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More research, more bad results for high-fructose corn syrup

Submitted by on Wednesday, 24 March 2010 No Comment

Here’s another one from the files marked “eat real food, please”:

Two separate studies at Princeton University found that lab animals fed high fructose corn syrup – presumably the mercury-free variety – gained more weight than those that consumed the same amount of table sugar.

“These rats aren’t just getting fat; they’re demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides,” Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly said in a story on the university’s Web site. “In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.”

Americans on average consume 60 pounds of high fructose corn syrup a 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,” research associate Nicole Avena said.

Yes, they’re studying rats, not humans. Yes, the rats were wrong about saccharine. Yes, there are competing studies showing that high fructose corn syrup is hunky-doory. Let’s not forget, though, that many of those studies were financed by the high-fructose dependent soft drink industry.

That’s the same industry that’s quietly backing away from high-fructose corn syrup. Other brands, from ketchup to crackers, are slinking off, too. They just can’t figure out how to trumpet that without marginalizing their other lines.

Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer dollars continue to subsidize corn production and not all of that’s being turned into ethanol. And just watch the corn-producing states go nuts if someone dares to redirect part of that money to fruits and vegetables – things that might actually be healthy.

No, the case isn’t closed yet on high-fructose corn syrup. By this time tomorrow, someone from the corn industry will again be pointing out that it’s a “natural” substance. As natural, at least, as anything is that uses caustic soda in the production process.

But why not err on the side of caution, just the lab rats are right this time.

Eat real food.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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