High Fructose Corn Syrup…..Risks: Scientists Finally Prove High Fructose Corn Syrup Risks
For the last several years, getting good answers about the health risks of high fructose corn syrup has been difficult. There has been a lack of true scientific substantiation on either side of the debate.
Although many of us suspected this stuff really isn’t healthy for us, we didn’t actually know how it was affecting our bodies.
Well, a team of Princeton researchers has now released their official findings on a high fructose corn syrup study with (not so) shocking conclusions.
The Princeton researchers had been studying not only side effects of high fructose corn syrup, but how your body reacts when it’s ingested. They discovered that rats which had access to high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to basic table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
They did two studies and here are a few excerpts from their findings:
The first experiment — male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.
The second experiment — the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals — monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.
What does this mean to you as a consumer, chef, cook, parent and conscious adult who cares about what goes into your body? It means all these months that you’ve been reading labels and finding out what snacks and pre-packaged foods are laced with this obesity enticing ingredient (which seems like almost everything), the time has come to say good-bye. Sure a candy bar packs a punch and for lack of a better phrase, really satisfies you, but it will do more damage than eating an entire tray of cookies fresh from the oven (and then some).
This doesn’t mean you have to quit eating what you love, but it does mean that cooking for yourself and your family is more important than ever. Use real ingredients, use sugars and fats of all sorts, but the time to hesitate is through when it comes to the ever present, High Fructose Corn Syrup. As a consumer you vote with your dollar and the more we chose foods (even if they’re prepackaged) without this nasty ingredient, the better!
Read more about Princeton’s Findings from the University Website.
Here’s a few more thoughts on High Fructose Corn Syrup to brush up on what is is, why we should avoid it and even some advertisements on television telling us that it’s just fine to eat.
• Good Question: Why Should High Fructose Corn Syrup Be Avoided?
• Food Science: The Low-Down on High-Fructose Corn Syrup
• TV Watch: New High Fructose Corn Syrup Ads
(via: Princeton University)
(Image: Flickr member Pink Shebet Photography licensed for use by Creative Commons)
Sarah Rae TroverMarch 23, 2010 01:00PMTags
Food Science, sugar, health, science, high fructose corn syrup ……………………………………………….Good Question: Why Should High Fructose Corn Syrup Be Avoided?
Here’s a good question from Sarah about a complicated subject that gets us all a little confused:
Can you give me the scoop on high fructose corn syrup? Why should it be avoided? Is it the same thing as bottled “corn syrup” found in the baking aisle?
For starters, check out our food science post on high fructose corn syrup. This gives some background on how corn syrup is made and the differences between straight corn syrup and the high fructose version.
There are a couple of different issues that go into corn syrup. The main one has to do with how pervasive it has become as an ingredient in processed foods in the United States. It’s in our soft drinks, our candy bars, our cereal, our condiments, and even our bread, just to name a few. Start reading the labels at the grocery store and you’ll be surprised at how often corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup appear as an ingredient!
Part of the argument for avoiding corn syrup is simply that we need to decrease our reliance on this crop. One of the reasons that corn syrup is used so heavily because it’s become the cheapest sweetener for companies to use. It’s become so cheap as a result of many different factors, including an over-abundance of corn, government subsidies, and market pressure.
Another argument for avoiding corn syrup is for health reasons. Not only is corn syrup itself highly processed, but the foods it goes into are highly processed. If you see “corn syrup” on the list of ingredients, chances are you’re looking a highly processed food product. Although it’s a matter of debate whether corn syrup by itself causes obesity and other health conditions, it’s hard to argue that a diet high in processed foods are really part of a healthy diet.
Something that can get lost or misunderstood in all these conversations is that corn syrup by itself is not really bad. Yes, it’s a processed food product, but if we’re only using it a few times a year in special recipes, we don’t feel the need to get too worried about health issues. Of course, some of us who feel strongly about the presence of so much corn in our food system also avoid buying corn syrup as a form of boycotting.
Also, yes, the corn syrup found in the baking aisle is the same corn syrup that is under so much debate. Karo Corn Syrup, one of the more popular brands, also contains high fructose corn syrup. Cane syrups and non-high-fructose corn syrups are available at many natural food stores.
This is a very very basic introduction to the corn syrup situation. We definitely recommend Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan if you’re looking for a more comprehensive exploration of all the issues at hand.
We hope this helps! What else would you add to better explain these issues to Sarah and other curious readers?
Related: Good Question: What Are Processed Foods?
(Image: Flickr member mbk licensed under Creative Commons)
Emma ChristensenJanuary 28, 2009 02:00PMTags
History, Politics, Questions, Healthy Living, Sweets, Baking Ingredients, Rice & Grains, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup get healthy
100 Hot Health Books