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Saturday, 27 March 2010 04:25

High fructose corn syrup bad for rats


U.S. researchers in New Jersey found that lab rats consuming high fructose corn syrup had a greater increase of body weight than rats with access to sucrose or table sugar. However, does it also apply to humans?


The research was published online on February 26, 2010, in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.

The study was headed by Bart Hoebel, a professor of psychology at Princeton University. U.S. researchers Nicole Avena, Miriam Bocarsly, and Elyse Powell were also involved with the study.

The researchers conducted two separate investigations with rats and high fructose corn syrup.

In the first study, male rats were fed an eight-week diet consisting of sweetened (with high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS) and rat chow, or a diet of table sugar and rat chow.


The data showed that the rats drinking the HFCS-water gained more weight than those on the table-sugar-water.

The Princeton University article A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain stated, ''¦ male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet."

It added, "The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.'

Page two continues with the second part of the investigation.


In the second study, some of the rats were put on a six-month diet that contained high fructose corn syrup and rat chow, while others of the rats only had regular (unsweetened water and rat chow.


The rats on HFCS-water, after six months, were found to have higher abdominal body fat and other such problems than those rats on regular water.

Specifically, the Princeton University article stated, 'Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly."

And,"Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.'

Thus, the researchers found that rats with access to high fructose corn syrup had a greater increase in (1) body weight, (2) body fat, and (3) triglyceride levels, than those rats with access to sucrose or to those rats with access to table sugar.

Dr. Avena, one of the authors of the study, stated, "Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic." [Princeton]

Page three concludes with restrictions made by the authors with respect to the validity of their data with rats and applying it to humans.


However, the Hoebel-led group cautions that its results are preliminary and warn that just because the three associations are found in rats does not mean it will also be found in humans.

Dr. Avena stated, 'Our information is out there for people to consider and interpret. We are research scientists, basically, just interested in understanding why people over-eat and gain weight. There are other people out there who make policy decisions, and we hope that this study and others like it might have some influence.' [Princeton]


Avena also  stated, 'The ultimate goal would be to understand what makes high fructose corn syrup different from sucrose, and how these sweeteners can affect the body, brain and behavior.' [Princeton]


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