Report: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Not Solely Responsible For Obesity Epidemic

From the study (High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Separating Facts from Myths) Executive Summary:

“Since the 1970s, the use of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the U.S. food supply has increased dramatically — typically as a replacement for sucrose (table sugar) in soft drinks and many food products. The prevalence of obesity has also increased substantially between the 1970s and the early 2000s. Because of this coincidental timing, HFCS has been erroneously demon-ized as a unique cause of the obesity epidemic in the United States.

Sucrose and HFCS have essentially the same composition, and thus it would be highly unlikely for them to have different effects on body weight or metabolism. Experimental evidence, as well as analyses of epidemiologic data, indicate that sucrose and HFCS have equivalent effects on food intake and therefore on body weight. Scientific evidence does not support the notion that HFCS is uniquely responsible for the American obesity epidemic.”

Read the full report.

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47 comments on “Report: High-Fructose Corn Syrup Not Solely Responsible For Obesity Epidemic

  1. A 2009 study from University of California, Davis takes its place in a growing lineup of scientific studies demonstrating that consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health… high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose — is the worst of the worst! Fructose, a cheap sweetener usually derived from corn, is used in thousands of food products and soft drinks. Excessive fructose consumption can cause metabolic damage and triggers the early stages of diabetes and heart disease, which is what the Davis study showed. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx

  2. @Alice, They didn't say it was good for your, they just said it wasn't worse for you than refined sugar. They are both terrible for you.

  3. It isn't the high fructose corn syrup itself. It is the fact that corn syrup in general has been made so cheap that food processors are injecting it into everything (even meat!) to fool consumers into desiring those packaged foods that are highest in sugar content. I often see people eat bland, tasteless, processed foods that have been sweetened with corn syrup who then say 'mmmm this is so good!' Children are particularly susceptible to this because of what is commonly know as the sweet tooth. To end the obesity epidemic step one must be to phase out crop subsidies for corn. Let corn be sold at market price rather than forcing the tax payer to pay a portion of the cost of food processor's raw ingredients whether they eat it or not.

  4. Recent studies have shown that High Fructose sweeteners tend to be processed almost exclusively by the liver, whereas glucose is processed by every cell in the body. This leads to a more rapid visceral fat accumulation that in turn leads to insulin resistance and to metabolic syndrome. In it's natural form, that is in fruit, it is not absorbed as quickly and therefore does not cause the liver to be overloaded, so it can be converted to energy more effectively. But when consumed in large quantities, in candy, drinks, etc, it taxes the liver ability to process it into energy and instead it is stored as visceral fat. Get a clue…

  5. The people posting comments on this article are showing their ignorance. Fructose and glucose are naturally-occuring monosaccherides found in all fruits and many vegetables. Sucrose is a naturally-occuring disaccheride of glucose and fructose, also found in all fruits and many vegetables. Different fruits and vegetables contain different mixtures of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, but all fruits contain some of all three sugars. Some fruits and vegetables also contain other sugars such as maltose, galactose, and a few others. Sucrose is converted into a 50-50 mixture of fructose and glucose in the small intestine before it is absorbed into the portal vein that flows to the liver. Starch is a polysaccheride of glucose alone. It is digested to just glucose by the small intestine. High Fructose Corn Syrup is NOT pure Fructose! It is a mixture of either 42% Fructose (HFCS-42, most commonly used HFCS) or 55% Fructose (HFCS-55, mostly just used in soft drinks) with the remainder mostly glucose with some other sugars. High-fructose Corn Syrup therefore has either slightly less or slightly more Fructose than are produced when Sucrose is digested. Fructose and glucose are both processed by the liver and some glucose is released by the liver into the bloodstream and some is used to make the polysaccheride glycogen (very similar to starch produced by plants.) Fructose is processed differently in the liver than glucose, and very little of it ends up in the bloodstream. There is some evidence that a diet high in Fructose (from ANY source) can lead to problems with lipid metabolism. A diet high in glucose (from ANY source) is known to be linked to type-2 diabetes.

  6. Contrary to what some other posters believe, nearly all mammals (including humans, rats, mice, cows, horses, dogs, cats, etc.) metabolize carbohydrates essentially the same way. Different species have diets which contain different amounts of different carbohydrate, but all of them have some carbohydrates in their diets. Animal studies of metabolism are EXTREMELY informative about human metabolism, although there are some minor differences which are usually very well known to the people doing the research.

  7. Its' the fructose, stupid! Linus Pauling covered the subject pretty thoroughly decades ago. And yes, it's the SUGAR (whichever) too. All of the prior commenters are dancing around the 'truth of the matter'—I think I'll go join them. I will resist ordering everybody to read up on Linus' take on heart disease (cholesterol or sugar?) but I will say that due to childhood polio and attendant requirement to lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling for a VERY long time I have, (as an unrecoverable readaholic,) read hundreds of books, studies, essays, 'papers', reports, etc. on 'everything' and, accordingly, I know with absolute certainty absolutely nothing about anything. Be-that-as-it-may, I do 'know' what I believe—subject to inevitable correction as new information accrues. I am 76 and will likely expire from vitamin C overload, polio, heart attack/disease, NK leukemia and a host of other lesser devils having so far failed individually and collectively to bring me down. Maybe God loves me, it seems like she does. Keep thinking people! Beware of sanctimonious pseudo-intellectual maggots.

  8. The "natural" sweetener honey is essentially the same as High-Fructose Corn Syrup as far as carbohydrates are concerned. Honey does contain small amounts of non-carbohydrate materials such as pollen, bacteria (including Clostridium botulinum endospores which can cause botulism infection in infants and others with under-developed or impaired digestive systems), and small amounts of protein and other substances. About 95% of the dry weight of both High-Fructose Corn Syrup and honey are made up of glucose and fructose in roughly equal amounts. (Honey varies much more in composition depending on the flowers it was made from and other factors.) Neither sucrose nor honey is any "healthier" than High Fructose Corn Syrup as far as carbohydrate metabolism is concerned.

  9. ACSH receives 76 percent of its funding from corporations and corporate funders, and 17 percent of its funding from private foundations, according to Congressional Quarterly's Public Interest Profiles. Some current and past ACSH corporate and foundation funders: ALCOA Foundation Allied Signals Foundation American Cyanamid American Meat Institute Amoco Anheuser-Busch Archer Daniels Midland Ashland Oil Foundation Boise Cascade Corp Bristol-Myers Squibb Burger King Carnation Co Chevron CibaGeigy Coca-Cola Consolidated Edison Cooper Industries Foundation Coors Coors Foundation Dow Chemical Dow Chemical Canada DuPont Ethyl Corp Exxon Ford Motor Co. Frito-Lay G. D. Searle Charitable Trust General Electric General Mills General Motors Gerber Products Hershey Foods Corp Fund Johnson & Johnson Johnson's Wax Fund John M. Olin Foundation Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons Kraft Foundation Kraft General Foods Merck Co Foundation Merck Pharmaceuticals Mobil Foundation Mobil Monsanto Fund Monsanto National Agricultural Chemicals Association National Dairy Council National Soft Drink Association National Starch and Chemical Foundation Northwood Institute Nestle NutraSweet Co. (owned by Monsanto) Oscar Mayer Foods Pepsico Pepsi-Cola Pfizer PPG Industries Procter & Gamble Rohm & Haas Salt Institute Samuel Roberts Nobel Foundation Sarah Scaife Foundation Seagrams The Schultz Foundation Shell Oil Starr Foundation Sterling Drug Stouffer Corp Stroh Brewery Co Sugar Association Sun Company, Inc Syntex Corp Union Carbide Corp. Uniroyal Chemical Co. USX Corp. Warner-Lambert Foundation Wine Growers of California list source: National Environmental Trust [More on ACSH] To send Mindfully.org your comments, questions, and suggestions click here The home page of this website is http://www.mindfully.org Please see our Fair Use Notice E-mail Address:

  10. Everyone can see "the double talk" in this corporate funded propaganda piece (of trash journalism). My own case: when I ate healthy (Souplantation restaurant) I was healthy. When the place closed down I was too lazy to prepare my own food and jumped on junk food and (HFCS loaded) sodas! Now I am Type II – got the message?

  11. The double talk is the fact that people sit on their ass nowadays, eat like pigs, and then expect to go on disability because they have fat related illness such as diabetes and its attendant complications. Its not just the sugar whether that be fructose, glucose, honey or whatever, its the excess of everything that people seem to do today, and the very fact that many people do absolutely nothing in terms of activity to burn calories. Every night in the Emergency Room, I see these people and listen to the same story while they send a friend out to McDonalds using the government provided ATM card and then complain because we tell them they cant eat until their studies come back. Me fellow Americans are just plain lazy today. At 62, I eat whatever I want, but I do it in moderation, and I am very active.

  12. I've never thought it was. Corn syrup is sugar, the same a beet sugar is sugar and all sugars will cause weight gain when added to almost all our packaged foods. Read those labels people. Sugar in chicken broth? Canned vegetables? Mac&Cheese (yuk)? The food industry is the cause of our obesity because of all the unnecessary sugars they have added to our foodstuffs. Lets all email them, telling them to get the added sugars out of our foods.

  13. Ten thousand experts on sugar. OMG! Someone please point out the idiot in this group I am in need of a reality check. You see I have type II diabetes. I'm sure I consume the average amount of sugar. I'm also a 6'4" male who only weighs 145 pounds. Who wants to be the first idiot to tell me i don't eat enough sugar?

  14. Ruth Kava is a DISINGENUOUS LIAR. Look at the way she says "unique cause" and "uniquely responsible" What a DISHONEST SHAMEFUL person. Ruth Kava looks like a PAID CREEP when she admits the SCIENTIFICALLY VALID STATISTICAL CORRELATION between INCREASED HFCS consumption vs. INCREASED OBSITY. DISGUSTING LIAR she is.

  15. This chick is a lie and the truth aint in her. So all of us Americans must be stupid and crazy. Why did they reintroduce cane sugar soda if they are similar. I know damn well that HFCs are responsible for fat waddling masses and that would include my wide a ss as well. Stop with the bulls hit!

  16. It is not the fact that is it a sugar substitute and has the same caloric numbers that make HFCS dangerous. It is the fact that the body does not have a metabolic pathway that cleanly deals with HFCS. It has to be processed by the body through and alternative pathway of metabolism that leaves fat molecules in the liver every time HFCS is ingested. Those fat molecules can lead to some serious problems, fatty liver, cirrhosis, if large amounts of HFCS are ingested, like drinking too much soda. Almost all soda is sweetened with HFCS and makes excessive ingestion potentially harmful to the body. No HFCS does not have any bigger impact on obesity than sugar, 4 kcal/gm just like sugar. The are equal in calories. But that is not the big dirty secret of HFCS. It is completely different than sugar when it comes to the body metabolism of it! It is amazing that the FDA does not do something to limit it's use. But of course the farm lobby is one of the most powerful in Washington, and HFCS drives the price of corn; so we will not see change or honesty where HFCS is concerned. Source The Blog by Dr. Mark Hayman "Now back to biochemistry. Since there is no chemical bond between them,(glucose and fructose in HFCS) no digestion is required, so they are more rapidly absorbed into your blood stream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol). This is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called "fatty liver," which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin — our body's major fat storage hormone. Both of these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more." Why don't you tell the whole story Dr. Kava?

  17. I am careful of what I eat, yet still have had a problem trying to lose weight. I used the APP My Fitness Pal, and it opened my eyes. I don't eat junk foods like chips or fries, etc. unless you monitor what you are eating and exercise, you don't realize that you are taking in too many calories.

  18. When sucrose is eaten and mixes with saliva containing amylase, it breaks down into glucose and fructose and the pathways are the same as for HFCS. Also, less HFCS is needed in prepared foods, because HFCS is sweeter. New Mexico Steve is very good at leaving out facts. The overuse of all sugars and fats is the real cause of obesity.

  19. Over 80% of HFCS is genetically modified (GMO). That means there is a DNA sequence in the HFCS that doesn't occur in nature and is manufactured in a lab. There is growing evidence that this patented DNA, which is injected into virus, that is injected into plant seed (like corn), that gets injested by humans when they consume HFCS (and other products) is harmful to health. The purpose of the DNA? To rupture the stomach cells of insects that injest the plant – aka built in pesticide. And guess what? When injested by humans, it can rupture cells in the gut of humans too causing Leaky Gut Syndrome. There is more to demonize about HFCS than just the bad things that New Mexico Steve points out. And what motivates the scientists who create this DNA to argue against this growing evidence of harmful effects on humans? It's the commerce that keeps them employed and they want to avoid lawsuits. Money is a powerful motivator. I don't begrudge businesses like Monsanto, Bayer, GE, and the like to make money, but when you learn that your product is harming people, you should look for other ways to produce commerce while figuring out how to replace the harmful product. And people suffering from Leaky Gut Syndrome should stay completely away from ALL GMO products.

  20. New Mexico Steve's analysis of HFCS' effect on the liver below is absolutely correct. HFCS causes fat retention in the liver. Period.

  21. I find articles like this so depressing. A "scientific" study concluding that HFCS is not "uniquely" responsible for the obesity epidemic and has been "erroneously demonized?" Here's a hint, folks: actual science doesn't adopt the language of a sleazy defense attorney. This research is tainted by being funded with the express purpose of a pre-determined, desired result in the service of corporate greed. Of course HFCS isn't "solely responsibile" for the American obesity epidemic – few believe it is. But the question readers of this "scientific product" should ask themselves is this: what was the purpose of this study? Genuine, disinterested scientific inquiry? Or the exoneration of a cheap, convenient food additive that boosts food companies' profits? The fact that an industry-funded group of researchers put this study out makes it immediately suspect, and consumers should continue to read all the available studies before making up their minds. Such are the hazards of living in a system where manipulated information is for sale. One final question consumers must ask themselves is this: while the food industry's motivations here are clear, why would the preponderance of scientific studies indict HFCS for any reason other than the weight of the data? In other words – what could possibly be their motivation for misleading the public here? As my grandpa used to say, "To figure out who's got a reason to lie to you – follow the money."

  22. This reads far more like an op-ed than a peer-reviewed, independent scientific publication. I wonder why that is?

  23. According to http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/American_Council_on_Science_and_Health, The American Council on Science and Health " takes a generally apologetic stance regarding virtually every other health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry, accepting corporate funding from Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, Pepsico, and the American Beverage Association, among others". Since these companies are essentially funding the study, what would we expect the results of the study to indicate? The use of HFCS increases their bottom line profits.

  24. I don't eat anything with corn Syrup and that's about 85% of everything at the supermarket. When I do take in sugars I drink moringa leaf powder this cleans the sugars in the blood . My weight has returned to how I was in my 20's and I am in my 50's now. Another thing is watch your ph balance after eating meat drink lemonade to help your body return to slight alkaline. Doing all this is simple and extremely healthy. You can prevent diabetes. Get smart.

  25. High fructose corn syrup likely gives some commercially-made beverages their sickeningly hyper-sweet taste. And even show up where common sense wouldn't put it like in Italian-type entrees. But it does in Chef Boyardee canned pasta + meat entrees. I was wondering what made Chef Boyardee taste so strange. And I bet it's that high fructose carn syrup that's shown on the Chef Boyardee ingredient list on the cans. I was surprise. Why would the manufacturer ruin Italian-type food with something like that corn syrup that no Italians would put in their own pasta dishes. Yuck.

  26. I prefer the evil High Fructose Bee Spit, aka honey as a sweetener in my food. The truth is, take in more calories than you burn and you'll add fat to your body, liver, whever your body stores excess glucose, which is the metabolic end result of nearly all sugars you consume.

  27. This article is not telling the complete truth. Biggest problem I see is that most food companies use HFCs with sugars and not instead of. I try to buy products without HFCs and that is hard to do.

  28. All products should be clearly labeled so that consumers can make choices based on their preferences, but high fructose corn syrup extracted from genetically modified corn is another product included in the human food supply for which the information is not available to the purchaser. This is deceptive and dangerous to American families.

  29. I have a good idea for the obese people of the U.S. Stop being pigs. Clint Eastwood said it best. "The world looks at the U.S. people as fat, uneducated and lazy. This last election proved that."

  30. Of course you're going to publish a report downplaying the effects of HFCS when you're being underwritten & funded by the industry using HFCS as a primary ingredient in products. When you made the decision to accept funding from the soda and junk food industry and remove "independent" from your organization's description your "research" automatically becomes suspect.

  31. This article is like Duke Energy informing the public that coal-fired power plants are not soley reponsible for: acid-rain, smog-choked towns, black-lung disease, etc…, or perhaps like their propaganda, which touts 'clean-burning coal' (no-such thing, by-the-way…). This entire article, and indeed, this entire web-page is underwritten by folks who crank-out the production-of HFCS. The entire thing is invalid. Period.

  32. Funny thing about "essentially the same composition"… anybody that knows anything about chemistry knows that's BS. Why? Because the most minor differences/changes to a molecule result in HUGE differences in the behavior of that molecule or the affect upon an organism. One can go from "ok" to "toxic" by removing or adding one molecule. Hormones are a good case in point…plastics used in food containers contain molecules which are "essentially the same composition" as estrogen. Unless you actually object to precocious puberty in 7 year olds, or for men to grow breasts..you'd have absolutely no problem with High Fructose Corn Syrup in massive quantities everywhere. If HFCS is the same as sugar, why then is it so darned popular with food makers? Because it's NOT the same…it mixes easier with other things, it is sweeter and it's "cheaper". Our bodies know the difference, even if the "promotional consultants" don't.

  33. As a certified health Coach for the take Shape for Life program (I just helped my sister-in -law lose 130 pounds safely in 10 months), I learned that high fructose corn syrup indeed is involved in the current obesity epidemic. Unlike sugar, HFCS is metabolized only in the liver, which means that your body will store fat more easily. It was in 1988 that Coke put HFCS in their soft drinks, and soon Pepsi and all other American soft drink bottlers followed. It was at that time that the US obesity rate skyrocketed.But HFCS is cheap, tastes good, and has an addictive quality, as it causes you to want more of the food that contains it. Now it is hard to even find a loaf of bread that does not contain it.

  34. You guys are idiots for writing such a load of crap. To say that HFCS and sucrose are essentially the same is to say that an Audi is essentially the same as a Ford.

  35. I am NOT a Doctor, Nor am I a "Certified Health Coach". I am not even in good shape, but I can tell that this article is bogus. This site, is clearly put together by some pro-corn group. In other words, Biased.

  36. Those commenters who say that HFCS and sucrose are NOT "essentially the same composition" are correct. Glucose and wood could just as well be considered "essentially the same composition". Rather, HFCS and honey are essentially the same.

  37. Not different huh?? In that case "Opium" and "Sesame Seeds" should have the same effect on the body. They are exactly alike, only one is your left hand and one is your right hand. Same difference between HFCS and Sucrose. Guess that makes Opium legal then.

  38. I'm 42 years old, 6'4" 185lbs. At 18 I was 6'4" 185lbs. I was all muscle then, not so much now, but the same weight nonetheless. I've been drinking on average a 2 liter of Pepsi every day for the past 20 years. HFCS is the 2nd ingredient. That's approximately 850 calories per day from Pepsi. The obesity epidemic has ZERO to do with HCFS or "sugary drinks" as Nanny Bloomberg calls them. If so I'd be obese, and I'm at ideal body weight for my height, actually a little low for my age. The obesity epidemic is a direct result of the endless bountiful trough of cheap high calorie foods, fast food chains and buffets, etc. I have always "eaten to my activity level". If I work or play hard it makes me hungry and I eat, a lot. If I'm inactive I don't have much appetite and I eat little. Most Americans lost this "ability" long ago, they overeat at meals, and they snack all day simply because the bag of M&Ms or Doritos "is there". I see my family and friends do this every single day. Most people simply have no will power anymore when it comes to food consumption. THIS is why we have an obesity epidemic. The problem isn't lack of exercise either. I'm a slug these days. It's all about food intake. My two best friends are both just over 6' and both over 300 lbs, one post gastro bypass surgery. Both have been drinking only diet soda for 15 years. Again, HFCS isn't the problem. Lack of self control is the problem.

  39. Sucrose and HCFS the same? The article failed to mention the effect of HFCS to have continual cravings for food. So they are going to say what the federal government wants them to. The author is a PhD and does not know this important fact? Maybe PhD stands for "Piled High and Deep", like the stacked pile of crap this article reflects?

  40. Sorry over-indulgence is the real culprit… What makes me fat.. doesn't bother you. Everybody's body chemistry is different. The answer !! If your gaining weight PAY ATTENTION ..What am I doing to myself..

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