High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), the sweetener everybody loves to hate, has starred in headlines recently, as well as in commercials sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association. Many believe that it is the reason we are all getting fatter. In fact, a 2004 study even suggested such a link.
ut now, USA Today reports, five new studies are showing the opposite – no link between obesity and HFCS consumption:
This week, five papers published in a supplement to Clinical Nutrition find no special link between consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity. One paper was written by Barry Popkin, a co-author on the original 2004 paper.
“It doesn’t appear that when you consume high-fructose corn syrup, you have any different total effect on appetite than if you consume any other sugar,” he says.
What you need to know:
High fructose corn syrup is cheaper than regular (refined) white sugar. That is why it has become very popular in the food industry, as it lowers the cost of manufacturing “processed foods”. The low cost, though, is artificial, and due to heavy government subsidies US farmers receive to manufacture corn. The huge excesses of corn lead to low market prices that wouldn’t make economic sense had the farmers not received their subsidy. Non diet soft drinks used to be sweetened with sugar, now it’s almost all HFCS.
Whether it’s sugar or HFCS, Americans are getting fatter, and one of the reasons is too many empty calories derived from sweeteners found in processed foods. The best approach is to try and reduce overall sugars consumption by looking out for sweet in food labels.
By the way, you can’t buy a jar of HFCS at the grocery store.
What to do at the supermarket:
Watch for sugar, HFCS and their many synonyms (Dextrin, Maltose, see more…) on food labels. You’d be surprised at the places sweet pops up. Always better to choose less processed foods and add your own sugar at home.