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America


WEIGHTY ISSUE Some experts say high-fructose corn syrup is metabolized differently from other sweeteners and more readily stored as fat as a result.


The Obesity Epidemic: Is High- Fructose Corn Syrup to Blame?


O


The ubiquitous, man-made sweetener is linked to a host of health problems. It’s a man-made version of fructose,


BY SYLVIA BOOTH HUBBARD


ne can debate the wis- dom of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s war on larger-size sodas,


but health experts across the politi- cal spectrum agree on this much: Our sweet tooth is killing us. Americans’ consumption of sugar


has been linked to numerous health problems, including the current obesi- ty epidemic. Many experts believe the main malefactor is not real sugar but a particular man-made form of sugar: high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Things got sticky not long after it began flooding our food supply in the decade of 1975 to 1985. “We can trace the obesity epidem-


ic back to the introduction of high- fructose corn syrup,” says nationally recognized cardiologist Dr. Chaunc- ey Crandall. If you drink sweetened colas, or buy processed foods, you can be sure you’re ingesting HFCS.


18 NEWSMAX | AUGUST 2012


A SWEET BAN New York Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and the Health and Human Services’ Linda Gibbs discuss a proposed ban on large sugary drinks.


produced by processing cornstarch. It can be found in many of our food and drinks: sodas, cereals, fruit juice drinks, condiments, crackers, candy, cookies, breads, baby foods, soups, vegetables — just to name a few. Indeed, the average American consumes at least 69 pounds of corn-


based sweeteners every year. That’s more than half the total amount of all sweeteners, including ordinary sugars from sugar cane and sugar beets. Products containing HFCS are


even marketed as a healthy choice. For instance, SunnyD is an orange


drink marketed as being “reverse-engi- neered from the sun” and contain- ing a “boatload of energy.” It contains water, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and 2 percent or less of several fruit juices. It’s mostly flavored sugar water, but there is so much confusion over HFCS that some consumers don’t even realize it’s basically sugar. As the amount of HFCS has increased in our diets, so have our waistlines, along with the health prob- lems including Type 2 diabetes. But is HFCS really to blame? If so, what should be done? Should the govern- ment step in and ban its use? Although there is no doubt among experts that America’s growing sweet


CORN, FARLEY/AP IMAGES / PEDESTRIANS/LANDOV


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