Do Our Protectionist Sugar Policies Cause People to Get Fatter?

Apparently at least in part because of the government protections increasing the price of sugar, companies have switched to High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to sweeten everything from processed foods to beverages.. Most people apparently consume 63 pounds of HFCS each year. Can we sue the government price support program for the country's higher health care costs?

Your digestive system has two main hormones that control hunger and appetite. Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and increases your appetite. When your stomach's empty, it sends ghrelin out, requesting food. Leptin tells your brain that you're full. HFCS inhibits leptin secretion, so you never get the message that you're full. And HFCS never shuts off ghrelin, so even though you have food in your stomach, you constantly get the message that you're hungry.

That's the physiology behind a theory gaining a lot of ground -- the theory that our increasing consumption of HFCS is one of many elements at play in America's obesity epidemic.

Because it's cheaper than sugar, HFCS is used to sweeten many processed foods and beverages. And although manufacturers may eliminate fat from their products, they make up for its taste with sugar and HFCS. Which means that cutting down on processed foods and sweetened drinks -- even the fat-free kind -- is a good way to reduce your intake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

HFCS can be used to make fuel for our autos instead of making us fat.



12/23/2006 9:41 AM  

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