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Old 02-01-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
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Another interesting HFCS study..

Science News

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain, Researchers Find

ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "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."

In results published online March 18 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.

"These rats aren't just getting fat; they're demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides," said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. "In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes." In addition to Hoebel and Bocarsly, the research team included Princeton undergraduate Elyse Powell and visiting research associate Nicole Avena, who was affiliated with Rockefeller University during the study and is now on the faculty at the University of Florida. The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.

High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.

This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.

In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

"Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic," Avena said.

The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.

In the future, the team intends to explore how the animals respond to the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in conjunction with a high-fat diet -- the equivalent of a typical fast-food meal containing a hamburger, fries and soda -- and whether excessive high-fructose corn syrup consumption contributes to the diseases associated with obesity. Another step will be to study how fructose affects brain function in the control of appetite.

The research was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Editor's Note: In response to the above-mentioned study, The Corn Refiners Association issued a statement titled "Gross Errors in Princeton Animal Study on Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup: Research in Humans Discredits Princeton Study" (http://www.corn.org/princeton-hfcs-study-errors.html). This link is provided for information only -- no editorial endorsement is implied.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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Yes, I try to avoid "corn sugar" as much as possible. I can't always avoid it when I'm eating somewhere other than home, but at least at home I can.

I like that some of these companies are catching on and taking hfcs out of their products. I still read labels to make sure.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sophiethecat View Post
Yes, I try to avoid "corn sugar" as much as possible. I can't always avoid it when I'm eating somewhere other than home, but at least at home I can.

I like that some of these companies are catching on and taking hfcs out of their products. I still read labels to make sure.
I remember seeing some ketchup brand on the grocery store shelf, and in big letters on the label of the bottle was *No High Fructose Corn Syrup*... so they're catching on that there are customers who do NOT want this sweetener in their foods.

It's become the popular thing now to blame THEM because we have become FAT... that this would never have happened to us if THEY hadn't made this terrible food for us, filled with chemicals and terrible additives that ruin us.

But frankly, we don't have to buy it. We don't have to eat it. And if we refuse to, they won't produce it anymore. They WANT to produce food products we will buy. We get to vote with our purchasing dollar. Yay or Nay. Acceptable or Not. Good or Bad. I'll buy it or I'll refuse to buy it.

I bring very little into our home that comes in packages. I read labels. I'm pretty thoughtful about what food we eat, and that way.. the little of the crappy additives doesn't seem to be enough to overpower the mostly good food we eat. I still get to enjoy the occasional *real* Coca Cola Classic.. the one with the HFCS. But not very often.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Very informative Pat, as usual. Thank you.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Actually, companies are taking corn syrup out of products because corn has gotten so expensive. Sugar is actually the cheaper alternative now. They are just capitalizing on the fact that more people don't like hfcs, and so are making a splashy show on the label that they've removed it. LOL

Regardless of why they are doing it, it's good that it's being done.

I cook mostly from scratch, so no hfcs to worry about there. But in the products I do buy, I look for brands that don't contain it.

I don't think it's coincidental that the obesity epidemic tracks with the introduction of this into more and more of our foods.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoHappy View Post
It's become the popular thing now to blame THEM because we have become FAT... that this would never have happened to us if THEY hadn't made this terrible food for us, filled with chemicals and terrible additives that ruin us.

But frankly, we don't have to buy it. We don't have to eat it. And if we refuse to, they won't produce it anymore. They WANT to produce food products we will buy. We get to vote with our purchasing dollar. Yay or Nay. Acceptable or Not. Good or Bad. I'll buy it or I'll refuse to buy it.

Pat, I can agree with you to a point on this, but when this was introduced, it was touted as a wonder additive. It supposedly didn't have the same glycemic load as sugar, so it was pushed as a good alternative for diabetics, and for everyone because real sugar was EEEEVIL. Same with fat. Fat was demonized for so long, we all believed it. And to avoid the evils of fat, we increased carb consumption. Which increases insulin levels, which tells our bodies to store fat.

Reading Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) last summer opened my eyes to a whole new world of info regarding metabolism. It is possible for someone who is insulin resistant to be starving at the cellular level, because the energy (carbs) that is being brought in is immediately stored in the fat cells and therefore unavailable for use by the cells. Because they are still hungry, they send out a signal to eat more. You respond to this call, eating more and more, and never really FEEDING your body. And the cellular starvation can precede the actually getting fat, so it looks like you simply have no willpower, and it's the eating that made you fat. When in actuality, it was the insulin resistance that made you hungry, and you ate to try to satisfy the energy needs of your malnourished cells.

So while I agree that WE put the food in our mouths, to a large extent, we were doing what we were told was good for us.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mykidsteacher View Post
Pat, I can agree with you to a point on this, but when this was introduced, it was touted as a wonder additive. It supposedly didn't have the same glycemic load as sugar, so it was pushed as a good alternative for diabetics, and for everyone because real sugar was EEEEVIL. Same with fat. Fat was demonized for so long, we all believed it. And to avoid the evils of fat, we increased carb consumption. Which increases insulin levels, which tells our bodies to store fat.

Reading Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) last summer opened my eyes to a whole new world of info regarding metabolism. It is possible for someone who is insulin resistant to be starving at the cellular level, because the energy (carbs) that is being brought in is immediately stored in the fat cells and therefore unavailable for use by the cells. Because they are still hungry, they send out a signal to eat more. You respond to this call, eating more and more, and never really FEEDING your body. And the cellular starvation can precede the actually getting fat, so it looks like you simply have no willpower, and it's the eating that made you fat. When in actuality, it was the insulin resistance that made you hungry, and you ate to try to satisfy the energy needs of your malnourished cells.

So while I agree that WE put the food in our mouths, to a large extent, we were doing what we were told was good for us.
Oh, I remember that. When I was a youngster, sweetened things were, for the most part sweetened with granulated sugar. And corn syrup was *simple* corn syrup, like Karo. That mamas made their pecan pies out of at Thanksgiving. We'd be allowed a glass of Coke occasionally. It was sweetened with sugar. I don't really know when that gradual change over to HFCS as the major sweetener sort of took off. It was so gradual, but became pervasive.

I know about HOW it works. And what it has done to us. I probably view this somewhat differently because of my age though. I don't think sugar is the devil. We ate it back then and everything was fine. I knew almost nobody who was a fat person in my town! Amazing. Kids had cookies and milk when they got home from school and then went out to play until suppertime. But that was just simple sugar. And the change seemed to come with the growing use of HFCS.

I'm very hopeful of the growing movement to bring this sweetener down in general use. And apparently there is enough of a backlash that the industry is wanting to label it corn sugar from now on. Like it's the same as cane sugar. Or beet sugar. Just a simple sugar. NOT.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:02 PM   #8
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Besides the weight gain fructose realy helps cancer cells grow faster.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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Besides the weight gain fructose realy helps cancer cells grow faster.
I've read that too. Scary!
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