Is high fructose corn syrup really as bad as the media makes it out to be? The Corn Refiners Association argues that your body can’t tell the difference between table sugar and sugar from corn, but on the other hand, high fructose corn syrup is linked to obesity in a recent study.
High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn that is commonly found in processed foods. It helps food maintain a longer shelf life, enhances flavor, is cheaper than most other sweeteners and blends well with other foods. These are why it is so widely used. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is insufficient evidence to say that high-fructose corn syrup is less healthy than other types of added sweeteners.
According to a study conducted last year by researchers from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, rats that consumed high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight compared to those that consumed table sugar. The rats that consumed the fructose corn syrup also had increases in body fat, which may help explain the current obesity epidemic in the U.S.
It’s easy to blame high fructose corn syrup for America’s expanding waistline, but in reality the obesity epidemic is a multi-faceted problem. Experts point out that because high fructose corn syrup is cheaper to use than other sweeteners, it lowered the cost of sweet, high calorie foods. The prices of these foods dropped in stores, while Americans became less active and as a result, it may have indirectly played a role in the obesity epidemic. The real problem may not be the high fructose corn syrup by itself, but the fact that we are simply eating to many sugary, processed foods in general.
To cut down on your sugar intake, start reading food labels. High fructose corn syrup can even be found in non-sugary foods such as bread. It’s also commonly found in salad dressings, fast food, condiments, flavored yogurt, and canned and bottled beverages. Only foods labeled 100% organic are free of high fructose corn syrup.
It’s not certain whether high fructose corn syrup is worse for you than regular sugar. Either way, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of all types of sugars and enjoy sugary foods in moderation.