Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New research on HFCS

Researchers at Princeton have released the findings of their studies on the effect of High Fructose Corn Syrup on lab animals and it's not pretty. In studies published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, they show that male rats gained much more weight when fed water sweetened with HFCS compared to rats fed water sweetened with sugar (sucrose). They also performed the first long-term study of the effects of HCFS on rats and found increased weight gain and fat deposits as well as increases in circulating triglycerides, which in humans are risk factors for diseases including coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

This info is sure to add to the already existing debate on the pros and cons of HFCS, which seems to be omnipresent in our foods. Over at The Kitchn there is a summary of the study as well as some interesting HFCS links, although I take exception with the title of their post - I don't think you can say that scientists have "proved" the risks of HFCS with this study, although it certainly does support the theory that HFCS is worse for you than sugar.

This study also doesn't address what I see as a separate but equally valid criticism of HFCS - that is is a highly processed and inefficiently produced food that is only popular because government corn subsidies have made it a cheap alternative to sugar. Basically, our tax dollars are going to companies that produce this stuff.

On a bright note, it's that special time of year when you can get wonderful, HFCS-free Passover Coke! For those who observe Passover, HFCS or any corn products can not be eaten during this time. So, Coke and other soda companies make sodas sweetened with sucrose - cane sugar - for passover. Look for a yellow cap on plastic bottles of Coke and the "OU-P" symbol that means it's kosher for passover.

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