We all know that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is not good for us, but there is still not enough information about how it affects weight gain and fat stores relative to regular table sugar (sucrose). Both contain glucose and fructose. It is the percentage of each of these that varies between the two. Sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. HFCS is higher in fructose, as the name suggests.
There are no conclusive studies in humans that show that HFCS leads to more weight gain than sugar, but there are differences in the way each is processed in the body that suggest that HFCS may stimulate appetite more and lead to more fat storage. Normal insulin release with a rise in blood sugar triggers an increase in Leptin, a hormone that helps to control appetite. HFCS does not cause this same reaction, leading to speculation that eating foods that contain it may trigger over-eating and weight gain. It seems that fat may be stored more easily when HFCS is consumed as well.
While we do not know everything about how the human body processes different sweeteners, we know that all sweeteners should be consumed in moderation. Simply stated, all added sugars (those not occurring naturally in food), should be limited. As we learn more, it is likely that we will find that HFCS is more detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight than an equal amount of sugar. Checking labels for all added sugars is a good idea, and trying to avoid products with HFCS may prove to be even more important than studies already show.