Yes, in excess high fructose corn syrup can cause weight gain. But so does too much sucrose (white table sugar) or too much honey, or too much of any other sweetener.
High fructose corn syrup has been singled out as particularly fattening and unhealthy, but so far, nearly all the research shows that it's no more or less harmful than other sweeteners.
There are two important issues here:
- There's a LOT of HFCS in the food supply because it's inexpensive. So, it probably isn't any worse for you than other sweeteners, but we're just consuming a lot more of it, particularly in soft drinks.
- Fructose itself, in excess, is a particularly harmful sweetener. It can raise LDL ("bad cholesterol") and seems to preferentially encourage your body to lay down visceral fat, which is the deep belly fat that contributes to heart disease and diabetes. HFCS is about 55% fructose and 45% glucose. White table sugar is about 50-50 fructose and glucose. So, in excess, either of these sweeteners can load you up with too much fructose.
The bottom line: try to cap your added sugar (sweeteners added to coffee, or mixed in cookie and cake recipes, for example) to no more 10% of total calories. For instance, on an 1800 calorie diet, that's 180 calories of added sugar (which is 45 grams or 11 teaspoons) of sugar daily. Sounds like a lot, but it's really easy to down that amount--a 12-oz. can of soda contains 33 grams.
This 10% limit does not include naturally-occurring sugar in fruit or milk. But still, best to stick to whole fruit as opposed to fruit juice, because there's a lot less sugar in the fruit.
More Answers from Janis Jibrin