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Naturally, Industry-Funded Study Finds That High-Fructose Corn Syrup & Sugar Don't Affect Sateity Differently

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:35pm

The Corn Refiners Association -- a.k.a., the lobbying group that would like high fructose corn syrup to continue to be a major addition to our foods -- and the American Beverage Association (more accurately once named the National Soft Drink Association) are amongst those who funded a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which claims that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sugar affect a person's sense of satiety equally. 

By that they mean that carbonated soft drinks sweetened with HFCS don't affect your hunger or feelings of fullness any differently than drinks sweetened with sugar.

Naturally, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and the American Beverage Association quickly jumped to tumpet their findings. This means, then, they argue, that studies which find that HFCS may be contributing to obesity are incorrect.

If these findings are true, then this is certainly big news because scientists, who've observed a correlation between growing obesity in the United States with increased consumption of HFCS, have been speculating that the refined corn product does not trigger the same feelings of fullness that sugar does.

(Feelings of sateity help the body to regulate its own caloric intake. The theory goes that you drink the HFCS-laden drinks and since you don't feel any fuller, you keep eating so end up taking in too many calories.)

In fact, I talk about this theory about high-fructose corn syrup in my book SUGAR SHOCK! I also discusses the surge in popularity since the 1970s and 1980s of this controversial sweetener.

At this point, although this new study purports to debunk this HFCS-fills-you-up more theory, I find it hard to believe these new findings. I have a number of reasons for being skeptical, including:

  • The conclusions were arrived at from a study, which used a very small sample size of only 37 people.
  • The participants were young -- they were aged 20 to 29. People aged 30 and up were completely ignored, as were those under age 20.
  • Unless I'm misunderstanding, the study seemed to rely on self reporting -- people just said how the drinks affected their feelings of hunger, thirst, and satiety.
  • The researchers didn't look at people over a period of time and see if their soda habit affected their weight. (Other studies have examined thousands of people to see if there's a link between drinking HFCS-containing beverages and gaining weight.)

What's more, the study completely ignored the fact that people often over-consume sugary drinks over a period of time and all this sugar can lead to a host of ailments.

Special thanks to Karen James and Jennifer Moore for their help on this post for the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog

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