High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a common
sweetener found in sodas, candies, fruit flavoured drinks, pre-packaged
foods… in other words, it is found
in virtually all processed foods. Take a few minutes to look at the ingredients labels in your cabinets and fridge.
Although fructose is a naturally occurring sugar
found in fruits and vegetables, it is the refined
forms of fructose used primarily as a food additive that is being discussed.
In fact, the highest source of
fructose and HFCS in the north American diet comes from sodas and other sugary
Although in terms of calories and chemical
structure, sugars are very similar to one another, the body appears to
metabolize fructose very differently than the rest.
In animal models, high fructose diets cause the
development of obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and
Although much controversy and debate still
surround the effects of high fructose intake in humans, given epidemiological
data, it is still best to avoid it for a variety of reasons:
- High fructose corn syrup is
mostly added to products that are processed, refined, pre-packaged, nutrient-poor
products, i.e. junk foods and sodas, the things that we should be avoiding
- Excess sugar intake, in any
form, has undeniable health implications and is associated with increased body
weight, diabetes and other metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.
- Fructose intake is
associated with increased risk of pancreatic and small intestinal cancers, and
Bottom line: reduce your overall consumption of
sugar, processed and refined foods, and increase your intake of healthy whole
foods, fruits and vegetables. Your body will thank you!
Some interesting journal articles:
Res August 1, 2010 70;6368.