New Study: High-Fructose Corn Syrup May Be Worse for You Than Sugar

Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
February 1, 2012
New Study: High-Fructose Corn Syrup May Be Worse for You Than Sugar
New Study: High-Fructose Corn Syrup May Be Worse for You Than Sugar

The debate over whether high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is really worse for you than sugar is always popular and heated. Full disclosure: based on the available research, I usually land on the side that says there really is no difference. A sugar is a sugar is a sugar. Metabolic studies have shown that our bodies break down and use HFCS and sugar (sucrose) the same way.

Related: What's So Bad About High-Fructose Corn Syrup?
6 Surprising Sources of Sugar

But then I saw this new study-published online recently in the journal Metabolism-that suggests for the first time that there is a (slight) difference in the way the body processes HFCS and sugar.

Why does it matter? Fructose is metabolized by the body differently compared to glucose and other sugars-and thus may pose a greater health risk by affecting your appetite and your heart health.

Related: The Scoop on Splenda, Stevia & More Sugar Substitutes
6 Foods That Sound Healthy But Aren't

In the study, researchers gave 40 men and women one of two drinks on their first visit: 24 ounces of Dr. Pepper sweetened with either HFCS or cane sugar (sucrose). Then they assessed whether the body absorbed more fructose from one sweetener than the other. On their second visit, study participants drank the opposite of what they received on their first visit.

Here's what the researchers found: after participants drank the HFCS-sweetened Dr. Pepper, their fructose blood levels were higher than when they drank the sugar-sweetened Dr. Pepper. But HFCS contains a higher percentage of fructose than sugar does (55 percent fructose compared to 50 percent in sugar)-and when the researchers took that into account the difference was no longer statistically significant.

So what does this mean for your sugar choices? I think it's still too early to draw conclusions. The study authors wrote: "To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that HFCS is more likely to cause acute adverse effects than sucrose." But this other quote from them is interesting food for thought and should be explored through further research: "Although the treatment effects…were small, the effects may increase with continued, chronic exposure to these sweeteners."

Don't Miss: Ditch These 4 Foods to Clean Up Your Diet

Do you avoid high-fructose corn syrup?

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.

Brierley Wright
Brierley Wright

Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as nutrition editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.



Related Links from EatingWell:

What to Read Next

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 3.25% (3.405% APR) 30 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Single and over 45?

There are thousands of singles online now! Find your next date here. Click to browse profiles and pics for free!

Find Your High School Friends

View photos, profiles and see where everyone is now. Check out yearbooks and remember the good times!

Want to Start Dating?

Hey! Are you a part of the 1 in 3 Americans that are single? This Dating site is completely free to check it out! Give it a try!

Yeezy Boost Limited Sale,Do Not Miss It!

Yeezy boost 350 - Buy Now You Can Save 70% Off And Enjoy Free Shipping & Free Returns!

Join Disney Movie Club Today

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!