Guest Blog: Jonny Bowden

When I read Jonny’s article, I had to ask him if I could post it!

Sugar as a Health Food?

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

Sugar’s about to show up on food labels, all dressed up as a new “natural ingredient” sugar and a better alternative to the demon du jour, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Never let it be said that there are no “second acts” in the marketing of junk food.

OK, in case you haven’t been paying attention, HFCS has gotten quite a whipping in the press. The Corn Refiners Association tried fighting back, most notably with a series of commercials showing a clueless mother unable to explain why the stuff was so “bad,” but even the best PR campaign wasn’t able to put out the fire.

And the death blow was delivered recently by Michelle Obama who declared any product with high-fructose corn syrup to be off-limits at the White House.

So now sugar — plain old white table sugar, the poor little guy that got displaced by HFCS, is being reinvented… this time as the “natural” healthy alternative to HFCS. Oh, brother. Let’s recap for a moment. Sugar is one part glucose and one part fructose (50/50). HFCS is very close to the same formula, marginally higher in fructose — 55% fructose, 45% glucose — but probably not enough to make that much difference (or at least that’s what the proponents of HFCS claim).

But the point is moot and the argument about which is “better” diverts our attention from the real problem, which is this: The more damaging half of this dastardly duo of glucose and fructose — regardless of whether it occurs in table sugar or HFCS — is clearly fructose.

Numerous studies have shown fructose raises insulin resistance, raises triglycerides in the bloodstream and contributes to fatty liver disease. Pure refined fructose is bad news, whether it comes from HFCS or from sugar. The big problem with HFCS is the fact that it’s so cheap and widely available that it’s now in products that were never sweetened before. And the fact that it’s so cheap means that manufacturers can use a ton of it, sweetening everything in sight.

The result is that we now consume more fructose than we ever did when manufacturers used plain old white sugar. Going back to “natural” (give me a break), white sugar accomplishes exactly nothing. Refined fructose is metabolic poison, and whether we get it from the old-fashioned sugar or the cheap and abundant HFCS matters not a whit. We’re eating too much of the stuff.

And lest there be any confusion, let me add that I’m quite aware that fructose is found naturally in fruits. But fructose in fruits — surrounded by fiber, vitamins, phytochemicals and other good stuff — is a very different “animal” than refined fructose — as different as an animal’s fur is from a fur coat in the store window. You don’t need to avoid fructose when it occurs (in small amounts) in whole foods. When it occurs in refined sweeteners — be they “natural” sugar or high-fructose corn syrup — run the other way.

Dr. Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is also a life coach, motivational speaker, former personal trainer and author of The Seven Supplements You Need Now. His new book, The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Energy Naturally is available now.

Thanks Jonny!  Good information and lots to think about!

1 Response to “Guest Blog: Jonny Bowden”


  1. 1 How I Lost Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days May 4, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will certainly be subscribing to your blog.


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