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PostPosted: 17 Sep 2010, 12:41 
Grand Poobah
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a report from Princeton says yes, it seems (no matter what that group posted about before says).

A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain
Posted March 22, 2010; 10:00 a.m.

by Hilary Parker

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

A Princeton University research team, including (from left) undergraduate Elyse Powell, psychology professor Bart Hoebel, visiting research associate Nicole Avena and graduate student Miriam Bocarsly, has demonstrated that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup -- a sweetener found in many popular sodas -- gain significantly more weight than those with access to water sweetened with table sugar, even when they consume the same number of calories. The work may have important implications for understanding obesity trends in the United States. (Photo: Denise Applewhite) Photos for news media
In results published online Feb. 26 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.

"These rats aren't just getting fat; they're demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides," said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. "In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes." In addition to Hoebel and Bocarsly, the research team included Princeton undergraduate Elyse Powell and visiting research associate Nicole Avena, who was affiliated with Rockefeller University during the study and is now on the faculty at the University of Florida. The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.

When male rats were given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow, the animals gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, along with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas, including the orange soft drink shown here. (Photo: Denise Applewhite)
High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.

This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. 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.

In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

"Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic," Avena said.

The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.

In the future, the team intends to explore how the animals respond to the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in conjunction with a high-fat diet -- the equivalent of a typical fast-food meal containing a hamburger, fries and soda -- and whether excessive high-fructose corn syrup consumption contributes to the diseases associated with obesity. Another step will be to study how fructose affects brain function in the control of appetite.

The research was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

hmmmm... could this be why 'they' are lobbying to have HFSC renamed 'corn sugar'? ... ply_c.html

Is that right? HFCS is simply 'corn sugar'?
Just when we'd got used to getting our mouths around the highly syllabic term "high fructose corn syrup," the people who make the sweet stuff want to make life simpler for all of us by renaming HFCS "corn sugar."

In light of a constant barrage of criticism of HFCS, a sweetener (that also performs other functions in processed foods) found in everything from baked goods to popsicles, crackers and even some yogurts, the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the FDA to change the ingredient's name.

You'd think the nutrition world would be in an uproar, accusing the CRA of trying to pull a fast one.

But in fact the response has been positive, with nutrition experts, including the outspoken Marion Nestle, agreeing that calling HFCS what it is -- a sugar, just like the cane and beet sugars we more readily accept on ingredient labels -- is a good idea.

Calling HFCS "corn sugar" makes it easier for us muddle-headed consumers to lump the ingredient in with all the others that constitute "added sugars," which are what we really should be keeping track of. HFCS, which most experts concur is handled by the body just as any other sugar is, had turned into a distracting bugaboo in recent years.

But we muddle-headed consumers aren't off the hook. It is our job to check labels and watch how much added sugar we put in our mouths. And it is our job to make sure it's not too much. Here's a little mantra of mine: If a food tastes sweet, and it's not a fruit, then it should be regarded as a treat and enjoyed in moderation (if at all).

Lest you think I'm a finger-wagger, let me confess that until recently, mine was the sweetest tooth in the land. I could tell you horror stories involving entire bags of candy corn, inhaled in a sitting. I have even been known to eat marshmallows straight from the bag, so dire was my craving for sugar. But now I eat hardy any sweets at all -- and I don't miss them. Better yet, I've finally discovered that there's nothing more satisfyingly sweet than, say, a mango. Or a banana. Or a really terrific apple.

I can say with authority that it's possible to wean yourself from sweets. So, sure, we can give the CRA a win by allowing "corn sugar." That doesn't mean we have to eat so much of the stuff.

Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!

PostPosted: 06 Nov 2010, 23:59 
Grand Poobah
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Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Study Of Corn Sweetener In Soda Stirs Up Controversy ... ontroversy
The makers of high fructose corn syrup have found themselves on the defensive — again.

Dieter Spears/
Sodas sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup may have more fructose then advertised.
Researchers at the University of Southern California have documented that samples of Pepsi and Coca-Cola sweetened with the stuff are delivering what they describe as "megadoses" of fructose. Their analysis shows the products contain about 20 percent more fructose than consumers have been led to believe.

And why is this a problem? If this study can be replicated, the industry may need to re-think its "corn-syrup-is-the-same-as-table-sugar" talking point.

You see, the corn syrup makers have always argued that their product is just like table sugar— a combination of fructose and glucose. That's why they recently asked FDA if they could change their name to corn sugar.

But fructose is the sweeter of the two sugars — and may be more conducive to weight gain, some studies show. So more fructose in these tested products might indicate differences.

Fair to say the study, published appropriately in the journal Obesity, is prompting a lot of discussion.

But so far, experts are skeptical.

"The methodology is problematic," Elizabeth Parks of UT Southwestern told Shots in an email.

She says it's not just this study—but the struggle for all researchers is that it's difficult to get exact measurements of sugars.

Parks notes that HFCS comes in many varieties with different proportions of glucose and fructose.

We also put the question of how significant the study is to Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina. "We have no real indication that the science of just a small amount [of] more fructose matters," Popkin says.

A group that's often quick to blow the whistle when it sees food industry high jinks —The Center for Science in the Public Interest — also issued a press release urging caution. "Because the new analysis seems so improbable, confirmatory studies using the best analytical method need to be done before the alarm bells ring too loudly," says CSPI President Michael Jacobson.

Naturally, the industry jumped to its own defense and says the study is flawed. "Fructose is commonly found in many fruits and vegetables," says Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association. "And consumers should know that fructose is safe."

Controversy aside, the important message here is that our love affair with ALL kinds of sugar is problematic. The more empty calories we consume, the more our collective waistlines expand.

So next time you go to grab a Starbucks muffin that boasts it's made without HFCS, remember the real boogeyman here is likely the calories — not the percentage of fructose inside.

Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!

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