Tuesday, December 1, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Passover Coke with sugar (yellow cap), high fructose corn syrup Coke (red cap)
Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks and other products sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, particularly in children. The occurrence of new cases of type 2 diabetes has doubled over the past three decades, according to a report in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation - June 2006. The percentage of overweight children in the United States has tripled since 1980.
The epidemic of type 2 diabetes cases across the nation is likely to lead to a substantially higher incidence of strokes among middle-aged adults and newly diagnosed diabetics. In a laboratory study (Rutgers University) of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that are associated with Diabetes, which is at epidemic levels, and that may cause cell damage. Glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body but all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. While naturally occurring sugars, as well as sucrose, contain fructose bound to other sugars, high fructose corn syrup contains a good deal of "free" or unbound fructose. Research indicates that this free fructose interferes with the heart’s use of key minerals like magnesium, copper and chromium. The temporary spike of HFCS blocks the action of insulin, which typically regulates how body cells use and store sugar and other food nutrients for energy. If uric acid levels are frequently elevated, over time features of metabolic syndrome may develop, including high blood pressure, obesity and elevated blood cholesterol levels. Among other consequences, HFCS has been also been implicated in elevated blood cholesterol levels and the creation of blood clots.

Ask any first year MBA student for the biggest story from 1985 and they will mention the "New Coke" debacle-- Coca-Cola briefly replacing its original drink with a new sweeter version which was quickly dropped. An even bigger story however is that 1985 is also the year that Coke and many other soft drink bottlers replaced sugar with High Fructose Corn Syrup in their products to save costs. Sugar prices are boosted by price controls that made using corn syrup appealing to the manufacturers.
So, the"original formula" Coke actually came back as a whole new product with all the fanfare, the ingredients were overlooked. HFCS was developed in the 70's and is found in soft drinks, sports drinks, iced tea, lemonade, sliced bread, processed meats, cakes, pancake syrup, cough syrup and other products. HFCS is created by a complex industrial process performed in HFCS is not a natural product like corn and is in a multitude of productsrefineries involving centrifuges, and other high-tech equipment. Starch is extracted from corn and then converted by acids or enzymes to glucose. Then, some of the glucose is further converted by enzymes into fructose. Recently some soft drink manufacturers were ordered to rmove the term natural from the labels of drinks made with the syrup. Some smaller soft drink manufacturers such as Thomas Kemper Soda in Oregon have already begun to listen to consumers and to reformulate their soda with sugar. I recently talked to a representative of coca cola who admitted to me that his children like the taste of Mexican coke-- which is made with real sugar--Many prefer the taste of Mexican sodas which contain sugar instead of HFCS much better and ask him to buy it when he sees it. Also Coca-Cola made for Passover (with a yellow cap) contains sugar instead of HFCS. Again, many claim it tastes better.

Escalating corn prices and rapid increases in high fructose corn syrup prices may encourage a wider return to sugar usage in U.S. soft drink and food production. It will be interesting to see if sugar does return to replace HFCS, and if the data trend on obesity and diabetes show a corresponding improvement. Until then there is one drink that contains no HFCS-- good old H20.
Update: For further information on how your body processes HFCS: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/sugar-may-be-bad-but-this_b_463655.html

Monday, November 16, 2009

Emily Ward Stars in Cherry Blossom Run

Emily in elite Women pack Cherry Blossom run. George Banker photo Note:
Emily Ward was the fourth women -- and first American -- across the line Saturday November 14 at the 2009 SunTrust Richmond Marathon. Ward, who entered with a personal best of 3:15:14 at the distance, clocked 2:58:46 (6:49/mile pace) on a blustery and deceptively humid morning. Ward hit the halfway mark in fifth place at 1:26:35 (6:36/mile), then moved up to fourth.
For complete results of the 2009 Richmond Marathon, www.richmondmarathon.com

Ten years ago Emily Ward was a standout at Gloucester Catholic High School (All Parochial Cross Country, Meet of Champions Qualifier 1999). After a standout career at the University of Richmond. Emily has really found her niche racing at the 10k to ten mile distances. Consider: Emily cut 10 minutes from her Broad Street Run time from 2002 to 2007 finishing in 1:00.33 for 12th in the 2007 Broad Street Run. On May 22nd she finished 2nd in 37:26 at the Carryton 10k. George Banker recently interviewed Emily for Runners Gazette Magazine after the 37th Annual Cherry Blossom Race on April 5, 2009:
"Ward hails from Woodbury, New Jersey where she atteneded Gloucester Catholic High School and made the transition from softball to running. While at the University of Richmond, Ward set her PR's in 3K (10:25), 5k(17:53) , and 10k(38:16). In 2009 she received her Masters of Public Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. Emily, running for the Randolph Park Marathon Project (Richmond, VA) finished in 37th place in 1:02:51. "My plan was to key off Maureen Ackerly(also of Randolph Park) and stay about 10 seconds back at the first mile (5:59 split). I was comfortable with the first mile being faster because I knew the extra adrenaline would be flowing for this race. How often do you have an opportunity to toe the line with a select group of Olympic medalists and world record holders?"
The elite women's start offered a change from the traditional starts as Ward Commented, "I certainly felt like it was such a privilege to start with all the incredible, talented, hard-working world class women athletes. I was truly taking it all in, the first one to two miles when I was only running a few hundred feet behind them. What a thrill. Cruising around the circle (Virginia side across the Memorial Bridge) near Arlington Cemetary watching the pack motor around that in front of me was a neat sight."(note: Lineth Chepkurui, of Kenya was first).

Courtesy Runners Gazette Magazine http://www.runnersgazette.com/
George Banker is also the author of "The Marine Corps Marathon" book.

Monday, November 2, 2009

5th Annual Ross Kupcha Race Pictures

5th Annual Ross Kupcha Race Results: http:/home.comcast.net/~coachheath/rosskupcha5results.htm

Ross Kupcha 5k Race Winners:
2005 Male: Dave Welsh 16:29 Female: Emily Ward 19:09
2006 Male: Michael McGowan 17:38 Female: Shannon McGowan 22:35
2007 Male: Tom Campo, Jr. 19:44 Female: Meghan McGowan 22:27
2008 Male: Dave Welsh 16:53 Female: Patricia Addis Hudson 21:49
2009 Male: Tony Tartaglia 19:25 Female: Taylor Mickle 22:28