Sugar or Syrup: The Obesity Blame Game

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Contrary to what corn syrup producers would tell you, evidence is growing for the argument that sugar may be the less likely sweetener to cause obesity.

Researchers at Princeton University have found that high-fructose corn syrup can lead to significantly greater weight gain than sugar, according to animal studies.

When weight gain was compared between rats fed corn syrup and rats fed an equal number of calories worth of sugar, researchers found that “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.”

The researchers say that animal studies reflect trends in obesity across the U.S., but the Corn Refiners Association, not surprisingly, argues that there’s not enough evidence to prove that high-fructose corn syrup is worse for you than sugar.

Beverage companies are already acting on the assumption that corn syrup is out of favor among some sweet-toothed consumers. PepsiCo (Stock Quote: PEP) and ConAgra Foods (Stock Quote: CAG) for example, are replacing the corn syrup in their products with sugar even though it’s a more expensive ingredient, according to the Des Moines Register.

As a result, some Gatorade and Snapple drinks, Del Monte canned fruit products and even Hunt’s Ketchup will contain sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

For more on the effects of high-fructose corn syrup and questionable ingredients you might find in food, check out MainStreet’s story, Scary Chemicals Found in Food. And vegetarians and vegans beware, some of the foods you may be eating actually do contain animal products.

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