High Fructose Corn Syrup and Obesity: No Accident

HFCS linked to Obesity

High fructose corn syrup linked to Obesity

Modern science has produced a popular, inexpensive, highly concentrated product synthesized from cornstarch and is widely used in the food industry, most notably as the primary sweetener in soft drinks and baked goods.  What is this product?  High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The usage of HFCS has increased 1000% between 1970 when it entered our food supply, and 1990.  This vast increase in usage far surpasses that of any other food or food group and is largely due to its incredibly low price.  In their insatiable hunger for higher profits, food manufacturers add increasing amounts of HFCS to their products in ever-larger portion sizes.  Instead of the once common eight-ounce soft drink, we are now more likely to be bombarded with a twenty ounce (or larger) size.

The sky-rocketing inclusion of HFCS in our foods has paralleled America’s rapid increase in obesity.  A 2004 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that HFCS and fructose in general, metabolizes differently than glucose (starches) and sucrose (table sugar).  This study revealed that fructose does not elicit a response from insulin, does not increase leptin production, and does not suppress ghrelin (hunger triggering hormone) production.  In other words, fructose breaks the hormonal process that signals satiation and helps regulate food intake and body weight.  Instead, fructose is sent directly to the liver, bypassing the intermediary breakdown steps that occur with sucrose.  This is hugely bad!  The liver’s response to the fructose is to generate new fat cells, which it then dumps into the bloodstream as triglycerides.

Another study came to the same conclusion: a diet high in fructose elevates triglyceride levels shortly after eating far more significantly than a diet high in sucrose.  The affects:  muscles bombarded by triglycerides will develop insulin resistance quickly (key symptom of Type II Diabetics).

Key take away:  high fructose corn syrup intake changes the way we metabolize fats, causing us to store fat and burn sugar therefore causing weight gain. 

Want to learn more about the dangers of sugar and fructose?  Dr. Robert Lustig brilliantly illustrates it’s affect in his famous presentation Sugar: The Bitter Truth.  

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Thanks for reading folks.  So what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.  

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