An Update on High Fructose Corn Syrup

I wrote about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) once before.  In that blog post (Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really the Devil?), my main message was that there is really not a big difference between HFCS and sucrose, common table sugar.  There is still lots of debate on the topic, but I am now leaning more toward agreeing that HFCS may be more damaging, and actually may cause health and weight issues beyond those expected from the calories alone.

Table sugar and HCFS both contain the simple sugars glucose and fructose.  It may seem that there is  little difference in the percentage of fructose contained in each (50% fructose in sucrose and 55% in HFCS), but it may be enough to make a difference in the health of consumers, particularly those with more significant intake levels.

The largest source of HCFS in the American diet is sugar sweetened soda.  It is also added to many packaged products like ketchup and salad dressing, among others.  Several more recent research articles I have read suggest that our bodies metabolize fructose differently than glucose.

Relative to glucose, some studies have concluded that fructose raises triglycerides and increases insulin resistance more than glucose.  It also may cause the liver to produce more fat than glucose AND increase the likelihood that fat will be stored around the belly.  All of these factors increase cardiovascular risk factors, as well as the risk of developing diabetes.

There is more research to be done, and results will make recommendations clearer, but there is no harm in trying to reduce all added sugars, including HFCS.   We certainly do not need any more research to tell us we will benefit from that!


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