Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Proof Is In The Pudding And The Soda

I, and many others beside, have been saying for years that the so-called "obesity epidemic" and the fattening of America could be lain at the feet of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Manufacturers have poo-pooed the idea that this was true, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. Well, now comes some serious evidence from researchers at Princeton University that shines a light on the HFCS conundrum and it doesn't bode well for the supporters of HFCS.
From Princeton
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "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."
Vindication feels good. Now, perhaps, the manufacturers will pay heed and start to remove this unnecessary sweetener from their products and replace it with sugar, (preferably cane sugar). Those manufacturers who have already done that have met with no small amount of success. PepsiCo's "Throwback" lineup has been a rousing success. Premium sodas made with sugar are selling like gangbusters, where they're available. There is a serious market there and people are more than willing to forgo HFCS for sugar.
If we can get the government to drop import restrictions and their price support and subsidy system we'll not only be healthier, we'll have access to tastier snack foods. What we don't want, or need it the government poking their super-sized proboscis into things. The market, backed by science is capable of making the right choice. Let's hope this latest science spurs a move away from HFCS, (which doesn't taste that good) to old fashioned sugar as the sweetener of choice.