Corn Syrup, Is it Really Just Like Sugar?

by in Diabetes, Dr. Scott Olson, Guest Posts, High Blood Pressure, Holistic Nutrition Tips, Kitchen Sink, Sugar, Weight Gain January 30, 2009

PhotobucketThe Corn Industry is spending massive amounts of advertising dollars trying to convince us that high-fructose-corn syrup is just as “good for you” as sugar. But does it really matter? Let’s talk to Dr. Scott Olsen about the differences between sugar and high-fructose-corn-syrup.

In your medical opinion…what is worse:  Sugar or high fructose corn syrup?

Dr. Olsen: This is a little like asking if you would rather be shot or stabbed: both are bad. There is a lot of stir in the media lately about high fructose corn syrup and how it is different than sugar and the research on corn syrup does show it behaves differently in our bodies.

What you need to know about fructose is that the body can’t use it, so whenever you consume fructose, the body has two choices. The first is that it can convert the fructose into glucose and then the body can use the glucose to power all its energy needs. The second choice is that the body can choose to store the fructose as fat.

There is some evidence that the body finds it easier to make that second choice: turning the fructose into fat. (11)  Since our consumption of high fructose corn syrup has increased dramatically in the last few years along with the rate of obesity, it makes us wonder if fructose is to blame.


  • Creates harmful proteins, called glycated proteins, much easier than glucose.(12)
  • Leads to insulin insensitivity (and, therefore: diabetes and obesity as well).(13)
  • Contributes to hypertension (high blood pressure).(14)

While avoiding both sugar and high fructose corn syrup is probably your best health choice, keeping high fructose corn syrup out of your diet is the next best step.

11. Bray GA, Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM: Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):537-43.
12. Colaco CA. Sugar and coronary heart disease, a molecular explanation. J R Soc Med. 1993 Apr;86(4):243.
13. Miller A, Adeli K. Dietary fructose and the metabolic syndrome. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;24(2):204-9.
14. Johnson RJ, Segal MS, Sautin Y, et al: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;86(4):899-906.

  1. This is a little like asking if you would rather be shot or stabbed

    LOL. Loved that, Dr. Scott!

    Don’t know if you saw this article the other day on Web MD about Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup. They even list many common brand-name products that they tested. Nasty, nasty stuff. HFCS should be banned from foods (along with a b’zillion other additives).

  2. Hi,
    My google alert for HFCS picked up your blog. Good reading. I’d like to give the
    CRA a lesson in math. Althought the CRA claims that HFCS-55,
    (55%fructose:45%glucose) which is used to sweeten all national brands of soda, is “similar” to sucrose (50:50), it really isn’t. 55/45 =1.22 That means that every time a teen chugs a Coke or Pepsi (bottled in the US) his liver is receiving the health “benefits” of 22% extra fructose, compared to glucose.
    As you have written it is the excess fructose that contributes to long term health hazards. I am only a midwestern piano teacher who likes math; I am sure
    the chemists at ADM and Cargill have the same calculations.
    Ditch HFCS. Take care.

  3. […] Recently Conquer MS has posted articles centering on the issue of high fructose corn syrup and its relationship with mercury.  New medical information has sited the occurrence of mercury in the sugar syrup and the conclusion that this toxic metal is associated with a whole array of health problems. […]

  4. […] I would suggest that New York tax juice containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. The only thing that makes me mad about the obesity tax is that it is called the “Obesity Tax.” […]

  5. There’s really nothing wrong with sugar (sucrose). The problem with HFCS corn syrup is that it is an engineered product, made with enzymes from fungus.

    We have been eating way too much sugar for decades now, but only have begun to get fat in the past 20 years or so because of the rapid replacement of sugar with high fructose corn syrup in commercially prepared foods.

  6. Hopefully, more government action will be taken to halt the use of high-fructose corn syrup in so many common products. It is also recommended to limit the amount of refined sugars in your diet period, as cancer cells thrive on all refined sugar. Reducing sugar intake will also help to maintain a healthy weight, reducing your risk for many serious diseases and conditions. For more general dietary recommendations, visit

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