Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fructose and Gout

Audrae Erickson and the Corn Refiners Association are going on the offensive. Corn has been vying with oil as the leading news item among the commodities due to anticipated crop losses resulting from flooding across the Midwest. But the CRA's new PR campaign is attempting to deal with a more difficult problem: consumer perception of high fructose corn syrup. The industry is concerned about the negative impact of books like Dr. Richard J. Johnson's The Sugar Fix. Erickson has an uphill slog.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, and we all know that contemporary diets contain too much sugar. What I found newsworthy in Johnson's book was the assertion fructose plays an important role in the production of uric acid which in turn causes gout. I already knew about the usual gout suspects: foods high in purines (shell fish, red meat, beans, asparagus, mushrooms, and beer). I did not know I had to be careful about dessert too. (Balch & Balch's Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 1990, made no mention of fructose when discussing gout).

Johnson did not suggest a healthy diet should be devoid of fructose, but he did strongly recommend that it be low in fructose. Makes sense to me. Since reading the book, I have replaced my roadtrip Starbucks Frappuccinos with espressos or iced teas and cut way back refined sugars. (Shellfish and beer are generally off the menu too.) I am feeling much better.

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