A study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed no differences in satiety or energy intake when the study’s participants consumed drinks containing either high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose. The magazine also ran an editorial entitled, "Much ado about high-fructose corn syrup in beverages: the meat of the matter."
The study took place at Maastricht University in Maastricht, The Netherlands.
"Energy balance consequences of H.F.C.S.-sweetened soft drinks are not different from those of other isoenergetic drinks, e.g., a sucrose-drink or milk," the researchers concluded.
The study first involved the effects of sucrose-containing drinks, H.F.C.S.-containing drinks and milk on 15 men and 15 women according to visual analogue scales (VAS) and blood variables. Then the study involved the effects of the same three kinds of drinks on 20 men and 20 women according to ingestion of a meal of granola cereal and yogurt.
The researchers observed no differences between the H.F.C.S.-containing drinks and the sucrose-containing drinks on changes in VAS and on such factors as insulin and glucose.
Dr. G. Harvey Anderson, Ph.D., a professor of nutritional sciences and physiology at the University of Toronto, wrote the editorial for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He responded to the hypothesis that the introduction of H.F.C.S. in the 1970s as a caloric sweetener in beverages was at fault for the obesity problems of today.
"It is clear that energy imbalance for most individuals is accounted for by energy intake exceeding expenditure," he said in the editorial. "The lifestyle factors that lead to this problem are too little exercise and too much food, but the determinants of such vary greatly between individuals.
"A food solution to obesity remains elusive, but a reductionist approach on one food or one component of the food supply, in the presence of too much, is unlikely to succeed."
Dr. Anderson said H.F.C.S. primarily is used as a substitute for sucrose as a caloric sweetener and not used in addition to sucrose. Sucrose use declined to 40% of caloric sweetener availability in 1997 from 80% in 1970, he said. During the same time period H.F.C.S. rose to 40% of total caloric sweeteners from nearly 0%. The availability of H.F.C.S. in the U.S. food supply dipped to 59.2 lbs per capita annually in 2004 from 60.4 lbs in 1997.
"There is no evidence that the ratio of fructose and glucose consumed from sugars has changed over the past four decades as a result of H.F.C.S. replacing sucrose in many applications," he added.