High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Worse than Sugar

Photo courtesy of nafmo

We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, but it turns out that not all sugars are created equal. A new Princeton study gave three groups of rats three different diets: normal rat food, water with table sugar (sucrose), and water with high-fructose corn syrup. They found out that calorie-for-calorie, high fructose corn syrup made the rats gain more weight even than table sugar.

High-fructose corn syrup, if you didn’t know, is a major ingredient in most soft drinks, low-quality “maple” syrup, and many popular cereals.

Psychology Professor Bart Hoebel, take it away:

When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.

This study should be the nail in the coffin for the unhealthy school lunch programs that fill our kids with high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and worse — worries about this unhealthy diet, and the effects that the diet has on students’ learning abilities, have fueled an organic school lunch movement.

If you have a sweet tooth but don’t want to end up like those poor, plump lab rats, check out recipes for superfood chocolate candy, organic tarte tatin, or the amazing organic fig almond frangipani tart — they’re all HFCS-free!

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  • Elena  March 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I’m not surprised by this study at all. High Fructose Corn Syrup seems to be in everything we eat. I recently discovered Coca-Cola from Mexico. It actually has sugar rather than HFCS.
    In my opinion, the only way to eliminate HFCS from our diets is to switch to “organic” or “all natural” foods.

  • Dayadog  March 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    There is a key link that is missing here. Omega 6 and 3 (EFA’s essential fatty acids) have a 46-1 ratio. The human body needs approx 3-1 ratio. Look up the endocannabinoid system and obesity. There was an obesity drug developed called Rimonabant that has since been removed by the FDA. This was the first drug designed to work on this system.

    The western diet has an omega (EFA) balance that is totally off balance. This is a reasonable explanation for same calorie sugars having differing results. Google endocannabinoid system and obesity. Then investigate the omega balance and the western diet.

    Learn and educate.

  • Dayadog  March 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I meant to say corn has a 46-1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. sorry.

  • Tim  March 27, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Why does this say that sugar is bad for you? Sugar in of itself isn’t bad for you! If you had a little maple syrup once in a while then no harm done. I follow the 10% rule. 90% of my food intake has to be real food (not food-like substances) and 10% can be something else! I even try to make my something else a little better. For example, in the last 30 days, I’ve had 1 pepsi (20oz.) but I did have the Pepsi Throwback (sugar, instead of hcfs) at least!

  • Scott  March 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Tim —

    Point taken, and I’ve updated the first line to read “too much sugar is bad for us.” Of course no one should try to live without eating sugar, but it’s pretty obvious that in our society, with its astronomical rates of diabetes and obesity, we’re taking in too much of the sweet stuff. Refined carbohydrates shouldn’t get let off the hook either, but hey, that’s a post for another day.

  • John La Puma MD  March 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    It’s important that people know that there’s no danger of eating and not “getting enough sugar.” Sugar supplies only calories…nothing else. No vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, or other nutrition. And we eat, on average, hundreds of calories more than we need.

    But HFCS probably is toxic in other ways: I blog about how it works in the body here http://bit.ly/bUqDOc and a study that shows in people–not just rats–why it is worse.

    Keep up the good work: it’s really important.
    Warm regards,
    John La Puma, MD

  • Lisa Cimperman RD  April 2, 2010 at 5:38 am

    It is disappointing to see such misrepresentation of facts. First of all, HFCS and sucrose will BOTH make you gain weight – if you eat too much of them! Second, I would encourage individuals to look at the actual Princeton study and critically analyze their methods and statistical procedures. Alternately, for a good common sense review of the study take a look at Marion Nestle’s blog: http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/03/hfcs-makes-rats-fat/ The results do not paint the picture as described above. It’s time to stop using HFCS as a scapegoat for the obesity epidemic and start looking for real solutions.

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