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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A critical examination of the evidence relating high fructose corn syrup and weight gain

item Forshee, Richard
item Storey, Maureen
item Allison, David
item Glinsmann, Walter
item Hein, Gayle
item Lineback, David
item Miller, Sanford
item Nicklas, Theresa
item Weaver, Gary
item White, John

Submitted to: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Citation: Forshee, R.A., Storey, M.L., Allison, D.B., Glinsmann, W.H., Hein, G.L., Lineback, D.R., Miller, S.A., Nicklas, T.A., Weaver, G.A., White, J.S. 2007. A critical examination of the evidence relating high fructose corn syrup and weight gain. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 47(6):561-582.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has increased over the past several decades in the United States while overweight and obesity rates have risen dramatically. Some scientists hypothesize that HFCS consumption has uniquely contributed to the increasing mean body mass index (BMI) of the U.S. population. The Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy convened an expert panel to discuss the published scientific literature examining the relationship between consumption of HFCS or "soft drinks" (proxy for HFCS) and weight gain. The authors conducted original analysis to address certain gaps in the literature. Evidence from ecological studies linking HFCS consumption with rising BMI rates is unreliable. Evidence from epidemiologic studies and randomized controlled trials is inconclusive. Studies analyzing the differences between HFCS and sucrose consumption and their contributions to weight gain do not exist. HFCS and sucrose have similar monosaccharide compositions and sweetness values. The fructose:glucose (F:G) ratio in the U.S. food supply has not appreciably changed since the introduction of HFCS in the 1960s. It is unclear why HFCS would affect satiety or absorption and metabolism of fructose any differently than would sucrose. Based on the currently available evidence, the expert panel concluded that HFCS does not appear to contribute to overweight and obesity any differently than do other energy sources. Research recommendations were made to improve our understanding of the association of HFCS and weight gain.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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