High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), once hailed for its low cost and long shelf life, is under fire for its link to obesity and metabolic disease.
The debate gets murky however because fructose (half of HFCS) is the very same molecule in fruit. Yet no one is blaming a high fruit consumption for our global obesity epidemic.
Rather the problem stems from two areas:
!–More fructose in the food supply as HFCS replaced 50% of all the table sugar since 1970. HFCS poured into soft drinks, sport drinks, pastries and countless processed foods like pizza and catsup.
—Fructose may not satisfy appetite. Key appetite hormones including insulin, leptin and ghrelin respond differently than they do to glucose.
—Fructose may signal the appetite centers in the brain in a different way than glucose does.
—Fructose may change resting energy expenditure, causing weight gain.
Also, a new study found less activity when mice were fed 18% of energy intake—comparable to the average human diet today.
After 77 days of supplementation, the animals fed fructose showed a significant reduction in physical activity compared to the glucose-fed controls. Body weight, liver mass and fat mass were also higher.
Catarina Rendeiro and colleagues from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Illinois reported their findings in a paper titled Fructose decreases physical activity and increases body fat without affecting hippocampal neurogenesis and learning relative to an isocaloric glucose diet published April 2015.
This disturbing news warrants further study. And at the very least, we should be working to oust HFCS from our menus.