Let's Not Just Blame High-Fructose Corn Syrup for Our Obesity

A bunch of scientists say that it's not the only cause of obesity

While hipsters shelling out $3 for a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola (with real cane sugar) may swear that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the source of America's problems, some scientists have concluded that HFCS isn't the sole cause of the obesity problem.

In a report published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers concluded that there is no evidence that HFCS alone is responsible for the the rise of obesity. "While the scientific debate related to the initially proposed link between HFCS and the obesity epidemic has been largely settled, a new theory has emerged which argues that while HFCS and sucrose are metabolically equivalent, both are significantly related to the obesity epidemic and associated metabolic abnormalities," the researchers write.

Granted, the researchers and Rippe Lifestyle Institute did receive funding from companies like ConAgra, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Weight Watchers, and (red flag) the Corn Refiners Association, but some of the points are interesting.

Apparently, the consumption of HFCS has decreased in the past 10 years, while obesity levels have either remained constant or gone up. Furthermore, the researchers point out that sucrose, instead of  HFCS, is the leading course of fructose.

That's not to absolve HFCS completely. "The public discussion about HFCS will likely continue to rage on and more studies will be conducted," author James M. Ripp said. "However, at this point there is simply no evidence to suggest that the use of HFCS alone is directly responsible for increased obesity rates or other health concerns." We'll just keep reading nutrition labels, then.