High-Fructose Corn Syrup “Prompts More Weight Gain” Than Sugar

High-Fructose Corn Syrup “Prompts More Weight Gain” Than Sugar

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been a whipping boy of late for its heavily processed origins (prompting a campaign about how natural it is), but it’s much worse than that: Princeton researchers find that HFCS has a significant tie to obesity.

Photo by gezellig-girl.com.

You can find HFCS as a sugar substitute in nearly everything sweet and junk foody — partially because it’s cheaper than sugar due to corn subsidies. Unfortunately it’s also much more likely to make you — or at least lab rats — fat:

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that 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.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specialises in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”

It’s good to know for those of us aiming to lose weight or improve our health, and it’s likely something parents will also be glad to know.

A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain [Princeton University via Consumerist]


  • I’ve been on a sugar free diet for around 10 weeks now and have lost over 7kg. I’ve always struggled with weight and I’ve been having 2 teaspoons of sugar in my tea since I was a little kid. I was having 10+ cups of tea a day. I removed all the sugar and just drink tea with milk and I also cut out any “added” sugar in my foods.

    Sugar like Dextrose or most others that aren’t derived from corn or cane and, unfortunately, honey, are ok. It’s the Fructose part that causes the weight gain. Fructose also happens to be half of regular table sugar (cane sugar).

    I’m surprised it works but hey, 7kg of lost weight can’t lie! 🙂 Best of all, I can eat as much of my favourite comfort food (potato chips) as I like as long as it doesn’t have sugar in it! Take a look at the stuff you buy when you go to the shop next and you’ll be surprised by the number of things that contain added sugar.

    • Yes it is shown that if you drink one 375ml can of coke, (the one’s in australia with sugar) and do not burn it off, that is 6kgs gained a year. I imagine it would be worse over there with high fructose corn syrup

      • One can of coke!? I had a can of coke yesterday! Oh jebus, does the whole 6 kilos hit at once or does it creep onto you while you’re asleep?

        Rodney, I’m also very suss of your diet. Eating all the potato chips you want is introducing a whole lot of saturated fat into your diet. Get rid of that too and see how much more weight you lose.

      • @Kato: I couldn’t reply to your post specifically for some reason. Anyway…

        Obviously not all the potato chips I want but before I went off sugar, I couldn’t have them because they caused me to gain weight. Now that I’ve gone off sugar, I can eat them when I feel like it without the guilt of putting on weight. I’m have a couple of packets a fortnight and still losing around a kilo a week.

        The most unbelievable thing is that I have Chronic Fatigue so I don’t exercise much. Even still, I manage to lose weight each week without actually exercising that much.

        Trust me, if I didn’t actually go on this diet, I wouldn’t believe it either so I’m not expecting anyone else to. I think it’s one of those “you have to try it to believe it deals”.

        If you are interested, I suggest reading this book. It’s what got me started: http://www.sweetpoison.com.au/

  • I discovered after about eight years of suffering daily breakouts that I am allergic to corn syrup. Unfortunately, it’s in a lot more stuff than just soda pop in the US – it’s in nearly every common thing that calls for sweetener, and some things that don’t call for it. Pizza sauce, bread, things not considered “junk food.”

    While I’m fortunate in that I know how to cook nearly everything from scratch, others who rely on premade foods will find it will take far more than cutting out soda to cut out the long term impact of corn syrup.

  • The reason the US has such a high use of corn syrup is that their Corn Farmers want protection against cheap import of sugar.

    The Corn Farmers get subsidies to keep them in business and all imported sugar has high tariffs.

  • But their sugar farmers get great subsidies as well. So ‘everyone’ wins.

    Sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose – about 45/55.. HFCS is fructose all the way down.

    • whoops – wrong – HFCS is 45/55 split glucose / fructose.

      The good industry boys are just pre-chewing it for you so its already in glucose / fructose form, without the tiresome breaking it down from sucrose.

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