Recently, there has been more awareness about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and its effects on the human body. Because of the negative press surrounding HFCS, the FDA is currently being lobbied to change its name to "corn sugar" on ingredient labels.
HFCS is increasingly difficult to avoid. Most processed foods contain it, and the reason for that is because it is cheaper for manufacturers to use HFCS in place of sugar. HFCS is sweeter than sugar, so it takes less to sweeten a product. It is also cheaper because it is made from government subsidized corn crops. Yes, that's right. The government is subsidizing the nation's junkfood in a roundabout way. So much for the war on obesity, right?
Speaking of the war on obesity, a recent study on HFCS vs. sugar found that HFCS caused an increase in weight gain and an increased difficulty in the ability to lose weight. The study was conducted at Princeton using rats. One group of rats was fed HFCS, while the other group was fed sugar. Both were given the caloric equivalents of each item. The rats fed HFCS showed more problems with weight than the sugar fed rats.
Chemically, the HFCS and the sugar appear to be similar, but evidence is showing that how the body processes the two substances is different, thus leading to the weight problems with rats. Other health problems associated with HFCS include diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. It causes elevated insulin levels, which are also connected to cancer and heart disease, among other things.
HFCS is found in just about every processed food product there is, it seems. From obvious products like soda pop and candy and sweets, to less obvious things such as ketchup and barbecue sauce. The best thing is to read your labels before you decide to purchase a product, and to avoid HFCS if at all possible. Some companies have made the change to eliminate HFCS from its products because of increased awareness, but there are still plenty products that contain it.
For further reading, I have included links to a few websites: