I’m a skeptic and a bit of a contrarian especially when it comes to nutrition, exercise, and other matters of health. The human body is such a complicated machine that it is extremely difficult to come to any general conclusions without a lot of research. And most people (myself included) are not experts in these topics. It takes years of study, keeping up with literature and reading papers that have incredibly boring headlines. The bottom line is that it is difficult to know what to believe.
But I’m a curious sort too. I really do want to know what is true.
That’s why I found this article about high fructose corn syrup interesting. According to the publishers of the Journal of Nutrition scientists and bloggers are being asked to stop propogating myths about high fructose corn syrup. They say that the message that this ingredient is worse for you than sucrose or other sugars is just a myth. They also say that HFCS is not the cause of obesity.
Some other myths that these independent scientific experts attempted to refute.
1. High fructose corn sytup is the same as fructose. No it is not. Studies testing pure fructose are not readily applicable to high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is a blend of glucose and fructose. This is the same as simple sugar. HFCS and sugar are metabolized the same in your body.
2. Increased calories from high fructose corn syrup is causing obesity. No, it is not. The most likely cause is increased calorie consumption. The more calories you consume the more weight you will gain. It doesn’t matter if those calories are HFCS, sugar, honey, or fruit juice concentrate. Calories are calories.
I believe that to be healthy you need to eat healthy. Avoiding HFCS is not a bad idea because it is high in calories but there is nothing inherently wrong with the ingredient. It just encourages over eating, exactly the same way as sugar, honey or any other sweetener would.
Jogglers who weigh less, run slower. If you want to run faster and live longer then you need to eat less. Just don’t worry about HFCS because there is nothing more special about its calories compared to anything else.
Now, it’s time for me to get a candy bar.