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How does high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contribute to obesity?

Alan Gaby
Nutrition & Dietetics

The main reason that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contributes to obesity is that it is high in calories. However, research has shown that part of the obesity-promoting effect of HFCS is unrelated to its caloric content. Rats that were given HFCS in their drinking water gained more weight than did rats given sucrose in their drinking water, even though they consumed the same number of total calories, and consumed fewer calories from HFCS than from sucrose (Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2010; 97:101-106). Much of the weight gain was concentrated in the abdomen, the type of weight gain that is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

One of the ways in which HFCS may promote the development of obesity is by interfering with normal energy metabolism. More information about the adverse effects of HFCS is presented in my textbook, Nutritional Medicine (www.doctorgaby.com).

Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

HFCS is an added sugar, and research studies have shown that added sugars, such as HFCS, found in sodas and other processed foods, increase inflammation that leads to weight gain. Swap out your HFCS with naturally occurring sugars such as fruits and low fat dairy products. Your waist will thank you!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.