A new study published this month at the website for Nutritional Journal questions recent research on high fructose corn syrup and says that its data shows no special link between high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, and obesity. There's just one itty bitty thing you might want to know before you read it, though--this study was funded by the Corn Refiners Association.
For the study researchers put 247 overweight or obese adult volunteers on 1 of 5 hypocaloric meal plans. Each individual was given a specific caloric goal to shoot for and encouraged to aim for a caloric deficit of 500 calories. Then 4 of the groups were also given sweetened 1% milk to figure into their equations. One group consumed 10% of its total calories from high fructose corn syrup while a second group consumed 20% of its calories from the stuff. The third and fourth groups used sucrose instead of high fructose corn syrup.
What the researchers found at the end of 12 weeks is that the folks who took in even 20% of the daily calories in the form of high fructose corn syrup all lost weight and all ended up with healthier cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
These results seem to fly in the face of other research which has long blamed added sugars for America's obesity problem. And some people have even gone so far as to suggest that because of the way high fructose corn syrup is produced it's actually used differently by our bodies. A 2004 piece in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition speculated that high fructose corn syrup doesn't activatethe body's natural food response system. To really simplify the theory . . . your body doesn't get the I've-eaten-so-now-I-feel-satisfied messages that it gets you eat, say, a vegetable or a piece of fruit.
The authors of this study say that that kind of thinking has warped public perception of high fructose corn syrup and caused people to shun what is, ultimately, a healthy source of energy.