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!