Countries that love their high fructose corn syrup getting slammed by diabetes

There's no questioning the link between diet and diabetes.

An excess of sugar, in particular, can send a normal person into a tailspin of health problems. But studies are beginning to show that it's the type of sugar that matters, namely, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). A chemical cocktail made up of hard-to-digest properties that wreak havoc on the body, HFCS can be found in all kinds of processed foods--even things you wouldn't suspect, like salad dressings or potato chips.

More HFCS, more diabetes

A new study published in Global Public Health suggests that in countries like the US, where consumption of HFCS is off the charts, there is a strong correlation between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes--one that's 20 percent higher than in countries where HFCS consumption is low. While the research can't definitively prove that consumption of HFCS is the direct cause of high diabetes rates, it does ring some alarm bells.

"The 20 percent higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes in countries using a lot of high fructose corn syrup was not explained by population differences in terms of obesity [levels]," said Michael Goran, lead study author and professor of preventive medicine and director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Sugar, fat and carbs

Other factors do come into play, such as the fact that the Western diet is much higher in carbohydrates (which are, in essence, sugars). But HFCS is metabolized differently than regular glucose; it breaks down in the liver and can easily turn into fat, according to Goran.

Another piece of research that supported the study's hypothesis was that, across 43 countries, daily caloric and sugar intake was similar, regardless of how much HFCS was consumed in respective countries. Americans took the lead for consumption with the average person consuming about 55 pounds of HFCS per year.

Hungary, Slovakia, Canada, Bulgaria and Belgium followed close behind. Countries with the lowest rates of HFCS consumption were India, Slovenia, Latvia, Sweden and Ireland.

Source: US News Health

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