The 20 percent increase in type 2 diabetes is independent of total sugar consumption and obesity.
PROBLEM: Is high fructose corn syrup the harbinger of the health apocalypse? A review of the debate in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition rejects HFCS as a causative factor of obesity, arguing that the processed stuff, though scary-sounding, "is not meaningfully different in composition or metabolism from other fructose-glucose sweeteners like sucrose, honey, and fruit juice concentrates." But those in the anti-HFCS camp aren't convinced, and would insist there's still plenty to be wary of -- they point to diabetes as another public health concern whose rise parallels the increased prevalence of HFCS in foods and beverages.
- Type A Personality Doubles Risk of Having a Stroke
- Gay Adoptive Parents Make Great Adoptive Parents
- Statins Appear to Improve Cancer Survival
METHODOLOGY: "It's very hard to study the effects of high fructose corn syrup on overall health," explained lead author Michael Goran, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics, and Pediatrics at USC, "Because we simply don't know how much we're consuming, even in the U.S." So he and fellow researchers at USC and Oxford took a broader, population-based approach, looking at estimates for the prevalence of type 2 diabetes -- culled from two independent sources -- as related to the availability of HFCS in 43 countries. They also looked at the total availability of sugar and calories, along with estimated rates of obesity and impaired glucose tolerance, and each country's GDP.
RESULTS: "All indicators of diabetes were higher in countries that use HFCS as compared to those that do not," with type 2 diabetes occurring in 8 percent of the population. Countries that don't use HFCS had a diabetes rate of 6.7 percent -- a 20 percent different in prevalence. These results held when adjusted for BMI averages and economic climate, and were independent of total sugar intake and obesity levels.