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High Fructose Corn Syrup WORSE Than Sugar?

We’ve talked about the controversial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the past.

While many critics claim it’s tied to diabetes and high blood pressure, others believe it’s no different than "regular" sugar."  Or, should I say — as equally bad as sugar.  Admittedly, our conclusion at the end of the previous HFCS blog was that at the end of the day, any type of added sugar wasn’t good.  So not "supporting" HFCS by any means, per se, but not thinking it’s the devil.  What we didn’t like is that it’s created in a lab…and we continue to suggest local honey as a "better" form of sugar or sweetener (though, again, none are great). 

high fructose corn syrup is dangerousFrom what we’ve seen and read,  HFCS didn’t seem to be any "worse" than table sugar — all are equally bad for you.  But the debate continues to rage on about HFCS vs. table sugar.

But a new study sheds some more light on the topic, suggesting HFCS MIGHT in fact be worse.

The study was published in the journal Metabolism

Here’s the deal.

Researchers gave subjects 24 oz (3 cups) of Dr. Pepper sweetened with either HFCS or cane sugar (which is table sugar).  Not surprisingly, they found higher levels of fructose in the blood in those who drank the HFCS sweetened product … but they also found higher blood pressure readings and higher levels of uric acid, which in excess is tied to gout and possibly kidney damage.

Hmmmm.

While the researchers suggested “To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that HFCS is more likely to cause acute adverse effects than sucrose."  However, another quote that popped right out from them was "the treatment effects may increase with continued, chronic exposure to these sweeteners.”

In other words, if this soda habit is continued over time, the negative effects they found (higher blood pressure and increased levels of uric acid) may increase.

So it’s true that this is just one small study.  But if we wait years for more and more research it may be too late … the damage is done! 

So why is it that all sugar isn’t created equally?  Likely the same reason all calories aren’t created equal.  A sugar isn’t a sugar just like a calorie isn’t a calorie. 

Are you confused?

It seems to stem from the fact that the different types of sugar — fructose vs. sucrose — are metabolized differently.  Like we said earlier, HFCS isn’t ‘natural’ in the sense that we don’t consume this much fructose at once.  And it’s made in a lab.  Just a few short decades ago, there wasn’t such thing as HFCS. Sure, fruit has fructose — but about 4-5 times less than what’s found in one soda — and it’s naturally occurring in fruit, not artificially created.  That’s a good thing. 

Mohr Results Bottom Line:
At the end of the day, no added sugar is great regardless of the source.  But considering Americans now consume about 22 teaspoons per day of added sugar, let’s consider the source, too.  And we’re not waiting for more research to suggest avoiding HFCS!  Read labels — it is everywhere.  Of course, in an ideal world, the overall amount of total added sugars would be reduced dramatically as well.


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3 Responses to High Fructose Corn Syrup WORSE Than Sugar?

  1. Michele February 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Could you post the source for this? I would like to re- post, but I would need the reference . Thanks!

    • Chris and Kara Mohr February 6, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Metabolism. 2011 Dec 5.
      Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects.
      Le MT, Frye RF, Rivard CJ, Cheng J, McFann KK, Segal MS, Johnson RJ, Johnson JA.

  2. Chris and Kara Mohr February 6, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I don’t — here’s the exact reference which may be helpful

    Metabolism. 2011 Dec 5.
    Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects.
    Le MT, Frye RF, Rivard CJ, Cheng J, McFann KK, Segal MS, Johnson RJ, Johnson JA.

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