High Fructose Corn Syrup: The New Scapegoat To Obesity

1614 words - 7 pages

High Fructose Corn Syrup: The New Scapegoat to Obesity

Recently, the majority of the United States population has been increasingly concerned with the affect of the controversial issue surrounding high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in their diet. Today, about 55 percent of Americans list the infamous sweetener among their food-safety worries, right behind mad cow disease and mercury in seafood, according to the consumer research firm NPD Group (Parker-Pope, 2010). It has caused a major stir in the media, nutritionist and dietitians, food manufacturers, corn refiners and above all, consumers. As a result, there have been opposing conclusions amongst researchers. Of course, there are ...view middle of the document...

One particular report on several experiments published by Princeton University states that, “the experiments suggest that high-fructose corn syrup prompts more weight gain than sucrose, at least in rats, even when the animals eat the same number of calories over all” (Parker-Pope, 2010). They speculate that the body metabolizes the calories in high-fructose corn syrup differently than the same amount of calories in regular sugar, prompting the body to pad on extra pounds. The experiments done by Princeton University, however, failed to provide adequate scientific research. This particular experiment performed experiments on rodents, which by nature, have differentiating anatomies with humans. Therefore, how could one conclude a disparaging statement against the effect of high fructose corn syrup in humans based solely on experimental results from rodents? Critics of the Princeton study say the findings are inconsistent - some of the rat groups, after all, showed no differences in weight gain.
However, according to an article by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004), based on US Department of Agriculture food consumption table from 1967 to 2000, our intake in sweetened beverages has dramatically increased.
The consumption of HFCS increased > 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group. HFCS now represents > 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages and is the sole caloric sweetener in soft drinks in the United States. Our most conservative estimate of the consumption of HFCS indicates a daily average of 132 kcal for all Americans aged 2 y, and the top 20% of consumers of caloric sweeteners ingest 316 kcal from HFCS/d. The increased use of HFCS in the United States mirrors the rapid increase in obesity… Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric overconsumption. Thus, the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.
George A Bray, Samara Joy Nielsen, and Barry M Popkin,
The American Journal of Nutrition (AJN), 2004

Clearly, the above-referenced research indicates that overconsumption of beverages that are high in HFCS, just like any other form of sugar, is detrimental to your waistline. According to the conclusion of Bray et al. (2004), when HFCS is present in solid foods, they suspect that it should not pose the same problem as it would in a liquid form. They also concluded that it is becoming increasingly clear that soft drink consumption may be an important contributor to the epidemic of obesity, in part through the larger portion sizes of these beverages and through the increased intake of fructose from HFCS and sucrose. If HFCS acts as an agent in the disease, then reducing exposure to this agent may help to reduce the epidemic. We, of course, fail to recognize that...

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