A large scale ad campaign has recently been launched touting the virtues of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). For those who have listened to Inside Out Weight Loss Episode 6 “Foods that Will Make Your Journey Easier”, you know my opinion on HFCS, which, strangely enough, has not changed since the ads came out.
HFCS has come under a lot of fire of late because of a great deal of research, much of it out of UC Davis, showing an almost 1:1 correlation between the rise in consumption of HFCS in the US and the rise in obesity. It seems that HFCS somehow disrupts the body’s ability to tell that it’s full, making you want to eat more of it. Consumers caught wind of this, are avoiding products that contain it.
I understand why the industry is fighting back. They have this dream ingredient. It’s super cheap, super sweet, lasts a very long time on the shelf, and makes people crave more of it, so they buy more. What’s not to like?
In defense of the manufacturers, I did see one study that cast doubt over the fattening effects of HFCS. (I am curious to know who funded the research, however). So the research is certainly not yet conclusive (is it ever?). Maybe HFCS doesn’t make us want to eat more of it. Maybe our bodies are just fine with this highly processed sweetener. Then again, maybe they are not.
Fructose in it’s natural form comes in a delightful package of nutrients, fiber and lots of water - fruit. Our bodies know exactly what to do with fruit. The fiber and water make us full, and the nutrients are deeply satisfying and nourishing. After all, we evolved over thousands of years eating our fructose this way. Take the fructoe out of this extraordinary package and who knows how the body will react.
My advice? Check in with your body. Do you find you crave that yogurt that’s sweetened with HFCS? One client of mine switched from yogurt with HFCS to a more natural greek yogurt, and found her cravings over all went way down. I used to be ridiculously addicted to a frozen yogurt that was fructose sweetened (not even HFCS), and found I would be hungrier after eating it than before I strated! I had to chase it with a bowl of cereal!
When you see those cleverly designed ads for HFCS, look behind the ads to the motives of the manufacturers. Then let your body be the judge.