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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs