Worse Than Sugar: High – Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is back in the news. A research team from Princeton has concluded that high-fructose corn syrup outdoes sugar when it comes to increasing body fat.

Just to be clear, sugar causes a lot of trouble–raising inflammation and contributing to insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.

But according to some research, high-fructose corn syrup is even worse.

It might seem that this much maligned sweeter would have seen its day.  Instead, high-fructose corn syrup continues to be a powerhouse, sweetening soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi and sports drinks like Gatorade.  HFSC is the frosting on Frosted Flakes, and the syrup in Hershey’s Chocolate Flavor Syrup.  It adds a touch of sweetness to Heinz ketchup, and provides stickiness to barbeque sauce.

The connection between high-fructose corn syrup and obesity has been explored in studies conducted at research centers in locations such as Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of California. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the LSU researchers note: “The consumption of HFCS increased more than 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group.” (Bray et al.)

Researchers in Germany have also studied the HFCS and weight gain connection.  Publishing their findings in the journal Obesity Research, researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition gave mice drinks containing either fructose, sucrose or artificial sweetener to see the impact on weight gain and metabolism. They found that mice drinking the fructose containing beverage increased body fat, while the others did not. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

by Jonathan Galland