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Sugar = corn syrup? UC Davis to weigh in

Consumers are confused about their sweeteners. Media have reported that high fructose corn syrup is no different from cane sugar, and they have publicized studies that show the corn-based sweetener is more harmful to good health than sweetener extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets. Connecttristates.com tried to sort out the facts:

  • Both sweeteners are made up of roughly equal amounts of glucose and fructose. (New York University nutrition professor quoted in the New York Times.)

  • Chemically speaking, high fructose corn syrup is just sugar with an image problem. (From a CBS News report.)

  • A 2004 paper suggested a link between soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to the obesity epidemic. (No citation.)

  • The authors of above-mentioned paper "didn't have one shred of evidence to back up their theory. They eventually recanted and they realized that HFCS and sugar are virtually the same thing. (Michael Jacobson, Center for Science in the Public Interest.)

  • The addition of high fructose corn syrup into research subjects' diets increases the severity of liver disease...particularly the degree of liver scarring or fibrosis. (Manal Abdelmalek, Duke University Medical Center.)

  • It's fructose that we're worried about. There's too much of it in our diet so we ought to be eating less of sugars generally. (Marian Nestle, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University.)

The column said scientists at UC Davis are conducting a long-term study to understand whether human bodies metabolize high fructose corn syrup differently than table sugar. Results are expected by the end of this summer

In the meantime, the writer says, overuse of either high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar is not a healthy practice.

Sweetened with corn syrup.
Sweetened with corn syrup.

Posted on Friday, May 7, 2010 at 10:50 AM

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