For the last several years, getting good answers about the health risks of high fructose corn syrup has been difficult. There has been a lack of true scientific substantiation on either side of the debate.
Although many of us suspected this stuff really isn't healthy for us, we didn't actually know how it was affecting our bodies.
Well, a team of Princeton researchers has now released their official findings on a high fructose corn syrup study with (not so) shocking conclusions.
The Princeton researchers had been studying not only side effects of high fructose corn syrup, but how your body reacts when it's ingested. They discovered that rats which had access to high fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to basic table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
They did two studies and here are a few excerpts from their findings:
The first experiment — 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. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.
What does this mean to you as a consumer, chef, cook, parent and conscious adult who cares about what goes into your body? It means all these months that you've been reading labels and finding out what snacks and pre-packaged foods are laced with this obesity enticing ingredient (which seems like almost everything), the time has come to say good-bye. Sure a candy bar packs a punch and for lack of a better phrase, really satisfies you, but it will do more damage than eating an entire tray of cookies fresh from the oven (and then some).
This doesn't mean you have to quit eating what you love, but it does mean that cooking for yourself and your family is more important than ever. Use real ingredients, use sugars and fats of all sorts, but the time to hesitate is through when it comes to the ever present, High Fructose Corn Syrup. As a consumer you vote with your dollar and the more we chose foods (even if they're prepackaged) without this nasty ingredient, the better!
Here's a few more thoughts on High Fructose Corn Syrup to brush up on what is is, why we should avoid it and even some advertisements on television telling us that it's just fine to eat.
• Good Question: Why Should High Fructose Corn Syrup Be Avoided?
• Food Science: The Low-Down on High-Fructose Corn Syrup
• TV Watch: New High Fructose Corn Syrup Ads