How to Ditch the Sugar Habit
The Real Deal on High-Fructose Corn Syrup
It's the ingredient everyone loves to hate. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is used in soda and a wide variety of processed foods because it's cheaper than sugar, has been blamed for playing a major role in the obesity epidemic in the United States. But the latest thinking, based on a review of all the research conducted on HFCS, is that it may actually be no worse for us than any other type of sugar.
Most scientists and doctors now agree that HFCS is safe in moderation. Biochemically, it's similar to table sugar -- roughly 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. "High-fructose corn syrup has the same sweetness, the same number of calories and the same impact on the body as sugar," says James Rippe, MD, a cardiologist and the founder of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, who studies nutrition and weight management.
HFCS can make us fat if we eat too much of it, but so can sugar, experts say. The real culprit in the obesity crisis is our overconsumption of all kinds of food, period. The average American now eats 425 more calories a day -- an extra meal's worth -- than she did in 1970.
In addition to cutting back on sweeteners, you should monitor the total number of calories that you're consuming, says John White, PhD, a leading expert on HFCS and other sweeteners and the president of White Technical Research, a food and beverage consulting firm. Keeping your total calorie count down will help you stay at a healthy weight and be healthier overall. -- Lauren Cardarelli
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