Does high fructose corn syrup makes you fatter than sugar?  A new study reveals the the truth so you can decide! 

A “Corny” Lie?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last year or two, you’ve obviously heard about the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) controversy. In an effort to “clean up” the poor understanding of HFCS, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has spent millions of dollars on massive public media campaigns to try and turn your mind around about HFCS.

In fact, they have tried to rename HCFS “corn sugar” to demystify the damage HFCS can cause. In addition, the TV commercials try to convince you that HFCS is “no worse than sugar,” and even try to imply that it is somehow “natural” with this phrase:

“It’s made from corn, has no artificial ingredients, has the same calories as sugar and is okay to eat in moderation.”

Is that so?  Saying HFCS has no artificial ingredients is a downright lie! HFCS is refined and processed with chemicals! Watch the entertaining documentary King Corn and you’ll see the NASTY chemicals involved in refining HFCS!

Oh, let’s not forget to mention that HFCS is made from genetically modified corn – not very natural, if you ask me!

In response to this CRA propaganda campaign to revamp the image of HFCS, Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated:

High fructose corn syrup starts out as cornstarch, which is chemically or enzymatically degraded to glucose and some short polymers of glucose. Another enzyme is then used to convert varying fractions of glucose into fructose… High fructose corn syrup just doesn’t exist in nature.”

Is HFCS worse for you than sugar?

My sister and I have had this debate.  She seems to think a little of high fructose corn syrup in popsicles, Nutrigran bars, soda pop and other “small” food items aren’t going to hurt her kids. Eating cookies and cake after dinner for dessert isn’t going to make a big deal either, she claims. But, in terms of their health and body composition, HFCS and sugar are BOTH pure evil!  Over time, the consistent consumption of HFCS and sugar can lead to:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Other major health problems, including –
    • Premature aging
    • A bulging belly!

Therefore, I avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup at all costs. But, I do give myself a little leniency with sugar.  I try to minimize sugar (I do love a good berry pie!), but I don’t avoid it like I avoid HFCS.  Have I mentioned that I haven’t had a soda pop since I was a teenager and a freshman in high school… not one!

The 2 ingredients I try to almost always avoid at all costs are HFCS and trans fats.  These are easily two of the MOST evil food additives that cause the most bodily damage to your health. When it comes to temptation, it is easy to say no when you understand the biochemical reaction from HFCS and trans fats cause internally in your body.

It is a little tricky when I am at a restaurant and would like to use their ketchup, which has minor amounts of HFCS.  At home, I use organic ketchup with no HFCS. But other than ketchup at a restaurant, I stay away from anything and everything with HFCS in it, including store-bought salad dressings which are often laced with high amounts of HFCS.  Instead, I make my own healthy lean-body salad dressings at home.

Why do I avoid HFCS like the plague – more than sugar? There is just far too much scientific evidence that proves your body DOES process HFCS differently than sugar… despite the propaganda that the Corn Refiners Association is trying to shove down your throat with their ads.

New Princeton Study reveals that HFCS can stimulate more weight gain than sugar

Thank goodness for the leading minds at Princeton to give us some good evidence that HFCS can make you fatter than sugar! I’m no lab rat… and I can avoid becoming like one!

In a 2010 Princeton University study, researchers found that rats given water sweetened with HFCS gained significantly more weight than those given water sweetened with plain sugar, despite calorie intake being the same between both groups. Princeton researchers also state:

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides“.

And CRA claims HFCS is “no worse than sugar???”  Well, let’s get past the sugar-coated propaganda, and hear what an actual researcher has to say.

According to professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction…

“Some people have claimed that high fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests.  When rats are drinking high fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”

Princeton researchers also noted that the HFCS groups gained significant amounts of visceral fat around the belly.  As you might know, visceral abdominal fat is more deadly than subcutaneous fat, which leads to inflammation in many of your systems.

Let me explain one reason why consuming HFCS causes more weight gain than sugar.  For one, HFCS doesn’t trigger a leptin response in the body.  In plain English, this means that it won’t signal the body to decrease appetite despite those HFCS calories that were consumed.

Another reason that HFCS affects our bodies differently is this… according to Princeton researchers, although HFCS only has 10% more fructose than table sugar (55% fructose content vs 50% fructose content in sugar), the fructose in HFCS is more sinister… According to Princeton,

As a result of the manufacturing process for high fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for fast absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.”

Aha… very interesting!

The Lie About High Fructose Corn Syrup

The evidence is tantamount.  I hope you make all the effort possible to avoid HFCS in your daily diet. This doesn’t give you free reign to eat all the sugar you want (obviously). But, scientific evidence clearly show that HFCS is worse for you than sugar.  Now you also know that HFCS contributes to more abdominal fat – so why in the world would ever want to drink another soda pop again?!

You have been lied to.  The Corn Refiners Association has used deceptive advertising to lead you to believe that  “HFCS is no worse for you than sugar.

Now you know the truth.

Please share this article with your friends and family to help them avoid the dangers of HFCS.


by Mike Geary – Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-selling program:  The Truth about Six-Pack Abs


Further Related Reading: