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Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really Bad?

I like soda. Dr. Pepper is my favorite but I pretty much like any soda pop.dr-pepper-poison

After doing a long joggling run, I like to stop in my local Walgreens and pick up a soda & maybe a candy bar. But there’s always that nagging suspicion…is it healthy?

Previously, I’ve written about my love of soda and on occasion I’ll get comments from people telling me how awful it is. They are particularly appalled by high fructose corn syrup and how it’s unhealthy. This, they claim, is the reason people in the United States are obese.

I’ve always suspected this was an exaggeration based on chemical fear-mongering but wasn’t sure.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Science

That’s why this bit of research published in the Journal of Nutrition caught my eye. According to the expert scientists who study the subject

…there is little evidence that high fructose corn syrup and sugar (or sucrose) have differing effects on satiety, overall energy balance, metabolic hormones or biochemical metabolites such as triglycerides and uric acid – all suggesting no unique causal role for high fructose corn syrup in obesity.

The scientists say that the confusion about the unhealthy nature of high fructose corn syrup came from an erroneous connection between studies demonstrating problems with high levels of pure fructose. High fructose corn syrup is not “high” in fructose. It’s actually a 50/50 mixture of fructose and glucose. That’s exactly the same proportion as sugar (sucrose).

It’s all about calories

While high fructose corn syrup may indeed be contributing to the obesity levels in the United States, this isn’t because of it’s composition. It’s because of its calorie content. Trading out high fructose corn syrup for some other sweetener like sugar or honey, will not have any effect on obesity levels. Weight boils down to this…

Consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Burn more than you consume, you lose weight.

So, I don’t know about you but I’m going to keep drinking my soda pop. Of course, they are still empty calories so I’ll keep it limited.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in the science of weight loss & nutrition be sure to check out Obesity Panacea.  It’s written by fellow joggler Travis Saunders.

Do you drink soda? Are you one of the high fructose corn syrup haters? Leave a comment below and let us know.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. It’s the combination of sugar + carbonation that gets me…. I gave up soda years ago and just get my carbonation in beer now 🙂

  2. @Bob – The author in that post was doing exactly what the experts were warning against, taking results from studies on pure fructose and applying them to high fructose corny syrup. However, HFCS is not high in fructose. It has the same amount of fructose as sucrose (sugar).

  3. I appreciate a good post based on nutritional science. Thanks for sharing the article. As you said, weight loss is all about your net calorie intake!

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