Annals of Health Law
HOW TO REGULATE TOXIC FOODS
parts of glucose and fructose. 40
The glucose is not harmful because the liver processes so little of it.
Moreover, the few calories that are metabolized by the liver activate an
enzyme that is converted almost entirely to glycogen, a non-toxic substance
that can be stored in the liver in unlimited quantities without harm. 41 The
half of sucrose that constitutes fructose, however, is processed differently.
The liver will process all 60 of the calories from fructose. 42 “[O]nly the
liver can metabolize fructose.” 43 Therefore, as a matter of volume alone,
consuming sugar, fifty percent of which is fructose, causes our livers to
work harder than when glucose is consumed alone. 44 The liver responds to
the influx of fructose by converting a good deal of it into fat. 45 In addition,
the problem is exacerbated when fructose is consumed via soft drinks
because the fructose hits the liver so quickly. 46 In essence, what is being
discovered is that a high sugar diet is effectively a high fat diet. 47
Understanding the metabolic processes associated with fructose
consumption has given scientists a better understanding of how that
consumption contributes to a variety of diseases. For example, sugar
consumption is a key culprit in the obesity epidemic. 48 A time-honored
40. Id. at 51.
41. Id. at 43-44. (Glucose consumption activates an enzyme that creates Glucose 6-
phosphate. This Glucose 6-phosphate is converted, in large part, to glycogen.).
42. Id. at 51.
44. Fructose is found naturally in fruit but is counterbalanced by the fruit’s fiber. Honey
and agave are also high fructose foods and there is an ongoing debate about whether they are
any better for health than sugar. Compare Dr. Joseph Mercola, This Sweetener is Far Worse
than High Fructose Corn Syrup, HUFFINGTON POST, Apr. 15, 2010, available at
(arguing that agave is worse than high fructose corn syrup because its fructose content is
higher), with Dr. Edward Group, Why Agave Nectar is Not Worse Than High Fructose Corn
Syrup, GLOBAL HEALING CTR. (Apr. 5, 2010, 12: 30 PM), http://
www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/agave-nectar/ (“There is no comparison
between a natural form of fructose, such as in fruit or from agave, and the chemically-processed, pesticide-laden, genetically-modified High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The
fructose in agave is a slow release form of sugar. This means that, in comparison to HFCS,
which spikes blood sugar levels, agave does not cause the stimulation insulin secretion that
leads to harmful rises in blood sugar.”).
45. Taubes, supra note 1.
47. QUINN, supra note 31, at 55-56. (“[W]hile very little of the glucose ends up as fat,
around 30% of the fructose consumed does. Furthermore, when normal medical students
were given a high-fructose diet . . . not only was their de novo lipogenesis five times higher,
but their triglycerides and free fatty acids doubled. . . . These free fatty acids . . . go on to
cause insulin resistance. [Thus] when fructose is consumed, a person ultimately consumes
fat and not carbohydrates.”).
48. Populations with High Sugar Consumption are at Increased Risk of Chronic
Disease, South African Researchers’ Report, BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORG., Aug.