That's right--a new study by Princeton University researchers confirms what many of us have been saying for some time now:
. . . all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
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. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
When rats drank high fructose corn syrup at levels far below that in soda pop, they became fat, every single one across the board. According to the researchers, this just doesn't happen. Even when the rats are fed high-fat diets, not every one becomes obese.
The study monitored weight gain, body fat, and triglyceride levels in rats fed HFCS over 6 months. The ugly truth?
Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.
They gained 48% more weight! Unbelievable.
No matter what the Corn Refiners Association tells you in those commercials, HFCS is NOT a natural product, and it is most certainly NOT the same as sucrose. I've written in a little more detail about HFCS here if you'd like some further information on how and way HFCS causes obesity and other health issues.
That doesn't mean you should reach for a diet pop, though. Aspartame is not your friend! Try unsweetened tea (including herbal and fruit teas), water with a slice of lemon or lime, or juice spritzers. I especially like a small amount of cherry juice in sparkling water. Although cherry juice (and other fruit juices, like pomegranate) can be expensive (especially organic), by using a small amount and cutting it with carbonated water you get a refreshing drink that's not bad for you. On the rare occasions when I do want soda pop, I buy the kind sweetened with actual sugar. Again, it's more expensive, but we aren't meant to be drinking vast quantities of carbonated beverages anyway.