High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly-processed chemical sweetener used in many processed foods, including breads, cookies, candy, condiments, and soft drinks. HFCS extends the shelf life of products, and it is often cheaper than sugar, which are the main reasons why manufacturers like it.
There has been much research over the last year into the effects that HFCS has on our body. Scientific research has already revealed a potential link between HFCS and the rise in autism. Now, a new study identifies that a connection may also exist between the use of HFCS in our foods and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.
Research conducted by Michael I. Goran, a professor of preventive medicine and director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California, and colleagues from the University of Oxford, evaluated published information in 43 countries to examine associations between the types of food products available in each country and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.
Goran et al. found that Type 2 diabetes occurrence was 20% higher in countries where HFCS-laden foods were more commonly available, when compared to counties where HFCS is usually not used in the food supply.
The study adds to a growing body of scientific literature that indicates HFCS consumption may result in negative health consequences distinct from and more deleterious than natural sugar. – Dr. Michael I. Goran (source: Huffington Post)
Even before the finding of the study were revealed, the US Corn Refiners Association(CRA), comprised of representatives of the six leading international HFCS producers, published a press release criticizing Goran’s research.
Dr. Goran’s newest attack on HFCS fails to account for widespread agreement among scientists and medical doctors that HFCS and sucrose (table sugar) are nutritionally equivalent.
‘Dr. Goran commits the most fundamental of research errors: Just because an ingredient is available in a nation’s diet does not mean it is uniquely the cause of a disease.’ – Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association (Source: PRNewwire.com)
It is only natural for a company that makes HFCS to rebut any research that weakens the legitimacy of their product. Goran defended his controversial study in a statement to the New York Times:
‘We’re not saying that high-fructose corn syrup causes diabetes or that it is the only factor or even the only dietary factor with a relation to diabetes.’ … ‘But it does support a growing body of evidence linking high-fructose corn syrup and diabetes.’ Dr. Michael I. Goran (source: New York Times)
Although the CRA claims that the medical and scientific establishments believe that HFCS and table sugar are the same, research conducted by Princeton University in 2010 does not confirm this claim.
‘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.’ ‘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.’ – Bart Hoebel, psychology professor at Princeton University (source: Princeton.edu)
Goran’s research evaluated the amounts of HFCS consumed in 42 different countries, and the US was the highest-consuming country, with an average annual consumption of 55 pounds of HFCS per person. Other countries with high HFCS consumption included Canada and Mexico. Countries where average annual per-person HFCS consumption was less than 0.5 kilograms were India, Slovenia, Ireland, Sweden, Austria and Denmark.
Ian Wrightman is a health and nutritional enthusiast and staff writer for WakingTimes.com.