March 22, 2010
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Metabolic Syndrome In Rats

Another piece of evidence for a link between high-fructose corn syrup consumption, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.

In results published online March 18 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. 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.

Also see my previous post on fructose and high blood pressure.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 March 22 11:47 PM  Aging Diet Weight Studies

random said at March 23, 2010 8:28 AM:

Looks like the spammers found your site Randall.

This is a bit I didn't know about the HFCS/Sugar debate:
... "as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized."

This is interesting, and it makes me wonder if animals/people more adapted to eating fruits would be affected the same way. Many fruits have high amounts of free fructose/glucose:

Sycamore said at March 23, 2010 12:04 PM:

This is surprising, if one is aware of anti-fructose researcher and crusader Lustig. He claims that HFCS is equivalent to sugar, ie that it makes zero difference in practice whether you have sucrose or glucose + fructose.

th said at March 23, 2010 5:59 PM:

"The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas."

They're guessing that the amounts were equal?

Aron said at March 23, 2010 9:27 PM:

I smell a rat. Are you sure that 'statistically significant more weight' didn't become 'significantly more weight' become 'much more weight'? The delta in weight isn't quantified for the first experiment (in the abstract) so it's hard to know how terribly surprising this is.

pond said at March 24, 2010 10:13 AM:

ars technica has put up an article questioning the study. Bottom line, the study was something of a train wreck, and though it is suggestive, it should be the basis of a new, more rigorous, longterm study before we can say definitely there is much of a difference between sucrose and HFS.

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