Soft Drink Sweetener Blamed for Obesity
Nutritionists Say High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Extra Calories
WebMD News Archive
Soda Advocates Respond
HFCS is sweeter than most other caloric sweeteners like
sucrose, found in table sugar, and Bray and Popkin contend that the added
sweetness may actually stimulate the appetite rather than sating it. But while
HFCS is used to sweeten some cereals and other processed foods, Bray says he
believes HFCS-sweetened beverages, not foods, are causing Americans to consume
"We are focusing on beverages because the data we have
suggest that non-beverage products sweetened with HFCS don't seem to have the
same impact as beverages," he says.
Not surprisingly, soft drink industry insiders are highly
critical of the conclusions, saying there is little evidence to support the
claim that the extra sweetness of soft drinks and fruit drinks containing HFCS
increases caloric intake.
"Suggesting that people are somehow fatter today because
soft drinks and food and dairy products are sweetened with HFCS instead of
sucrose, or table sugar, is totally ridiculous," National Soft Drink
Association Vice President of Scientific and Technical Affairs Richard Adamson,
PhD, says in a statement. "People are heavier today because they are taking
in more calories and not getting enough exercise."
University of California, Davis nutrition researcher Peter
Havel, PhD, studies the impact of various sugars on body weight, and says he
will soon publish a paper concluding that HFCS and sucrose may be more likely
to cause obesity that the sweetener glucose, which is no longer used much
"There does appear to be some difference in the caloric
sweeteners," he tells WebMD. "But in my opinion, the increased
consumption of fat, the increased consumption of all sugars, and inactivity are
all to blame for the obesity epidemic."