As if you needed another reason to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS): Researchers at Princeton University have found that HFCS is actually much worse than regular sugar when it comes to causing weight gain.
The study found that rats with access to HFCS gained significantly more weight than rats with access to table sugar -- even when they're caloric intake was the same. A second study by the researchers found that HFCS lead to long-term increases in body fat, obesity and a rise in body fats called triglycerides.
Said Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel, "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."
This new study contradicts earlier beliefs that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar were similar in that they both contained high levels of fructose. Instead, say the Princeton researchers, they now believe that fructose -- in HFCS -- and glucose -- in table syrup, may be processed by the body differently. Fructose is metabolized to produce fat, they believe, while glucose is processed as energy or stored as a carbohydrate in the muscles and liver.
Researchers also pointed out that since high fructose corn syrup was introduced 40 years ago, U.S. obesity rates have skyrocketed. In 1970 15% of the population was considered obese, and today around 1/3 of American adults qualify as obese.
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