If you live in a country that consumes a lot of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), then you are more likely to die of type 2 diabetes. That’s the result of a recent study that examined the HFCS consumption of 42 countries.
One particularly shocking quote from the principal author reads, “HFCS consumption may result in negative health consequences distinct and more deleterious than natural sugar.” Did you read that? It could be worse than sugar. If this wasn’t tragic, it would be hilarious. We created HFCS to be a healthier alternative to natural sugar, and then it became self-aware and started murdering the human race. HFCS could be the beginning of Skynet.
The United States continued its quest for world domination in obesity by consuming more HFCS than any other country. Countries that still consumed much HFCS but fell behind the U.S. included Hungary, Canada, Korea, Japan, and Mexico. Countries with the least HFCS consumption included Australia, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
The study specifically calls out the high levels of HFCS in beverages as a possible culprit in the worldwide diabetes and obesity epidemic. A 2004 study also examined this idea, showing that increased consumption of HFCS in the United States beverage industry mirrored the rapid increase in obesity.
I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised by this finding. I predict that soda consumption will one day experience the same social transition that cigarettes recently experienced. Cigarette smoking started out cool, then transitioned to merely accepted, and now has a slightly negative social stigma. I think soda and HFCS are in for the same ride. What do you think? Post your thoughts to the comments below.
1. Goran, Michael I., et. al. “High fructose corn syrup and diabetes prevalence: A global perspective.” Global Public Health 2012 Nov 27
2. Bray, George A., Nielsen, Samara J., and Popkin, Barry M. “Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition vol. 79 no. 4: 537-543, 2004.
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