Compare honey to high fructose corn syrup — not much difference

high fructose corn syrup honey

I am a person that keeps saying “sugar is sugar,” but there are so many people who think honey is somehow “healthier” than high fructose corn syrup which we use in many foods. The fact is, from a chemical standpoint, there are very minor differences between honey and other sources of sugar.

One of the reasons for this belief is that honey is “natural” while high fructose corn syrup is an evil chemical. The appeal to nature is a logical fallacy that states that “natural” is good or better than the alternatives.

Let’s take a look at sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and honey. There’s a bit of science involved, but I’ll try to keep it easy to read.

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Does sugar cause hyperactive children? Science says nope

sugar children hyperactivity

I’m sure you have all heard the oft-repeated myth that giving your children sugar (or sugary treats) will cause them to become hyperactive. When I had kids, I believed that this was true.

But then I grew into the old feathered dinosaur, and I became much more skeptical of claims that seem to be widely accepted including sugar and hyperactivity in children. When I first thought of writing this article, I relied upon my education in glucose metabolism and insulin, and I started to realize that healthy humans, including children, have very complex and effective methods of controlling blood sugar. And hyperactivity is not one of those methods.

Lucky for me, there appears to be some solid science out there that does debunk this claim, as I did with sugar being as addictive as cocaine (it isn’t). And as I usually do, I’m going to review the scientific research in the area.

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Is sugar addictive as cocaine ? Once again, let’s review the science

sugar addictive

In my continuing effort to debunk or support nutritional claims, I will focus today on whether sugar is addictive. You cannot spend more than five minutes in a comment section on nutrition before someone says “sugar is as addictive as cocaine.”

And again, I believe a lot of simply accept that as a fact, even among reasonably scientific people. My default position regarding any nutritional claim these days is that there’s a 95% chance that it’s bogus.

There are a lot of nonsensical claims about sugar, and I’ll get to them during the next few weeks, but again, we are going to target the claim that sugar is addictive. And we’ll use real science, which is definitely missing from almost every nutritional claim.

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Does sugar cause cancer? Another dumb myth to be debunked

close up photo of sugar cubes in glass jar

Well, I thought I had read it all, but I keep seeing the myth that sugar causes cancer. Of course, once I see something like that, I dig into the science, as I do with vaccines. I want to know why it started. I want to know if there’s any evidence supporting this claim. And I want to tell you my findings.

A paper in Nature Communications seemed to encourage the people who are pushing an association between sugar and cancer. Of course, our usual suspects of pseudoscience and false healthcare jumped on board with their clickbait headlines trying to scare everyone about sugar and cancer.

But what are the facts about sugar and cancer? Should you avoid eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates? Well, probably, but not because of cancer.

That’s why we are here. To separate science from pseudoscience, we need to look at this more carefully. What we’re going to see is that you’re not going to get cancer from putting a couple of teaspoons of it in your coffee. And you’re not going to cure cancer by avoiding sugar. Sugar and cancer are much more complicated than that.

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High fructose corn syrup – myths and claims debunked by real science

high fructose corn syrup

People demonize food additives all the time. Just see monosodium glutamate, as just one example. And there’s high fructose corn syrup, a sugar that is blamed for everything from cancer to diabetes to climate change. OK, maybe not climate change.

High fructose corn syrup is just sugar, but because it has a complicated name, it must be bad. It’s part of the “chemophobia,” the fear of anything that sounds like a chemical.

The so-called Food Babe has made a lot of money endorsing a belief that all chemicals are evil. Of course, such claims ignore the simple fact that all life, the air, and water are made of chemicals.

They want us to believe that man-made chemicals are more dangerous than “natural” chemicals, but that betrays several things about science:

  1. Many “natural” chemicals are dangerous.
  2. Those “natural” chemicals didn’t evolve for the benefit of humans, so they are not inherently better for humans.
  3. Nature isn’t always better.

And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is considered one of the evil “chemicals” that are destroying humanity. But is it? Let’s answer that question.

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Sugar causes diabetes? Another one of those myths that makes no sense

sugar causes diabetes

One of the most pernicious myths about food is that somehow eating sugar causes diabetes. I even was watching a TV comedy where the character was going to dig into a cake, and another character says, “I’m getting diabetes (see Note 1) just by watching all of that sugar.”

No. Sugar is not linked directly to diabetes, so sure go ahead, eat that delicious, rich, sweet chocolate birthday cake. However (see Note 2), there might be some very indirect links between eating too much sugar and diabetes, but not as a result of eating sugar alone.

Moreover, another myth is that all diabetes is the same. They’re not. Let’s take a look at diabetes and the lack of direct evidence that sugar causes diabetes. Continue reading “Sugar causes diabetes? Another one of those myths that makes no sense”

Sugar and cancer – examining the science behind the claims

sugar and cancer

As you probably would guess, when I read articles in science, I tend to emphasize research on vaccines, cancer, and a few other related issues. There’s so much information out there, one has to focus or there will  not be enough time to watch college football games on Saturday. For years, one of the more popular questions I have seen is about sugar and cancer – does eating sugar cause or promote cancer?

A recent paper in Nature Communications seemed to encourage the people who are pushing an association between sugar and cancer. Of course, our usual suspects of pseudoscience and false healthcare jumped on board with their clickbait headlines trying to scare everyone about sugar and cancer.

But what are the facts about sugar and cancer. Should you avoid eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates? Well, probably, but not because of cancer.

That’s why we are here. To separate the science from the pseudoscience, we need to look at this more carefully. What we’re going to see is that you’re not going to get cancer from putting a couple of teaspoons of it in your coffee. And you’re not going to cure cancer by avoid sugar. Sugar and cancer is much more complicated than that. Continue reading “Sugar and cancer – examining the science behind the claims”

High fructose corn syrup causes diabetes – what is the evidence?

high fructose corn syrup causes diabetes

The internet claims that high fructose corn syrup causes diabetes and a bunch of other maladies. Usually based on some weak evidence, the usual suspects have tried to link high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to Type 2 diabetes.

Like many of these medical myths, there is, at its core, some tiny bit of evidence that is generally misinterpreted or misused. But let’s take a close look at Type 2 diabetes, HFCS and the evidence that either supports or refutes the hypothesis that drinking HFCS is any more responsible for the disease than other sugars. Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup causes diabetes – what is the evidence?”

Sugar causes cancer – another trope from little evidence

sugar causes cancer

I am generally skeptical of any claim that anything causes cancer. That doesn’t mean I reject every claim that something or another causes cancer – smoking, sunlight, obesity, viruses, genes have all been linked to certain cancers. Now, there’s a claim that sugar causes cancer – is there anything there?

Sugar is considered a demon food, based on the irrational claims for it. But most of it has been scientifically debunked, so I really don’t pay attention to much of it. Yes, sugar is bad for diabetics. And yes, it may be one of the causes of the so-called “obesity epidemic.

One of the ongoing myths is that somehow sugar causes hyperactivity in children. But reviews have shown that it’s probably not correlated.

Can sugar cause cancer – is it even plausible? Time to find out.

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