In this day and age, we have all probably heard of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The bigger problem, of course, is there is a high probability we have all been exposed to it in a food we have eaten. That is, unless you know to look for it on food labels and avoid it. 

HFCS is a corn derivative that typically has 55-percent fructose, 42-percent glucose, and 3-percent other larger sugars. HFCS replaced sucrose in the early 1970s and the rate of obesity as a population has doubled from 15- to 33 percent since then according, to Center For Disease Control figures. 

I am not writing this to prove sucrose is good for you; rather to prove just how terrible HFCS is for you. Sucrose, glucose, and other larger sugars are bad enough; HFCS should be avoided at all costs. Weight gain from HFCS is far greater than from ordinary sucrose. 

Researchers from Princeton University previously conducted two experiments (Science Daily). One compared male rats eating rat chow and HFCS water to rats eating rat chow and sucrose-flavored water. The weight gain was described as "much more" for the rats eating the HFCS water. The really interesting fact about this study was that the sucrose water was highly concentrated at levels similar to the few sodas still flavored with sucrose in the U.S. marketplace. The HFCS water, on the other hand, was half the concentration of the typical HFCS soda on market shelves today. 

The second study lasted six months and looked at HFCS versus water. In this study, the rats ballooned up with 48-percent weight gains over rats just eating food and unsweetened water. 

The rats did not just get fat. They demonstrated characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides. It is these same characteristics that are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer, and diabetes in humans. 

You may be wondering how our bodies process HFCS and cause so many problems? The fructose present in HFCS is preferentially metabolized in the liver into fat. Sucrose is metabolized by insulin from the pancreas and is more readily used as an energy source. Furthermore, fructose affects hormones like leptin that work with insulin to control satiety, the feeling of being full. The following excerpt from the article abstract says it all. "The combined affects of lowered circulating leptin and insulin from frequent consumption of high dietary fructose increases the likelihood of weight gain and its associated sequelae." 

Food manufacturers and distributors make claims that HFCS is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity. These results and several other studies, however, make it clear that it is not true. HFCS will make you fat. Frequent consumption of HFCS will make you obese. Bottom line: High fructose corn syrup will ruin you.


Josh Renkens