Many doctors and nutritionist have demonized high fructose corn syrup in recent years. Then, The Corn Refiners Association put together a savvy marketing campaign telling us it’s no different than table sugar.
What are we to believe?
Recently, scientists have used imaging tests to show for the first time that fructose, a sugar that saturates the American diet, can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating. After you drink a fructose beverage, the brain doesn’t register the feeling of being full as it does when simple glucose is consumed, researchers found.
It’s a small study and does not prove that fructose or its relative, high-fructose corn syrup, can cause obesity, but experts say it adds evidence they may play a role. These sugars often are added to processed foods and beverages, and consumption has risen dramatically since the 1970s along with obesity. A third of U.S. children and teens and more than two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight.
All sugars are not equal — even though they contain the same amount of calories — because they are metabolized differently in the body. Table sugar is sucrose, which is half fructose, half glucose. High-fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Some nutrition experts say this sweetener may pose special risks, but others and the industry reject that claim. And doctors say we eat too much sugar in all forms. For the study, scientists used magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans to track blood flow in the brain in 20 young, normal-weight people before and after they had drinks containing glucose or fructose in two sessions several weeks apart.
Scans showed that drinking glucose “turns off or suppresses the activity of areas of the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food,” said one study leader, Yale University endocrinologist Robert Sherwin. With fructose, “we don’t see those changes,” he said. “As a result, the desire to eat continues — it isn’t turned off.”
Reducing and eventually eliminating your consumption of hfcs is important in maintaining a healthy weight. Keep in mind that all of the ingredients that we have explored this week are equally important for our children to avoid. In fact, children’s bodies are smaller and less able to metabolize many of these substances in the same way that adults can. So, our best option is to remove these junk ingredients from our homes and we will all be healthier for it!