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Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Maybe you should. But let’s not rush to judgment. We’ll briefly examine the facts about this very common ingredient in many foods.

An article from the Mayo Clinic points out that consumers should at least know how this common sweetener and preservative is created. High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose, which is actually another form of sugar. The end product is a combination of fructose and glucose. Because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar, high-fructose corn syrup has become a popular ingredient in many sodas, fruit-flavored drinks and other processed foods.

Research has produced conflicting results about the effects of high-fructose corn syrup. For example, various early studies showed an association between increased consumption of sweetened beverages (many of which contained high-fructose corn syrup) and obesity. But recent research – some of which is supported by the beverage industry – suggests that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t necessarily less healthy than other sweeteners, nor is it the root cause of obesity. But again, this conclusion is highly subjective at this point.

While research continues, moderation remains important. Many beverages and other processed foods made with high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity. This, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

If you’re concerned about the amount of high-fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners in your diet, consider these tips:

* Limit processed foods.
* Avoid foods that contain added sugar.
* Choose fresh fruit rather than fruit juice or fruit-flavored drinks. Even 100 percent fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar.
* Choose fruit canned in its own juices instead of heavy syrup.
* Drink less soda.
* Don’t allow sweetened beverages to replace milk, especially for children.

What are your thoughts about high-fructose corn syrup? Food Facts would like to hear from you on this subject.

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