Corn Syrup And Obesity Not Linked?
September 19, 2012

No Direct Evidence Linking Corn Syrup And Obesity: Rippe Lifestyle Institute

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

Over the last few years, the waistlines of individuals in the United States have expanded dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the burgeoning belly has been linked to an increase in obesity in the U.S. in the past twenty years. The agency found that over one-third of adults in the U.S. (35.7 percent) and around 12.5 million of children (17 percent) are considered obese. As a result, health experts have tried to tackle the issue and have explored ways to prevent this surging epidemic. While some tout increased physical activity and exercise as a possible solution, others have targeted the salty and sugary foods that have plagued the market. In the midst of this controversial debate, researchers from the Rippe Lifestyle Institute in Florida recently discovered there is no evidence that specifically connects the consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to the current obesity issue in the United States.

In particular, the commentary is featured in the International Journal of Obesity and includes a review of all available research on HFCS. The researchers found that HFCS is not a “unique cause of obesity.” They also note that the results correlate to opinions provided by the American Medical Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"The public discussion about HFCS will likely continue to rage on and more studies will be conducted," explained study author Dr. James M. Rippe, the founder and director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute as well as professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, in a prepared statement. "However, at this point there is simply no evidence to suggest that the use of HFCS alone is directly responsible for increased obesity rates or other health concerns."

The authors of the study highlight the debate on HFCS in the media, but find that HFCS is “nutritionally equivalent to sugar.”

"Sucrose (sugar) and HFCS are very similar in composition...and are absorbed identically in the human GI tract,” wrote the authors in a statement.

The article also includes a discussion on the various trials that have been completed on HFCS and obesity. The researchers believe that there is no available evidence currently that would show that there are short-term health differences for humans in terms of consuming sugar or HFCS. As well, insulin, appetite, glucose levels and weight gain were not negatively impacted when individuals consumed HFCS instead of sugar.

The study from the Rippe Lifestyle Institute follows a study in August by the organization on the consumption of sugar and corn syrup. Researchers discovered that individuals on a reduced calorie diet could consume sugar and corn syrup and still lose weight. A group of 247 overweight or obese individuals between the ages of 25 and 60 participated in the randomized, double blind trial with a reduced calorie diet. The Rippe Lifestyle Institute has conducted a number of studies related to nutrition and weight management, with much of the research supported through educational grants from the Corn Refiners Association.

According to the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, HFCS was developed in the mid-1960s as a better alternative to sugar and has been used in many products by the food industry. In particular, there was a growth in the use of HFCS between 1970 to 1999. Following 1999, there has been a drop in the use of HFCS.