Sodas, Drinks, Cakes, Cookies…High Fructose Corn Syrup Seems To Be In Everything
The big debate continues…what is causing the epidemic levels of obesity in America and around the globe? Obesity is a complex issue but recent research has pointed to a sweetener found in many foods called High Fructose Corn Syrup. A cheaper additive than sucrose (or table sugar), high fructose has been used in the last 40 years in America to sweeten many of our popular food items. A recent study done out of Princeton University has shown that this popular sweetener could be one of the major links in the rising rates of obesity in America.
The scientists at Princeton showed in laboratory rats that ingestion of high fructose corn syrup not only lead to obesity in the rats, but also higher amounts of triglycerides, abnormal weight gain, and fatty deposits around the belly. A link between high fructose corn syrup and the Hunger-Obesity Paradox was also recently highlighted in one of my previous posts.
What is the phenomenon behind why High Fructose Corn Syrup adds to obesity? The true reasons on why this sweetener may add to obesity is yet to be completely determined, but the researchers at Princeton believe that the fructose (a type of sugar) in the high fructose corn syrup changes over to fat, while sucrose (another type of sugar, commonly known as table sugar), changes over to carbohydrate, or eventually fuel for the body. Of course carbohydrate stored in the body is better than fat.
What is interesting is that the use of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener is not widely used in other countries, such as European countries. This is because in Europe, there are quotas on how much high fructose corn syrup is allowed to be used in foods and drinks. Many foods and drinks in Europe still contain sucrose because the EU produces a significant amount of sucrose for use in food and drinks. But actually in some European countries, the citizens actually consume as much or more sucrose than Americans and yet the rates of obesity are lower than in America.
While the debate can continue on obesity; the causes, the environmental, physical and genetic factors involved in the escalating rates…there is no doubt for me that over ingestion of high fructose corn syrup adds another significant risk to being an obese American. I don’t think Coca Cola and the other soft drink companies in America want this information too widely publisized…this could mean switching back to table sugar in the drinks just to please those Americans asking for it.
One last point I would like to make is that at a recent conference I attended the debate on high fructose corn syrup was discussed. Studies have demonstrated that drinking soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup did little to suppress the appetite. This means that drinking a can of soda didn’t stop your hunger, as one could normally see with eating an apple, banana or some other food that has the same amount of calories. Therefore…think before you drink and eat! Read your labels…and switch to water! and of course, feel free to add your comments below.