Guess Who Funds High Fructose Corn Syrup Studies?
From CBS News with Dr. Mercola
Ads hyping high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have been hitting the airwaves as part of a major marketing campaign from the Corn Refiners Association.
Critics say HFCS contributes to weight gain and tricks your body into wanting to eat more. But the industry says it's just fine, and argues that HFCS is the same as sugar.
To get that message out, the campaign relies on nutritional research. But funding for many of the major studies in question came from companies with a financial stake in the outcome.
Out of the six studies on the Corn Refiners Association's Web site that "Confirm High Fructose Corn Syrup [is] No Different From Sugar," three were sponsored by groups that stand to profit from research that promotes HFCS. Two were never published, so their funding sources are unclear. And one was sponsored by a Dutch foundation that represents the interests of the sugar industry.
Pepsi funded one study. So did a D.C. based lobbying group that gets their money from food, chemical and drug companies. And the American Beverage Association gave a grant for another.
CBS News October 1, 2008
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
It's a widely known fact that when a study is sponsored by a company with financial interests in the outcome, the results rarely do anything but support the industry that funded the study..
In fact, CBS mentions a study by Children's Hospital Boston that found when studies were sponsored exclusively by food or drinks companies, the results were four to eight times more likely to be favorable to the sponsoring company.
So when the Corn Refiners Association claims that their deceptive $20-30 million ad campaign promoting corn syrup is "based on nutritional research," now you know just what type of biased research they are using.
Is Corn Syrup "the Same as Sugar"?
The Corn Refiners Association has launched TV commercials and a Web site that claim corn syrup is no worse for you than sugar. In one ad, a mother pours some type of bright red corn-syrup-rich juice from a plastic jug. In another, a woman feeds her boyfriend a popsicle.
In both ads, characters question the health risks of corn syrup, but neither is able to explain exactly why corn syrup is unhealthy, implying that corn syrup is actually not so bad after all.
To imply that artificial products containing corn syrup are in any way OK for your health is beyond a stretch. So let's set the record straight. If anyone asks YOU why corn syrup is unhealthy, you can tell them:
- HFCS is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (soda), its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.
- Recent research, reported at the 2007 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS may contribute to the development of diabetes because it contains high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown to trigger cell and tissue damage that cause diabetes.
- HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns, such as increasing your risk of developing a food allergy to corn.
You can also let anyone who believes corn syrup is safe to eat know that there are over 35 years of hard empirical evidence that refined man-made fructose like HFCS metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose. The downside of this is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production. (Leptin is a hormone thought to be involved in appetite regulation.)
Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.
Additionally, fructose is also known to significantly raise your triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol). Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts.
Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
How to Cut HFCS Out of Your Diet
If you are eating a healthy diet, a little bit of corn syrup here or there isn't going to cause any catastrophes. However, most people are not eating corn syrup in moderation. In 2007, Americans consumed an average of 56 pounds of HFCS each, according to CBS! A large part of this was undoubtedly from soda, which is the number one source of calories in the United States.
So the first step for many people is to stop drinking soda, and this turbo tapping technique can help you to break free from a soda addiction.
I am HIGHLY confident that giving up soda would result in health improvements FAR more profound than if everyone stopped smoking. This is because drinking soda leads to elevated insulin levels, the foundation of nearly every chronic disease known to man -- cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, arthritis, osteoporosis, you name it, and you will find elevated insulin levels as a primary factor.
Aside from soda, corn syrup is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it completely you need to focus your diet on whole foods. And if you do purchase any processed foods, make sure you read the label... and put it back on the shelf if it lists high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient.
How High Fructose Corn Syrup Damages Your Body
Drinking high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the main ingredient in most soft drinks throughout the world, increases your triglyceride levels and your LDL (bad) cholesterol. These effects only occurred in the study participants who drank fructose -- not glucose.
Consumption of beverages containing fructose rose 135 percent between 1977 and 2001. Food and beverage manufacturers began switching their sweeteners from sucrose (table sugar) to corn syrup in the 1970s when they discovered that HFCS was not only cheaper to make, it was also much sweeter (processed fructose is nearly 20 times sweeter than table sugar), a switch that has drastically altered the American diet.
In 1966, sucrose made up 86 percent of sweeteners. Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used are made from corn.
Medscape July 5, 2007 (Registration Required)
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
In case you forgot, or never knew in the first place, the number one source of calories in the US is high fructose corn syrup. Let me say that in different words so you more fully appreciate the impact of this fact. Remember that fat has 250% more calories than sugar, but even with this major disadvantage, the food that most people get MOST of their calories from is sugar from corn, primarily in the form of soft drinks.
Even though I have known this for years, it is still shocking to me every time I reflect on the enormity of this truth. But, like W. Clement Stone, I believe that there is a nugget of good in this horrible fact. The good is that stopping this pernicious habit is one of the easiest things to do. Since this is such a pervasive problem in the US, we could make radically outrageous improvements in our health as a culture if we just simply stopped everyone from drinking soda.
I am HIGHLY confident that the health improvement would be FAR more profound than if everyone stopped smoking because elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease known to man, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, arthritis, osteoporosis, you name it, and you will find elevated insulin levels as a primary factor.
This evidence of an increase in triglyceride levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels is just the latest among countless findings pointing to the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.
HFCS has also been linked to:
- Metabolic Syndrome
The delusion that fructose is an acceptable form of sugar is quite prevalent in many nutritional circles. In fact, nearly all simple sugars are metabolized quickly and disrupt insulin levels, which contributes to most chronic illness. Eating small amounts of whole fruit will not provide tremendous amounts of fructose and should not be a problem for most people, unless diabetes or obesity is an issue but fruit juices, sodas and other beverages sweetened with fructose should be avoided.
To add insult to injury, the corn that the high fructose corn syrup is metabolized from nearly all comes from genetically modified corn which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.
High fructose corn syrup is is not something that should be in your diet at all. But HFCS is the primary caloric sweetener in U.S. soft drinks. Researchers estimate that most Americans eat 132 calories of HFCS per day, while the top 20 percent of sweetener consumers eat over 300. And some, they say, eat as much as 700 calories per day of HFCS.
Sodas, of course, are not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones). This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.