Sugars and satiety: does the type of sweetener matter?

Topics: Obesity and Weight Loss, Wellness and Health

The small study of 20 somethings this month on high fructose corn syrup and appetite has the media buzzing.

Two and a half hours after drinking milk, soda with 2 types of HFCS, diet soda and soda with table sugar, only milk (one-percent milk) dulled the appetite, for a huge–1700 calorie–lunch. No difference between table sugar and HFCS.

Big whoop. But for HFCS we’re not talking about a one-time event: the average teen drinks about 20 ounces of soda daily.

Previous research is mixed: some shows that fructose reduces circulating leptin–that is, turn off your appetite. It also keeps ghrelin–think hunger gremlin–high. And it increases triglycerides in women.

HFCS is synthesized from corn starch: enzymes turn the starch into glucose and fructose–lighter, sweeter, cheaper and more transportable then sugar alone. Starch into sugar.

The long term trends are obvious. Since HFCS was added to the food supply, just a few years later our weight started going up, fast. It’s not the only factor, certainly, but it’s one of them, and it’s everywhere.

Dr. George Bray traced the parallels between obesity and HFCS 3 years ago. He writes:

“The consumption of HFCS increased > 1000% between 1970 and 1990, far exceeding the changes in intake of any other food or food group. HFCS now represents over 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages…

Our most conservative estimate of the consumption of HFCS indicates a daily average of 132 calories for all Americans age 2 and older, and the top 20% of consumers of caloric sweeteners ingest 316 calories from HFCS per day. The increased use of HFCS in the United States mirrors the rapid increase in obesity.”

Do your waist a favor. If there is HFCS in it, put it back on the shelf. Like trans fats, high fructose corn syrup is one of these additives that you don’t want in your food.

Here is a list of foods with HFCS. And here is a list of fast foods with HFCS, including Arby’s, BK, McD’s, Subway and Taco Bell.

And, strange but true, the Tobacco industry is testing different concentrations of HFCS in cigarettes. You don’t need either.