Mountain Dew anyone?

Perhaps this blog entry would better be titled “High Fructose Corn Syrup Anyone?” Whatever the title, whenever I read about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) the dental hygienist in me harkens to the dental chair where if we see someone who presents with rampant decay the first question we ask is “Are you drinking soda?” Invariably the answer is “yes” and the soda that seems to cause the most damage is invariably Mountain Dew, that  phosphorescent green slime that kids and adults seem to literally be addicted to (The Simpson’s did a great show based on the addictive properties of a green slime that oozed out of the bottom of this gross gigantic green caterpillar. No one who drank it could drink enough of the green slime).

We in the profession of dentistry even have a name for the rampant decay caused by Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Mouth. But I do digress (Can you tell I am passionately opposed to people drinking Mountain Dew and all of its ilk?) as it seems tooth decay is only a small percent of the damage done to a human body by soda and its many additives and sweeteners, particularly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Several months ago I had posted something on Facebook that dealt with the subject of  HFCS and its use as a sweetener in most sodas and the damage being done to people who regularly consume it. A high school friend of mine responded almost immediately to the article I posted and told me that she could verify its negative impact on  one’s health. It seems a few years ago she had been diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. She didn’t drink alcoholic beverages but she did consume soda on a daily basis. She was told by her doctor to discontinue drinking soda. Voila! Her fatty liver disease was corrected. Thus began my search for more information on the link between HFCS and fatty liver disease as I already had plenty of proof of its deleterious affect on the human dentition.

In a report published by HSI’s Jenny Thompson, “in a new study, Duke University Medical Center researchers gathered dietary information from more than 400 subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD is triglyceride fat accumulation in the livers of people who drink little or no alcohol. In advanced cases, inflammation and scarring destroy liver cells. It was “noted that the Duke team found that more than 80 percent of the subjects drank HFCS beverages, and nearly 30 percent said they did so every day. Liver scarring was most pronounced in those with the highest HFCS intake.”

“Another pair of studies from Princeton shows how HFCS might prompt fat buildup in the liver. In the first study, rats given water sweetened with HFCS gained significantly more weight compared to rats given sugar water. And in the second study, rats with access to HFCS for six months not only gained considerable weight, but also showed signs of developing metabolic syndrome, including a high increase of triglycerides.” So now I ask again “Mountain Dew anyone?”

If NAFLD seems like a remote possibility to you how about early onset heart disease? I had been investigating the connection between HFCS and NAFLD when I opened a letter from W. C. Douglass in today’s email. In his report he had this astounding fact: A “new study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention conference, estimated that sugary drinks helped to create 130,000 new diabetes cases over the last decade. The researchers also said that soda caused 14,000 new cases of heart disease in that time.”

Couple W.C. Douglass’ article with the devastating news this weekend that my good friend’s only son, who I thought was a fit 40, had two heart attacks last week and I saw another snake rear its ugly head in the argument against HFCS. I am certain that despite his slim build his lifestyle has contributed to his early heart disease. His mother has been worried for some time about the massive quantities of junk food and boxed food he and his family consume. She hated the fact that he and his spouse smoke (W.C. Douglass, by the way, is not an opponent to smoking, especially cigars) and, yes, the whole family drinks soda! Despite his normal size and his wife’s slim appearance both of his children (15 and 13) are obese couch potatoes, and the older boy already smokes cigarettes, so now, in my opinion, their future looks even more bleak if they don’t make some major changes. An unhealthy lifestyle as children could lead to an adulthood of early heart disease, diabetes or fatty liver disease and that will break their nan’s heart.

I am really sad about my friend’s only son and I hate it that I can actually report that I am intimately acquainted with at least one case of early heart disease, (that could easily have been fatal) that has most likely been caused or contributed to by the consumption of soda and its ever present ingredient: high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is ubiquitous, just look at any label on the boxed food you have in your pantry it is literally in everything that is in a box or can because it is cheap to produce, has a long shelf life and a little goes a long way.

In the end, maybe dental decay doesn’t threaten you enough to banish HFCS from your house but the threat of fatty liver disease, fatal heart attacks and the equally deadly diabetes really should. If it is hard to accept the possible and oft hidden consequences of consuming HFCS then call me at 1-555-555-5555. I have a house on a lake in White Sands National Monument’s dune field I would LOVE to sell ya and I’ll sell it to you “real cheap”.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kris on 7:04 at Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    It is really interesting when you start looking in to a subject like NAFLD how many times you see it mentioned time and time again. This morning I found an informative article link at The article has to do with berry consumption and its positive affect on NAFLD and fatty liver disease.If you are interested you can read it at,bcSl4SH6,w


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