UPDATE 03-25-10: This entry has been updated to reflect new language in the Princeton release.
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A team of researchers at Princeton University has found that high-fructose corn syrup may significantly increase weight gain. In two studies, they found that "rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same." According to their release:
In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
And here is where their results got really remarkable:
The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. 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.
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. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.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.
The findings were published (link to abstract) March 18 in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.