High Fructose Corn Syrup Not So Sweet for Your Diet
When it comes to losing and gaining weight, doctors have long thought that all calories were equal. WWLTV has more.
But a recent study may cause scientists to question that.
Could a popular food additive be making you gain more weight than the calories alone?
It’s hard to find food in a box or bottle or bag that does not have this one ingredient.
“High-fructose corn syrup is found in such a wide variety of foods and beverages, like fruit juices, sodas, cereal, bread, yogurt, catsup, and mayonnaise and Americans consume 60 pounds of it every year on average,” said Dr. Kim Edward LeBlanc, the head of the Department of Family Medicine and expert in nutrition, exercise and sports medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Consumer Edna Klein said she does read labels. “Yes, we do, but I haven’t really noticed that one,” she said about high-fructose corn syrup.
Another consumer named Tiffany shopping in Metairie, said she reads the ingredient label “sometimes” and has heard of high-fructose corn syrup. “Yes, but I’m still not exactly positive what it is,” she said.
Doctors say high-fructose corn syrup takes corn syrup from corn and processes it or changes it. The new, manufactured molecules appear to be metabolized by the liver differently and absorbed by the body more easily than naturally occurring sugars.
“It’s much denser. It’s easier to transport. It’s a lot cheaper. It is much, much sweeter than sugar, so they can use less of it. And over the course of the last 30 years, this has become the sweetener of choice in America,” said Dr. Timothy Harlan, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane. He practices as an internal medicine doctor and as a chef has a complete food and diet website.
“It’s man made. It is just what it says, it is concentrated, concentrated and it is very similar to sucrose. There is some indication, though it is less strong with humans than with rats, that high-fructose corn syrup affects the liver in a very negative way,” said Dr. Henri Roca, in the department of Family-Integrative Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.
But new science out of Princeton University, led by psychology professor Dr. Bart Hoebel, who specializes in how the brain works with appetite, weight and sugar addiction, suggests that the calories from high-fructose corn syrup could be making us fatter than the exact same amount of calories from other sugars.
“This study was pretty compelling because what it showed is that male rats who were fed high-fructose corn syrup, as opposed to being fed an equal caloric amount of sucrose or sugar water like granulated sugar just like table sugar, gained more weight and not a little bit more weight about 50 percent more weight over their growth cycle of five to seven months,” explained Dr. Harlan.
But that’s not all. Princeton researchers also found that the high-fructose corn syrup fed rats had an abnormal rise in the more dangerous fat that collects around the waist and the circulating blood fats called triglycerides. Both are risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.
“Those are the two worrisome pieces of this, is not only did they gain more weight on the high- fructose corn syrup, but they gained it in the wrong place and the triglycerides make you think they might be diabetic in the future,” added Dr. Harlan.
Some doctors are concerned that the obesity trend in the U.S. started around the same time high-fructose corn syrup became an additive. And they are concerned with other scientific data.
“The more fructose you have in your diet, the worse it is you tend to seek out more food,” said Dr. LeBlanc.