Link Seen Between High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption and Insulin Resistance

High fructose corn syrup, which is in an astonishing variety of foods, is a controversial subject.

Mar 11, 2009

Whenever Diabetes Health publishes an article about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), we receive mountains of printed material from corn industry advocates. They argue that the effects of HFCS cannot be extrapolated from research because the "studies look at the effects of fructose independently."  They claim, in the words of Christopher Mohr, MS, RD, LDN, of the Corn Refiners Association, that "the absence of glucose makes pure fructose fundamentally different from HFCS."

Diabetes Health doesn't have the wherewithal at the moment to examine all sides of the argument. We suggest that if the topic interests you, you do your own due diligence and come to your own conclusion. In the meantime, Yale University researchers say that a study in mice shows that diets heavy in high-fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance. At the same time they found that if they blocked the activity of a gene called PGC-1B, mice on a high-fructose diet were protected from insulin resistance. 

Introduced in the 1970s as an abundant and cheap sweetening agent, high-fructose corn syrup has become so popular that every American now consumes about sixty pounds a year.  For that reason, the sweetener has become a source of concern to doctors and scientists who treat metabolic disorders. Because the liver more readily metabolizes fructose into fat than it does glucose, high fructose consumption can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disorder, often a precursor to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

While earlier studies had pointed to a gene called SREBP-1, which regulates the manufacture of lipids in the liver, as the primary cause for increased fatty acids and triglycerides in that organ, researchers weren't sure just how it worked. 

When the Yale researchers found that PGC-1B might be responsible for boosting expression levels of SREBP-1, they tested their suspicion by blocking its activity in mice that were being fed a four-week diet high in fructose. Blocking PGC-1B lowered the expression levels of SREBP-1 and other fat building genes in their livers, reversed their insulin resistance, and led to a tripling of glucose uptake in their fatty tissue.

Practical benefits from this line of research could lead to a gene-specific therapy designed to help lower insulin resistance.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Lipid Problems, Nutrition Research, Sugar & Sweeteners, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 11 March 2009

I think they should repeat the study with 3 groups, one each with glucose, fructose and the combo.

Posted by cornrefiner on 11 March 2009

The American Medical Association stated that, “Because the composition of high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are so similar, particularly on absorption by the body, it appears unlikely that high fructose corn syrup contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose.â€

Posted by Anonymous on 12 March 2009

I am a registered dietitian writing to respond to “Link Seen Between High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption and Insulin Resistance.” Although the article does encourage people to find out the facts for themselves, it is dangerously skewed to lead the public to believe that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fundamentally “bad for you.”

What is dangerous about this message? It makes HFCS a scapegoat, which takes attention away from what is truly important: People need to eat a balanced diet. People will not become magically healthy overnight by avoiding everything with HFCS in it. It is not the culprit, and this view in not realistic. I see every day the effects of people thinking that they can cut one thing or another from their diet for fantastic results, only to encounter increased problems—we saw this happen with the low-carb craze.

If it is true, as you say, that “Diabetes Health doesn’t have the wherewithal at the moment to examine all sides of the argument,” then at least you should try not to mislead the public. The cited Yale University study proved a foregone conclusion: mice on a high-sugar diet develop diabetes—is this any surprise? What is misleading is not telling the WHOLE truth, that the HFCS in the study is essentially NO DIFFERENT than table sugar or honey. They are about equal parts glucose and fructose. As researchers continue to examine sweeteners, it’s important that people understand the differences among various ingredients used in scientific studies. These facts are never explained in the article.

While it is wonderful that the study cited may lead to a way to reduce insulin resistance, there is a far more fundamental message that was missed: Human beings need to consume a balanced, healthy diet rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats and sugars in order to stay healthy, maintain energy, and resist chronic conditions like diabetes. Just because there is a readily available, inexpensive sweetener like HFCS on the market does not mean we must overconsume it. But neither does it mean we should vilify it as the root of all our health and weight problems.

Let’s strive to educate the public truthfully, allowing them to take informed responsibility for their nutritional needs.

Page love, MS, RD, LD

Owner, Nutrifit, Sport, Therapy, Inc.

Posted by volleyball on 16 March 2009

This sound like the old story where a lawyer has you on the stand and through a series of questions brings you to the conclusion that A=B.
Maybe for many if not most, it does not matter, but in this world when it comes to the human race, there is no absolutes. No matter how good, there is always some that are different enough to be harmed by it. Type 2's could very well be that group.

Posted by Green Lantern on 16 March 2009

Low-carb is not a "craze", and a "balanced" diet approach has the fundamental assumption that all food products are of equal value. This isn't true. Yes, a sugar carb = a honey carb = a HFCS carb. And ALL of them are poor choices if you burn sugar instead of fat for energy and are prediabetic or have diabetes.

The Paleo diet, Rosedale, Dr. Bernstein and others have in common that they cut out sugar (in all of its forms including grains), and focus on moderate amounts of grass-fed protein or wild-caught fish, lots of veggies, and fruit.

Do we really NEED Twinkies, Cheez-Its, cupcakes, sugary yogurt and all of the other junk that fills the middle of the supermarket as part of our "balanced" diet, eating empty, garbage calories "in moderation"?

Just look at the Inuits and Eskimos. Fat, protein, and veggies (sometimes the latter in tiny amounts) comprises their entire diet. They don't have heart disease or diabetes. Their bodies burn fat (as they are meant to) for fuel.

IMHO, "moderation" is old-school Dietetics that doesn't take into account the impact of Leptin or human biology, and that caves to the food lobbies that probably influence the Dietitian curriculum. Sure, if you run marathons and have good genes you can eat garbage foods with impunity, but for those of us with a tendency toward (or with) diabetes, they are POISON.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 March 2009

I find it interesting that the Registered Dietician simplifies everything into eating a balanced diet. Of course everyone should eat sensibly, but the problem, as stated in another comment is, HFCS is in SO MUCH of our foods, that even eating healthy, "well-balanced" foods still assaults us with HFCS, or artificial sweeteners. The key word here is CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP. Why spend more money on natural sugar when you can cheapen the product with something else, even if it is unhealthy. Alot of our food, in general, these days is garbage, all in the name of cheap, and fast-growing. Even alot of our fruits and vegetables that you buy in a typical supermarket are not nutritionally equivalent to what they were.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 March 2009

As long as our "registered dietitian" and her ilk are listened to,the worse the world wide epidemic of type 2 diabetes will become.The answer is simple. HFCS is one of the most deadliest foods diabetics can consume...and as for a "balanced diet" give me strength..... Simple statement...less carbs...lower blood glucose levels..end of story!!

Posted by Anonymous on 18 March 2009

By following a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish or soy products, I have lost 22 lbs and kept it off. This has controlled my diabetes now for 4 1/2 yrs without any meds. As a certified diabetes educator, I caution my patients about the HFCS. I recommend they choose fresh fruits or vegetables or ones without these and artificial sweeteners. The body learns in a few weeks to enjoy the natural flavors and not crave the sugars from any source.

Posted by Anonymous on 23 March 2009

Good morning.
-Why are sugar and HFCS in our processed food? Because people like sweet.
-Since WWII the amount of these two sweeteners has jumped several fold. They serve NO nutritional need. They do serve a sales need just like manipulated nicotene in cigarettes--'hook the suckers.'
Period end of issue.
-Want sweet? Get rid of sugar, HFCS and the chemical poisons. Use all natural products with a 400 year history of no harm and actual benefit. Its called stevia. Yes, I sell it, but I am not here to boost my product.
-Get a grip people. Take charge of your health. Tell KRAFT and the other food manipulators to stop putting unneeded and ultimately harmful sweeteners and other additives into our food. Better yet make your own. Done correctly it is cost effective and fun. Heck you might even make a business out of it.
--GWE JAJA Stevia.

Posted by Anonymous on 9 April 2009

Right on Green Lantern! Lowcarb diets are not a 'fad' or a 'craze' and no one following a balanced lowcarb diet will experience bad results. I have been lowcarb now for 8 months, my total cholesterol is 136, HDL is up, LDL is down, triglycerides have dropped almost 100 points, blood pressure is in the normal range and BG is normalizing. Now tell me where the harm is? Dieticians vilify eggs and tell you to only eat 2 eggs a week.
Eggs are a superfood! I eat 3 or 4 eggs most days of the week and my blood work shows the benefits! Sugar is the villian, ALL sugars and 90% of grains turn into glucose once they hit your blood stream whether they are processed or whole grain. Whole grains simply take longer to turn to glucose in the human body. If you are diabetic and want to get control of your blood sugar, don't believe that a balanced diet includes 8 servings of whole grains daily, you might as well be eating 8 servings of cakes, cookies or candy! Stick to protein, non-starchy veggies, and fresh fruit, mainly berries and nuts. You will be healthier and happier. Low fat diets cause cholesterol levels to skyrocket! Ive seen it in my friends and coworkers who were told to follow a lowfat diet. After several months of a bland, unhealthy lowfat, high carb diet, their cholesterol levels went up, not down! How long will it take the so called 'professionals' to learn that when you deprive your body of fats, your liver compensates by producing bad cholesterol to replace the good fats that you are not consuming. There are a few enlightened doctors out there that know the truth, if you can find one, count your blessings. If you don't have one, keep looking! Good Luck

Posted by Anonymous on 4 May 2009

High-fructose Corn syrup does not have the same effects as table sugar. Study done at Yale showed 2 groups, one who drank a sugary drink for 10 weeks, the other group drank a high-fructose drink for 10 weeks. Both groups had no other sugar intakes from pop or candy and in the end both groups did gain weight, but the weight was different. The group with the sugary drink gained pinchable fat while the other group gained the fat that grows on the organs. Hey! Continue to believe the corn company though, they can control you like they do just about everything else!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 July 2009

All I know is, as a Type 1 Diabetic with no other history of insulin resistance, when I eat foods that do NOT contain HFCS, even sugary food, I do not exhibit insulin resistance. But when I eat foods that DO have HFCS my insulin resistance rises markedly. That's proof enough for me to avoid the stuff like the plague, and encourage others do to the same. T1 Diabetes is difficult enough without adding T2 to the mix.

Posted by Anonymous on 22 September 2009

I just drove through Iowa. Miles upon miles of corn. Not fields just corn that can not be eaten or fed to livestock, just processed into ethanol or hfcs

Posted by Anonymous on 3 April 2012

Check the prices of fresh foods and the processed foods. The processed foods are a lot cheaper than the fresh foods. And a lot of people can't afford fresh foods, because it's so expesive. So a lot of poor poeple has to buy processed foods to get by. Ask any person who is poor about why do they buy processed foods instead of fresh foods. Some will tell you that they are too lazy to cook, but most will tell that the fresh foods are too expensive.

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