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Study finds: HFCS no worse for consumers than any other calorie sweetener.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no scientific evidence to support the hypothesis that high fructose corn syrup (ICS) contributes more (or less) to obesity in the United States or globally than other caloric sweeteners, namely sugar. Researchers note that a consensus is emerging that HFCS is indistinguishable from sucrose in its metabolic effects.

Based on a review of available data on all sweeteners from the 1970s to the present the study authors concluded:

* HFCS contains the same composition of sugars as other fructose/glucose-based sweeteners like sucrose (or table sugar), honey or fruit juice concentrates.

* Fructose-glucose sweeteners are metabolized through the same pathways regardless of their dietary source.

* There are no known substantial metabolic or nutritional differences between HFCS syrup and sucrose. Both have a composition of approximately equal parts fructose and glucose.

* HFCS and sucrose offer equivalent sweetness and both contain 4 calories per gram.

* From 1970-2005, caloric intake in the United States increased by 24 percent. This was not due to a disproportionate increase in added sugars (including HFCS), but rather an overall increase in calories from all food sources including fats and all other nutrient groups.

* Per capita consumption of HFCS has declined in the United States in recent years, but obesity rates continue to rise.

* HFCS accounts for about one-half of sweetener use in the United States but only 8 percent worldwide, yet obesity rates are climbing in countries that use little or no HFCS. Sugar remains the predominant global sweetener.

Authors of the study included: Dr. James Rippe, a cardiologist and founder of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute; John White, founder of White Technical Research; as well as former JFCS critics Peter Havel, DVM., a nutrition researcher at the University of California, Davis; and Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"Rather than focusing on differences between one caloric sweetener and another, long-term studies comparing high fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages with non-caloric beverages are more relevant to the issue of increased caloric intake of sweeteners overall," said Rippe. "We definitely need more research in this area given the high consumption of sweeteners overall." "As researchers continue to examine the role of sweeteners in the diet, it's important to understand the differences between the various sweeteners tested in scientific studies," Rippe added. "Testing fructose alone and then generalizing any findings to high fructose corn syrup misleads the consumer. It is important that sound science is communicated in meaningful ways to the public."
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Publication:The Food & Fiber Letter
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 19, 2009
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