If you are wary of consuming products with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), your suspicions may prove right. A new study, for the first time conducted on humans, not lab rats, confirms what many have suspected for a long time – the fructose in HFCS contributes to obesity.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation earlier this year, was carried out by a team of scientists at the University of California, Davis. It is entitled Consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages increases visceral adiposity and lipids and decreases insulin sensitivity in overweight/obese humans.
Here’s what the experiment looked like:
Over 10 weeks, 16 volunteers on a strictly controlled diet, including high levels of fructose, produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease. Another group of volunteers on the same diet, but with glucose sugar replacing fructose, did not have these problems. read more…
Kimber L. Stanhope, the study leader, said “This is the first evidence we have that fructose increases diabetes and heart disease independently from causing simple weight gain. We didn’t see any of these changes in the people eating glucose.”
While fructose is found in fruits, honey and table sugar, it’s highest percentage is in HFCS, hence the name “High Fructose” corn syrup.
What you need to know:
Consumption of sweetened food and beverage has grown significantly in the US over the past decades. Those who blame HFCS for the country’s obesity epidemic and related maladies have shown that the alarming rise in obesity rates is in tandem with the introduction and rapid adoption of HFCS by food and beverage manufacturers since the early 1980′s.
Why did manufacturers switch to high fructose corn syrup to begin with? They certainly did not plan to make America fat. Our obesity epidemic is simply a side effect of the quest for efficiency and lower cost of production. In the 1970′s, huge surpluses of corn in the US, prompted the creation of a new sweetener, HFCS, half the price of sugar, which has become the sweetener of choice in almost all soft drinks today.
Please note that the study was conducted on 100% fructose, not HFCS, which is 45% sucrose 55% fructose. Many scientists still maintain that there is no difference between sugar (50/50) and HFCS. As more studies are carried out in humans in coming years, the truth will become clearer. But in the meantime, most everyone agrees that we should all reduce the amount of sweet we consume daily, be it sugar, HFCS, or others.
What to do at the supermarket:
The easiest way to drastically reduce high fructose corn syrup from your diet is to stop visiting the drinks aisles at the supermarket. Switching to tap water is healthier for you, your wallet, and the environment.
HFCS appears in the ingredient list just like sugar, dextrose, and corn syrup. Watch out for it in snacks, sauces, prepared meals, and other products.
[thanks Robyn for the hat tip]
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