The high fructose corn syrup industry has been arguing for years that their product is no worse than sugar when it comes to weight gain and obesity. According to a new study by Princeton University, that’s simply not true.
When researchers fed HFCS to rats, the rodents gained significantly more weight than those fed regular sugar. Further, the HFCS-fed rats exhibited more specific characteristics of obesity, including increased abdominal fat and trigylcerides.
The study illuminates the underlying problem with the obesity epidemic, which hits low-income areas the hardest. Agricultural corn subsidies make HFCS a remarkably cheap sweetener to produce, so it’s commonly used in low-cost products. Not surprisingly, last year the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found higher intakes of HFCS in groups with low income levels.
Yet for all the evidence that the syrup is a major contributor to our country’s burgeoning and class-based obesity problem, our government continues to serve as the industry’s biggest cheerleader. According to the Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute, HFCS producers receive implicit government subsidies of $243 million a year—plenty to keep the product a staple of the American diet.