Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Sugary hazard: high fructose corn syrup may raise diabetes risk

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A lot of people I know avoid foods that list high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as an ingredient. Apart from the calories they add to foods, there's a growing belief that lab-devised products like HFCS are simply unnatural and may be harmful. Wikipedia has an interesting article on the origins and controversy surrounding HFCS, if you want to learn more.

Not surprisingly, the food industry has always defended HFCS against claims that it is harmful. But here's the latest contradiction of that claim: a recent study found that HFCS is "astonishingly" high in reactive carbonyls, which are thought to contribute to the development of diabetes. The study was led by Dr. Chi-tang Ho, head of Rutgers University's Department of Food Science, and colleagues. They concluded that one can of HFCS-sweetened soda contains five times the reactive carbonyls that are normally found in the blood of a person with diabetes.

A news release by the American Chemical Society, announcing Dr. Ho's findings, notes that previous studies have already linked HFCS to cell and tissue damage. They suggest that HFCS consumption may raise the risk of diabetes, not to mention obesity. Say's Dr. Ho: "People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country. It's in way too many food and drink products and there's growing evidence that it's bad for you."

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