Singling out HFCS
Scientific studies may lead to consumers having doubts about, or showing interest in, an ingredient. Examining the studies more closely may lead to different reactions on the safety or the effectiveness of an ingredient. The dose and the setting should be considered. A preliminary study still may need to be peer-reviewed.
A study appearing in the April 2004 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition contributed to people associating high-fructose corn syrup with a national obesity epidemic, but the researchers never suggested sugar should replace HFCS in foods or beverages. The researchers found HFCS in 1970 represented less than 1% of all caloric sweeteners available for consumption in the United States. By 2000, the percentage had risen to 42%.
“We propose that the introduction of HFCS and the increased intake of soft drinks and other sweetened beverages have led to increases in total caloric and fructose consumption that are important contributors to the epidemic of obesity,” they said.
The study provided a hypothesis that replacing caloric sweeteners, which would include both HFCS and sugar, with non-caloric sweeteners in soft drinks and juice drinks would help reduce the prevalence of obesity.
Since the study came out, the Corn Refiners Association, Washington, has spent more than a decade defending HFCS and arguing against the idea of blaming one ingredient for an obesity epidemic. The Corn Refiners Association and the American Beverage Association helped to fund a study that appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007. The study involved 37 people who drank cola sweetened with sucrose or HFCS.
“There was no evidence that commercial cola beverages sweetened with either sucrose or HFCS have significantly different effects on hunger, satiety or short-term energy intakes,” the researchers concluded.