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You Ask, I Answer: High Fructose Corn Syrup & Weight Loss

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:44pm
For the past three months, I stopped eating any food that contains high fructose corn syrup. The only kind of sugar I eat is is in the form of cane juice. Sounds healthy, except that I've actually gained eight pounds. What am I doing wrong?

-- Anonymous (per the writer's request)
Providence, RI

I can tell you exactly what you're doing wrong -- trying to make a connection between weight loss and the type of sugar you eat. That's like trying to figure out why your headache won't go away no matter how many shots of Pepto Bismol you take.

Although natural sugar is a healthier choice than artificial high fructose corn syrup (as I explained in issue two of the Small Bites newsletter, high fructose corn syrup is metabolized differently than sugar by our bodies), weight loss is ultimately about calories in versus calories out.

Sugar -- whether it's brown, white, or in the form of raw honey -- clocks in at 4 calories per gram. In other words, a slice of apple pie containing 30 grams of sugar will contribute 120 calories from this source of sweetness, be it granulated sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

It's very likely that your caloric intake has increased since taking away HFCS from your diet. Perhaps you felt like you could eat more freely as long as all your food was natural? Remember, if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, whether you're eating homemade organic chocolate chip cookies or Chips Ahoy! from a vending machine.
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