from agave or corn will kill a diabetic or hypoglycemic much faster than refined white sugar,” says Mr. Bianchi. “By eating high fructose syrups, you are clogging the veins, creating inflammation, and increasing body fat, while stressing your heart. This is in part because refined fructose is foreign to the body, and is not recognized by it.”
The average person consumes about 98 pounds of highly refined corn fructose per year in the USA, that roughly translates into half a cup of refined fructose per day. In an average supermarket, at least 2/3 of all items contain some form of highly refined fructose, because it is one of the cheapest ingredients and fillers for foods, next to water, air, and salt. In health food stores, some foods contain a sweetener called crystalline fructose or other sweeteners labeled as fructose. Essentially, these are all refined corn fructose, labeled in a way to trick people that it is something more natural. Mr. Bianchi concludes:
“The simple answer tends to be the correct one. There is no land of milk and agave. Milk comes from goats, cows, humans, etc., and honey comes from bees. What I want people to understand is that mislabeling a sweetener like agave syrup is about money and profit, to the real determent of your health. The unethical factor is that the natural health food business has gone to great lengths in the case of agave to defraud consumers, by deceiving and lying to those who are trying to seek better health. There is something ethically worse about a company pretending to sell something all natural to people seeking health, than a mainstream company not pretending that their food is healthier. For example, nobody selling fast and junk foods is advocating it is health food. When you are in a natural health food store, you expect to pay extra money for something that is good for you. We have con artists here, pretending to deliver better health at a higher cost, when in reality it is equal to, or much worse than the many other sweeteners or harmful junk food. People are expecting to receive health, and are intentionally being defrauded for profit.”
Amber Agave Syrup (refined fructose)
Agave syrup (refined fructose) comes in two colors: clear or light, and amber. What is this difference? Mr. Bianchi explains, “Due to poor quality control in the agave processing plants in Mexico, sometimes the fructose gets burned after being heated above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it creates a darker, or amber color.”
Chain Food Stores and Health Food Stores
When Western Commerce Corporation was shut down, due to their agave syrup alteration scheme in 2000, the big guys in the food industry stayed away from any agave syrups. They knew better than to risk lawsuits, and health consumer fraud. “They were clear that agave was criminally mislabeled per US Code Of Federal Regulation labeling laws, with an untried sweetener, new to the market, that contained saponins, and was not clearly approved as safe for use.” explains Mr. Bianchi. For many years following this bust agave syrup was not used.
But recently, some sellers in the agave syrup field, once quiet, have begun sneaking back into the food and beverage chain. And retail food giants like Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Trader Joes and Kroger, (12) who should know better, and who should know the food labeling laws and requirements, still have no hesitation in selling the toxic, unapproved, and mislabeled refined fructose agave syrup, as well as products containing it. Mr. Bianchi explains the legality of this practice. “The simple answer here, again, tends to be the correct one. The stores carry agave products knowing that if they are caught, the legal responsibility will be on the agave sellers and producers, and not the stores. They will just pull it off the shelves. They may also be victims themselves and lied to by the purveyors and sellers of agave products. So long as agave products are profitable, the stores will carry them, regardless of fraudulent labeling or health concerns. Stores will continue to carry agave until consumer fraud complaints to local district attorneys, consumer unions, class action litigation or severe reactions like death ensue.”
Conclusions on Agave Syrup
Without the FDA making efforts to enforce food-labeling laws, consumers cannot be certain that what they are eating is even what the label says it is. New sweeteners like agave syrup (refined fructose) were made to coin a profit, and not to help or assist vital health. Due to the lies from many companies who sell agave syrup (refined fructose), you have been led to believe that it is a safe and a natural sweetener. The retail refined agave syrup label does not explain that it goes through a complicated chemical refining process of enzymatic digestion, which converts the starch into the free, man-made chemical fructose that has a direct link to serious the degenerative disease conditions so prevalent in our culture. While high fructose agave syrup won’t spike your blood sugar levels, the fructose in it will cause: mineral depletion, liver inflammation, hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, obesity, and may be toxic for use during pregnancy.
If you want to buy something sweet, get a piece of fruit, not a candy bar labeled as a “health food.” If you want to create something sweet, use sweeteners that are known to be safer. For uncooked dishes, unheated raw honey or dates work well. For cooked dishes or sweet drinks, a good organic maple syrup, or even freshly juiced apple juice or orange juice can provide delicious and relatively safe sweetness. In general, to be healthy, we cannot eat sugar all day, no matter how natural the form of sugar is, or is claimed to be. One should limit total sweetener consumption to approximately 10% of daily calories. Or one sweet side dish per day, (like a bowl of fruit with yogurt.)
While it may be depressing news to hear about the lack of standards in the health food world, let this news help encourage you to seek access to more pure and unrefined foods and sweetener sources, so that you can be healthier.
Additional Reading – Published Books that Talk about the Dangers of Refined Fructose and problems with food labeling and deceptive health practices.
Sweet Deception by Dr. Joseph Mercola
The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan –
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan –
Sugar Shock! by Connie Bennett
Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
Welcome to Food Politics by Marion Nestle
Generation Rx, Greg Crister
Bad Foods, Michael Oakes
Food Fight by Dan Imhof
The Sugar Fix, Timothy Gower, Richard Johnson
Please Don’t Eat the Wallpaper, Dr. Nancy Irven
Understanding R Epidemic, Sylivia Ledoux 2008
Fat Politics by J. Eric Oliver
Obesity Epidemiology, Frank Hu
6. (http://www.westonaprice.org/modernf…) (USDA in Beltsville studies)
11. (http://news.ufl.edu/2005/12/06/fruc…) (http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/825/ ) (http://www.sciencedaily.com/release…) (http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/ful…)
Bibliography for additional research
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics for the year 2003, from the Economic Research Service latest numbers, reports the average consumption per capita in the USA population of approximately and estimated 300 million, of refined sweeteners (not including high intensity sweeteners) is 161.90 pounds per year. This consumption number must be contrasted by the first US official statistics in 1905, at just under 6 pounds of total refined sweetener consumption per year, with a population that was less urbanized, or prone to the consumption of processed food or refined sweeteners. One might argue that mortality rates have actually improved in comparison to the correlation of higher sweetener consumption rates in this 100 or year period. In point of fact, diabetes, hyperinsulinism or hypoglycemia, cardio vascular disease, obesity and cancer, and correlated diseases, have also rapidly and epidemiological paralleled the rise of diseases medically and actuarially linked with increased refined sweetener consumption.
November 10th, 2001, Wall Street Journal, Food? The Next Tobacco? Page #1, 5th Column
World Health Organization Statistics for the Year 2000
Something About Sugar by George M. Rolph, John J. Newbegin Publishers of San Francisco, 1917
Fat Land – How Americans Became The Fattest People In the World by Greg Critser, Penguin Books, 2003, ISBN 0-713-99739-7
Sweet Deception by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Nelson Books, ISBN #0-7852-2179-4
Disease Prevention And Treatment – Expanded Third Addition, 2000, Life Extension Media, ISBN 0-9658777-4-4
Los Altos Health Research Clinic Study conducted by Dr. Gene Spiller
Polarimetry, Saccharimetry and the Sugars, Circular C440, US National Bureau Of Standards, by Frederick J. Bates & Associates, May 1, 1942
Sugarless – Towards The Year 2000, Edited by A.J. Rugg-Gunn, Royal Society Of chemistry, Department of child Dental Health, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, 1994
Food Politics: How The Food Industry Influences Nutrition & Health by Marion Nestle
Physicians’ Desk Reference, 2001, Chief Editor, Sheldon Hendler, PhD, MD, Medical Economics Company, Inc.
Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia
Food Chemical Codex, National Academy Press, ISBN 0-309-03090-0
The Merck Index, Twelfth Edition, 1996, ISBN 0-911910-12-3
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food & Nutrition, University of California, Berkeley, Sheldon Margen, MD, Editor, ISBN 0-929661-0306
4. Physician’s Desk Reference, 2001, Chief Editor, Sheldon Hendler, PhD, MD, Medical Economics Company, Inc.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Scientific American, September 1998
Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet – Living With, Understanding And Managing Hypoglycemia, by Wilbur D. Currier, MD, Maura Zack, Harvey M. Ross, MD, 1983, IBSN 0-88005-002-0
The Journal, Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundation, Fall 2001, Volume 25, number 3, Diabetes Prevention: Historical Analysis, Edward Bennett, Editor
National Institutes Of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases of the US National Institute of Health, December 13th, 2001, US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, And US Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy F. Thompson, on November 1st, 2001, announced a new emphasis on treating obesity, diabetes through managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, in conjunction with the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Key to this landmark study was the medically based recommendation for regular exercise, a limit to total calories consumed per day, with the SPECIFIC emphasis on the wholesale reduction of refined carbohydrates, including but not limited to, refined sweeteners.
The Associated Press On March 25th, 2004, by Steve Hartose, reported ‘Refined Fructose Sweeteners Linked to Obesity Rise’ which incorporated the USDA sweetener consumption rate from 1967-2000 by Dr. George A Bray, a longtime obesity scientist at the Louisiana State University System’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, whose conclusive results where published in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, linking HFCS consumption and obesity in the American population. Food & Beverage Industry spokespersons tried to deflect the findings, much like the tobacco Industry denied any linkage between tobacco products and disease, but the evidence is clear and irrefutable.
Fructose and mannose metabolism – 3D structure in PDB at the following web site: http://kegg.genome.ad.jp/kegg/metab…
Isomerization of glucose and fructose at web site:
Measuring Blood Fat Vital To Heart Examination, March 24th, 1998, in The Boston Globe, By Richard Saltus. Triglyceride levels are a precursor to the formation of low density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) conducted by Antonio M. Gotto, Jr, MD, Dean of Cornell University Medical College in New York, Jorge Jeppesen, MD of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. Key to the medically published study the direct causal connection of high levels of triglycerides from refined fructose intake. Ronal Krauss, head of Molecular Medicine at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in California said of the study:
” a bunch of us who have been absolutely convinced that triglycerides are a part of the missing equation that we have to deal with above and beyond cholesterol” (are vindicated) in the predicting the risk of heart disease”. The original study was published in Circulation, the medical periodical of the American Heart Association, also in March of 1998.
Reuters Limited, April 26th, 1998: “Harvard Medical School in Boston, concluded two studies presented at an international conference of the American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Society, involving 100,000 American nurses for obesity linkage to asthma. Over 14.6 million in the USA suffer from asthma. Triglycerides, caused primarily from refined fructose consumption, are a leading cause of obesity.”
Meira Fields, PhD, at USDA in Beltsville, Maryland has conducted several studies directly linking laboratory animals (rats and pigs) with rapid copper depletion, leading to rapid and advanced heart disease, as a result of “moderate” High Fructose Corn Syrup ingestion. Richard Anderson, PhD, lead scientist at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland notes: “Many people think that adult-onset diabetes and cardiovascular disease are natural diseases of aging; we believe they are natural diseases of poor nutrition.” This was published in Men’s Confidential Magazine confirming earlier tests and reported results in Science News of June 8th, 1985 by Norman Steele, PhD, of USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, delivered to the Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology in St. Louis, MO, in 1985.
The Metabolic Basis Of Inherited Disease, McGraw Hill, ISBN 0-07-060726-5, Editors Richard S. Lauffer, Ellen Warren & Donna McIvor, Chapter #5, The Metabolism Of Fructose, And Chapter
Some Specific Pathways Of Metabolism Of Carbohydrates And Lipids
Metabolic Effects Of Utilizable Dietary Carbohydrates by Henning Beck-Nielson, Oluf Pederson , And Niels Schwartz Sorenson, ISBN 0-8247-1710-4, 1982, page 261-284
‘Is Fructose More Natural Than Sugar?’ By Jack Challem, Natural Health Magazine, June 1994, Page 40-44
Intestinal Fructose Absorption & Toddler’s Diarrhea by Han Hoechst, A Study Of Clinical Aspects & Pathophysiology, ISBN 90-900-97-14-7, 1997
Food Technology Magazine, Page 48, January, 1996, Refined Fructose & Glucose Are Not True Energy Sources
Sugar & Cancer by Dr. Jon J. Brooks, MD: www.alternativehealth.com/.au/sugar
www.mercola.com Power Bar Founder’s Sudden Death from HFCS content in his bars by Dr. Mercola, March 22nd, 2004
Carbohydrate Mimics – Concepts & Methods, edited by Yves Chapleur, Wiley-Vich Publishers, 1998, ISBN 3-527-29526-7
An insulin replacement? Modern Drug Discovery, December 2000, www.pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals…
Just a spoonful of sugar? Modern Drug discovery, May 2001, www.pubs.acs.org/suvscribe/journals…
Increased Glucose Transport-Phosphorylation & Muscle Glycogen Synthesis After Exercise Training In Insulin-Resistant Subjects, New England Journal Of Medicine, October 31st, 1996
Sugars & Sweeteners, edited by Morman Kretchmer, PhD, MD and Clara B. Hollenbeck, PhD, CRC Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8493-8835-X
Report From the FDA’s Sugar Task Force – 1986: Evaluation Of Health Aspects Of Sugars Contained In Carbohydrate Sweeteners by Walter H. Glinsmann, MD, Hiltje Irausquin, PhD & Youngmee K. Park, PhD
EU Sweeteners Directive94/35/EC, cleared last November 2003, states that cyclamates in water, milk and fruit juice based drinks, as well as energy reduced and no added sugar drinks and a range of confectionery products, including chewing gum and breath freshening sweets are to be reduced. Cyclamates are banned in the USA. Stevia was banned in all categories in the EU in late 2002.
High Blood Sugar Levels Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk, May 17th, 2000, Journal Of The American Medical Association, Susan M. Gapstur, MD, Peter Gann, MD, William Love, MD, Kiang Liu, MD, Laura Coloanglo, MD & Alan Dyer, MD, This landmark 25 year study, with 40,000 subjects, conclusively proved lifestyle, exercise and dietary intake (particularly refined sweetener consumption and fat intake) have a direct medical correlation to the prevention of this form of cancer. The authors are member of Northwestern University Medical School.
Approximately 24.9 billion pounds is the current production (2004) per annum in the USA of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Divide this number by the estimate population of 300 million and this gives you an average consumption per capita per annum of 82.67 pounds of HFCS consumed per year for each man, woman and child in the USA.
Approximately 420 million pounds per year of ‘Honey’ is produced in North America, for human consumption, per USDA numbers. Most people believe honey is produced exclusively by the natural enzymatic and digestive conversion of pollen, nectar or other organic plant materials by bees to the digestible multi-saccharide known and defined as ‘honey’. In point of fact, true natural honey, whether USDA certified or not, in various grades, is only produced in the mid Spring to late Summer months of each year, when the biological materials are readily available for bees to digest, convert and regurgitate. Then how is honey production in many regions continuous into the Fall, Winter and Early Spring when the raw material sources for conversion do not exist? Apiarist would argue that higher latitudes produce more day light hours, during the Summer, for honey production, or conversely the importation of southern hemisphere honey, during the winter months of North America. In point of fact, there is a very widespread and significant volume practice of feeding bees refined sucrose and/or refined crystallized or liquid high fructose corn syrup to merely flavor, partially convert and call ‘honey’, because it past through the bee’s digestive tract. The result of such a product (essentially bee barf) labeled as honey, but is closer in saccharide break down to the refined sweetener sources used. These additional months of stress on the hives, while keeping the hives under light 24 hours per day, eventually cause mite infestation in the hives and large bee kill-offs. These cyclical kills, approximately every 4th or 5th year, cause a shortage in production and honey prices spike upward. In addition to this growing honey production practice of feeding man made refined sweeteners to bees, honey is allergenic, should not be consumed by infants, pregnant women, or other health sensitive populations, is unstandardized in water activity (Aw), as well as microbially and bacteriologically active and unstandardized. Higher levels of refined fructose in honey cause accelerated Maillard browning reactions when heat above 140 degrees F. Assertions by honey promoters that is beneficial for extended kinesiological, sports or diet energy, have no independent scientific basis. Honey’s ability to extend shelf life in processed food products, or are a better humectant than other products, like inverted sugar, is false.
Report from the FDA’s Sugar Task Force – 1986 – Evaluation Of Health Aspects Of Sugars Contained In Carbohydrate Sweeteners, Walter H. Glinsman, MD, Hiltje Rausquin, PhD & Youngmee K. Park, PhD
US Freedom Of Information Act Request: In late 1994 the US FDA DENIED A Generally Recognized As Safe Petition Submitted By TOWA Chemicals Of Japan for MALTITOL (sometimes falsely labeled as HSH, hydrolyzed maltose syrup, or other brand names to obscure what is being used) on the basis of laboratory animals producing a very large percentage number, statistically, of malignant carcinogenic (CANCER) tumors. Human testing was not approved based on these ingestion tests. Polyol producers were quick to respond by citing Joint Expert Committee On Food Additives of the United Nations Agricultural Organization as well as the World Health Organization findings in 1997 and 1998 that there was nothing wrong with maltitol or polyols. Such assertions, do not reflect or refute the carcinogenic evidence that caused the FDA GRAS petition to be DENIED on maltitol, nor are these organizations the governing regulatory bodies for the USA or any other government food organizations in the world. Assertions that polyols are safe for human ingestion are neither legally based nor scientifically based and primarily marketing in conjecture. The Joint Expert Committee On Food Additives of the UN/WHO, who are OFFEND also quoted as saying 70 to 100 grams per day of polyols is an acceptable and safe level of consumption in humans is dubious. This ingestion rate is LAUGHABLE, and we welcome this joint committee, any polyol producers’ sales staff, or any other individuals or organizations to try to consume this “recommended” safe gram level per day and maintain digestive normalcy.
In a related matter, polyols do not comply with US Code Of Federal Regulation standards for GRAS status for the legal definition and ingredient descriptor or ‘standard of identity’ for real ‘Chocolate’, because they are non-nutritive and the US chocolate manufacturers do not want their value-added product category associated with a laxative and cancer causing sweetening system. There have been several attempts to characterized imported compounds coating products using polyols, even cocoa butter based, as “chocolate flavored” or associating an identifiable chocolate brand name with the product. All have eventually failed because consumers at the very least ‘get the runs’ by eating these products and do not repurchase.
In 2000, The Center For Science In The Public interest submitted a Citizen’s Petition to the US FDA, requesting the mandatory front panel product warning label for the use of any polyol (lacititol, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, isomalt, HSH, polydextrose, glycerin/glycerol, sorbitol, erythritol, etc.). This petition’s intent was to protect consumers from ingesting more than 1 gram of these ingredients, due to the high propensity of children, pregnant women, seniors, diabetics, and other health compromised populations of consumers who will have adverse digestive side effects. Additionally, the CPSI maintained, based on a large body of evidence, that the total grams of refined sugars must be further emphasized in the Nutritional Facts panel requirements under US NLEA legislation. Assertions by marketers in the EU, Canada the USA and elsewhere that maltitol, or other polyols, are naturally based, or derived from natural sourcing are false; unless of course refined gasoline can also be considered and labeled ‘dinosaur juice’….
Polyols are extensively used in mouth wash, toothpastes, sugarless gums, mints, breath products and spray, throat lozenges and cough syrup, which are categories that are NOT under beverage or food CFR law in the USA, but rather cosmetic, flavor, or pharmaceutical law, and are not considered sources for full ingestion by humans. The rational, by promoters of polyols that because they are OK to use in these oral categories, fails in medical evidence of the harmful effects of polyols in total human ingestion.
The Healing Foods by Patricia Hausman & Judith Benn Hurley, Rodale Press, 1989, ISBN 0-87857-812-9
The Food Revolution by John Robbins, forward by Dean Ornish, MD, Founder & President Of The Preventive Medicine
Research Institute, Clinical Professor Of Medicine, University Of California At San Francisco, www.ornish.com, Conari
Press, 2001, ISBN 1-57324-702-2
Stanford Research International Report On High Intensity Sweetener Global Consumption, published, July, 2000, by Sebastian Bizzari, Hossein Jansheker & Yuka Yoshida at: www.ceh.sric.com/Public/Reports/543…
Maltodextrin, typically corn based, as a bi-product of the corn wet milling and refining process in the manufacturer of High Fructose Corn Syrup or Corn Syrup is not technically considered a sweetener below 20 DE (Dextrose Equivalency) in sweetness value. These ingredients are touted to be ‘complex carbohydrates’, natural and sometimes FALSELY labeled by the non-legal descriptor of ‘glucose polymers’. There is no credible medical or kinesiological evidence to suggest refined maltodextrin provides any sustained blood glucose or ‘energy’ benefit to consumers. In point of fact, refined maltodextrins are typically converted to blood glucose, through the human Krebs Cycle, even faster than refined sucrose.
Aspartame: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You – a chronological and scientific 40 page report on the history, development, regulatory approval and previously suppressed evidence on aspartame at: www.trufax.org/aspartame
United State Code Of Federal Regulation standards, Book #21, US FDA at: www.vm.cfscan.fda.gov
High Intensity Sweetener Blends by Eric Walters, PhD, Contributing Editor of Food Product Design Magazine:
Sucralose Safety: www.mercola.com
As one example of this fundamental and permanent shift in consumer awareness in the current food market place, is the category of snack, diet, functional and energy bars. In 1989, in the USA and Canada, the total granola, breakfast, snack and energy bar market, among the top 12 brands was less that USD$60 million, per annum, in market penetration. Today, in 2004,per several industry sources, and cross referenced periodical databases, the estimate market share is approximately USDS $3.2 billion among the top 25 brands, with major multinationals having acquired the smaller brands, who eroded breakfast bar, granola bar, breakfast cereal, and confectionery bar categories, of market share.
This is clear economic evidence that consumers are reading ingredient labels, and avoiding refined sweetener intake, because this bar sector has taken almost 100% of it’s market share from refined sweetener and fat laden categories or brands. The successful bar brands are avoiding polyols, glycerin, HFCS, maltodextrin, refined sucrose, etc. Acquiring multinationals that failed to heed the lesson on why these brands were bought, and consumer loyalty gained, based on cleaner and safer ingredients, have lost market share to those who do understand this fact. The days of confusing (or tricking) the consumer are long gone.
A similar economic shift has occurred in the EU over Genetically Modified Organisms, and to a lesser extent Organic ingredient sourcing. American suppliers lost hundreds of millions of dollars in market share, virtually over night, to suppliers who had foreseen that authentic GMO Free raw material sources were not requested by consumers, but demanded. The refined sweetener category is equally problematic in the EU, as elsewhere, because consumers do now also read ingredient labels in ever increasing numbers. Major brands on American supermarket shelves in the early 1990’s, have been acquired, or are completely gone, because their existing ingredient declaration, beyond being refined sweetener laden, looked like chemistry catalogs. Phony and illegal avoidance labeling, often found in the American natural health food sector, with such fanciful labels like ‘evaporated cane juice’ to avoid the tern ‘sugar’, which it is and metabolized exactly as sugar, or the successfully criminally prosecuted ‘agave syrup’ for hydrolyzed high fructose inulin syrup (recently showing up under the avoidance descriptor of non compliant ‘chicory syrup’ and failing to reveal the highly refined high fructose nature of the ingredient), have been exposed as “false and misleading” by the US FDA and not in CFR compliance.
About the author
Ramiel Nagel is the author of “Healing Our Children: Because Your New Baby Matters! Sacred Wisdom for Preconception, Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting.” Healing Our Children explains the true causes of disease conditions of pregnancy and childhood so that you can avoid and prevent them. It provides essential natural health programs so that mothers and their new babies can optimize their health during the times of preconception, pregnancy, lactation and the early years. Receive a free chapter at: www.healingourchildren.net
In “Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities With Nutrition,” Nagel, reveals how he cured his daughter’s and his own cavities through nutrition. Learn the real cause and cure for cavities, how to prevent root canals, and natural treatments for tooth abscess. Receive a free chapter at: www.curetoothdecay.com
Free health information is also available at:
www.preconceptionhealth.org – A Program for preconception health based on indigenous wisdom.
www.yourreturn.org – The cause of disease and the end of suffering of humanity.