News / Health

Researchers Link Global Diabetes Rise to Corn Syrup Food Sweetener

The nutrition label on a can of soda with the ingredient high fructose corn syrup.The nutrition label on a can of soda with the ingredient high fructose corn syrup.
x
The nutrition label on a can of soda with the ingredient high fructose corn syrup.
The nutrition label on a can of soda with the ingredient high fructose corn syrup.
Jessica Berman
There is new evidence that large amounts of high fructose corn syrup  - a sweetener used in food products consumed around the world - could be a major factor in the accelerating global epidemic of type 2 diabetes, according to U.S. and British researchers.

A study by Michael Goran of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and colleagues at Britain’s Oxford University concludes that countries that use high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, in their food supplies have a 20 percent higher prevalence of diabetes on average than countries that do not use the sweetener. The researchers analyzed data from 42 countries that report their use of HFCS.

Goran, who directs USC’s Childhood Obesity Research Center, says those countries with food products that contain higher amounts HFCS have an average eight percent prevalence of type 2 diabetes. That compares to just 6.7 percent in countries that used no high fructose corn syrup.  Goran says HFCS contains more fructose, or fruit sugar, than other sweeteners, such as sucrose or table sugar.  HFCS is harmful, Goran believes, because the body processes it differently than other forms of sugar.

“There is evidence that it is taken up almost exclusively by the liver where it can be repackaged as fat and contribute to fatty liver, which contributes to insulin resistance and then to diabetes," said Goran.

High fructose corn syrup is added to processed foods because it is cheaper than other sweeteners so less is needed and, says Goran, it combines well with baking ingredients and gives cakes and pies a nice brown color.

Soft drinks contain more HFCS than most other products, but the sweetener can be found in nearly all processed foods, including cookies, rolls and other baked goods, cold cereals and even baby food.

John White is president of White Technical Research.  Speaking for the Washington-based Corn Refiners Association, White says Goran’s study is flawed and inconsistent.

“For example, if you look at the United States that has 22 times the higher fructose corn syrup consumption than Malaysia, you should see a correspondingly higher incidence of diabetes.  But Malaysia’s incidence of diabetes is actually ten percent higher," said White.

Earlier this year, U.S. federal regulators rejected a petition by corn growers to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar, a name the growers believed would sound more appealing to consumers.

Meanwhile, researcher Michael Goran says he would like to see products with labels identifying the percentage of HFCS in them, in much the same way that fats are now identified on food packaging.

The article on high fructose corn syrup and diabetes is published in the journal Global Public Health.  

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid