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Controversial Study Connects Obesity to High Fructose Corn Syrup

Susan Farley
Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004   [ Request Print ]

A study published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the increase in the use of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener in the late 1970s and 1980s coincided with the obesity epidemic, although researchers note that their findings do not prove a definitive link.The concern over high fructose corn syrup stems from the way the body processes the sugar. Whereas glucose?a major component of table sugar?causes hormones to regulate energy use and appetite, fructose does not. According to the researchers, fructose is more likely to be converted to fat. Opponents of the study claim that the results are inconclusive because the study was performed on animals.

The report also notes that Americans older than age 2 consume more than 132 calories a day from corn sweeteners. Researcher Barry M. Popkin, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has said,"We cannot increase our physical activity enough to offset the extra 200 calories a day."

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