Corn sweetener directly linked to obesity

Results from a study of U.S. Department of Agriculture records from 1967 to 2000 indicate an increase in the use of high-fructose corn sweeteners during the late 1970s and 1980s that coincided precisely with a rise in the epidemic of obesity in the United States.

Results from a study of U.S. Department of Agriculture records from 1967 to 2000 indicate an increase in the use of high-fructose corn sweeteners during the late 1970s and 1980s that coincided precisely with a rise in the epidemic of obesity in the United States.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Researchers have found stronger evidence linking a rapid rise in obesity to the use of corn-based sweeteners in soft drinks and food.

Results from a study of U.S. Department of Agriculture records from 1967 to 2000 indicate an increase in the use of high-fructose corn sweeteners during the late 1970s and 1980s that coincided precisely with a rise in the epidemic of obesity in the United States. Until the late 1980s, Americans’ body weights had risen slowly throughout the 20th century.

However, the results from the study, published in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are observational and do not prove a definitive link.

The real issue at hand is how the body processes sugars. Unlike the glucose found in table sugar, fructose does not cause a hormonal response that regulates the body’s energy use and appetite. The result is that the body is more likely to convert fructose into fat.

Additionally, corn sweeteners are generally less expensive to produce than cane and beet sugars, making them more appealing for manufacturers who always want to keep costs down, often at the expense of consumers’ health and nutrition.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 6, December 2005/January 2006.

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