The sublime piece of biological engineering that is the human body, is a complex system of systems, shaped by millions of years of selective adaptation and to all intents and purposes, it is the definition of perfection. Through a combination of traits, we have assented to the top of the hill, existing as the dominant species on the planet. Yet amongst all this genetic superiority, there are systems and feedback loops designed for an environment so radically different from the world we have fabricated, resulting in some instances where our bodies work against us.

We are currently living in a time where obesity is at epidemic proportions, increasing in both developed and developing countries, across all ethnicity and most shockingly in all age groups. When children are developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as a society we have to take a step back and acknowledge this absurdity and say something is seriously wrong. Drawing back on last week’s article, these mechanisms that are making children obese are hard wired from a millennia of evolution and it is our modern eating habits that has opened Pandora’s box, unleashing the tidal wave of obesity. There is no bigger change to traditional human diet than the staggering high levels of fructose and its manufactured derivatives, and by playing on a system used to help us survive starvation, we have crated a negative feed back loop largely contributing to the obesity epidemic.

Where we went wrong

It’s no coincidence that obesity levels have risen almost exponentially since the sugar generation of the 1970’s. A time where a politically driven agenda irrevocably changed the constitutes of the traditional human diet. Ultimately this is another of Nixon’s dirty legacies, as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was pushed forward to deal with the rising cost of sugar in the latter half of the 20th century; in an attempt to gain public support, HFCS were rushed in to become the low cost substitute to table sugar. Now it’s added surreptitiously to all manner of foods and it’s hard to find a man made product not containing corn syrup; bread, cereals, drinks, even nuts have it added! However benevolent the intentions Takasaki’s formulation of high fructose corn syrup, it could be almost regarded in the same vain as Oppenheimer’s infamous creation. The reason behind the damaging effects of fructose and high fructose corn syrup has to do with the way it’s metabolised by the body and the effects it has on two energy and satiety hormones, namely insulin and Leptin.
Discovered in the early 90’s, Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells and in the most basic explanation possible, tells the brain it’s full, to stop eating and then to expend energy (anerxorgenisis). Ideally there is a natural counterbalance between insulin and Leptin, with a perfect system enabling us to store fat when needed (orexigenisis). However, our modern diet has lead to chronically elevated levels of insulin which blocks the natural appetite suppressant Leptin causing energy expression to be down regulated.

Fructose and fat storage

As explained in previous articles, insulin resistance has lead us down the path to obesity. Where the negative side of fructose comes in is due to the way it’s metabolised. Unlike glucose, 70% of Fructose is metabolised by the liver, as Glucose can be transported into a cell with Glut-4 translocation. Fructose can only be transported with Glut-5, found in the liver. It is this load on the liver and the unphysiological amount of fructose we consume, that has added fuel to the obesity crisis.  When the liver is taxed in this way, dislipidemia, Uric acid production and abdominal fat storage are all ramped up, compounded by Leptin suppression in the brain. The resulting effect is we can no longer mediate our hunger. The Leptin suppression not only increases our appetite, it also decreases energy levels, making us sluggish both mentally and biologically.
By simply removing one of the major catalysts to fat storage and by lowering insulin and therefore raising Leptin, this negative feed back loop can be reversed, with simple methods like carbohydrate control and exercise. Returning our eating habits to a system that somewhat resembles that of our evolutionary genetics is nothing new, but when we delve into the nuts and bolts of how our bodies function, it’s frightening to see how some of these concepts are not proliferated by major medical or nutritional institutions, or form part of Governmental policy. I hope the above has highlighted our stance on this topic and provided a logical argument sufficient to make you delve a little deeper into the misleading information, which you are traditionally fed on the topic of fruit and fructose.
Written by David Lewis