High-fructose (HFCS) has been linked to the obesity crisis in the United States and unfortunately has become a staple in American diets. HFCS is metabolized just like the fructose that you get from fruit, but with some very significant differences. Fruit is loaded with nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which is very important to digestion and metabolism.
The common American soda , sweetened with HFCS, has zero nutritional value other than calories. And a soda that is sweetened with 100 percent HFCS delivers far more fructose than a piece of fruit: A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 33 grams of fructose while a small glass of orange juice has around 4 grams of fructose and many other valuable nutrients.
In the 1970′s due to tariffs imposed on imported sugar and other factors, sugar prices soared, and food technologists found a way to make a cheaper sweetener by chemically transforming corn into High Fructose Corn Syrup. When HFCS was first introduced, few scientists questioned the effects that this sweetener would have on the American population. It was touted as the all natural cheap substitute for sugar. Instead of importing sugar we could use American grown corn. This caused a dramatic decrease in the price of sweetener.
The most immediate effect this cheap source of sweetener had was on the soft drink industry. The availability of a low-priced sweetener allowed the soft drink companies to almost give away soft drinks. This translated to huge profit margins for fast-food restaurants and movie theaters. For pennies, these fast food restaurants could super-size your soda order. This kind of marketing brought increased traffic to the establishments while at the same time increasing substantially the American caloric intake.
HFCS is not only in soft drinks. It is in candy, popsicles, pancake syrup, fruit-flavored yogurt, sweetened cereals, some pasta sauces, and apple juice. Their is an enormous amount of HFCS in the American diet. Because of this scientist are becoming increasingly concerned due to the adverse effects that fructose has on the human metabolism. Scientific studies are beginning to point to a strong corelation between HFCS consumption and a plethora of adverse health conditions.
Some evidence suggests that fructose causes weight gain and fat storage. Fructose metabolizes into fat in the liver, rather than absorbed and processed into glucose the way that table sugar or other carbohydrates are. Additionally, because fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin production you may still feel hungry even after consuming hundreds of calories from a soda.
A recent Princeton study has shown that 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. For example look at the chart below that shows the trend in childhood obesity since 1970′s when HFCS was introduced.