Sugar vs. Corn Syrup: Which Is Making You Fat?


woman's feet on a scaleYou know what really galls me? When I go to pick up an item at the grocery store that looks downright delish, turn it around to look at the ingredients, and lo and behold -- there it is, that bugger! Whether it's labeled as high fructose corn syrup, just corn syrup, or some other suspicious moniker, I figure it's all the same -- none of it belongs in my body. Unless I totally want to sabotage my effort to steer clear of obesity.

Funny enough, the sugar industry and I are on the same page. They're currently in court with corn syrup makers, taking them to task for asserting that their product is "nutritionally the same" as sugar. There's plenty of research to prove that untrue.


Science has shown that HFCS, unlike regular ol' sugar, actually boosts our fat-storing hormones. Awesome. In a University of Florida study, HFCS directly caused leptin resistance in rats. Additional research found that fructose doesn't suppress hunger hormone ghrelin levels the way table sugar does. What's more, as Jillian Michaels writes in her book, Master Your Metabolism, HFCS also increases trigylcerides, and high trigylcerides prevent leptin from working in the brain, so it can't tell you to stop overeating. Gah!

Now, consider that the average consumption of refined sugar has dwindled in the past 40 years, but our consumption of HFCS has shot up almost twenty-fold. Definitely seems to match up with the sugar industry holds that obesity and diabetes are linked to HFCS's popularity.

All of this said, it's crazy to think that the sugar folks aren't going to completely whip the corn syrup guys in court. They're entitled to keep making their product, sure, but selling it to the public as the same thing as sugar? No way -- from what I can tell, that just doesn't pass muster.

Are you okay with consuming HFCS? Do you believe it has a different effect on the body than sugar?

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