High fructose corn syrup causes more fatness than table sugar, says a new study from Princeton University.
Given the wide usage of HFCS in a variety of processed foods, sodas and drinks, the sweetener could possibly be blamed for the obesity epidemic that the nation is currently facing.
According to the researchers at Princeton, HFCS is rather easy to digest as compared to sugar. So we tend to spend more energy while digesting sugar and lesser energy is required for digesting HFCS.
HFCS made rats fat
The study, appearing in the latest issue of the journal ‘Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior’ involved male rats for the research. It was found that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup in the animals was more likely to cause weight gain than the consumption of sugar, even when the calories in both were the same.
“The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose,” said the researchers.
The results have not been received well by some food experts and industry veterans, as they believe that the study is unfair in blaming corn syrup for the nation’s obesity problem, and completely sparing cane sugar
“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.”
However, the study results contradict the claims of the Corn Refiners Association, according to whom HFCS is no different from sugar.
The results have also not been received well by some food experts and industry veterans, as they believe that the study is unfair in blaming corn syrup for the nation’s obesity problem, and completely sparing cane sugar.
Elizabeth Abbott, author of the forthcoming ‘Sugar: A Bittersweet History’, says, “The debate about which one is better for you is a false debate, because neither of them is good for you.”
The Princeton researchers however argue that they did not set out to find how sugar is affecting us but intended to discover what the widely used high-fructose corn syrup can do to the body.
"As far as we're aware, this is the first long-term study of high-fructose corn syrup in animals,” said researcher Miriam Bocarsly. “That's important, because you don't eat high-fructose corn syrup once; you eat it every day, probably since you were a child. But you don't see too many studies with humans because you can't keep someone in the lab for 10 years and make them eat high fructose corn syrup."