In defense of HFCS. (Did I really just write that?)

by Denis Faye - The Nutrition Nerd | April 19, 2010

A few weeks ago, The Real Fitness Nerd reported on a Princeton study indicating high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) caused weight gain more than table sugar.

Well, OOPS!

One of you loyal fellow Fitness Nerds, the charming and on-the-ball michm, graciously pointed out a post over at the Nutrition Data blog tearing how Princeton presented their study into tiny pieces.

The authors are making a big deal out of the fact that rats given HFCS gained more weight than rats given sucrose. They don’t mention that they actually had two groups of rats eating HFCS and only one of them gained more weight. The second HFCS group–which ate the same amount of HFCS as the first–gained exactly as much weight as the sucrose group (and, for the record, the same as a fourth group of mice that weren’t given sucrose OR HFCS). You’d think that would deserve a comment.

… and it goes on from there. If the Nutrition Data blog has even a hint of truth to it, it would appear that someone in the Ivy League was really bustin’ to smack down HFCS and the truth wasn’t going to get in the way.

But enough about HFCS. Let’s talk about something far more interesting: Me. Do I feel a little embarrassed about reporting what appears to be anti-HFCS propaganda? Yeah, kinda. Maybe I need to be even more careful. I rarely believe what I read on the interwebs, but I tend to take press releases from credible institutions at face value. But I don’t feel too bad about it, given this flip-flop proves a point I make a lot. You just can’t pin down 99% of nutrition or fitness science because, as Dr. Who fans might put it, it’s an incredibly big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff. Yes, I have my opinions about how things should be done, but I also operate on the assumption that my assumptions are partially assumed and therefore can be yanked out from under me at any moment like a corn-meal-coated carpet on a freshly waxed floor.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. Some science cannot be refuted. For example, if you eat enough steamed beets, a surprising assortment of bodily excretions will come out red. This I know, because it happened to me this weekend. I am living proof.

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6 thoughts on “In defense of HFCS. (Did I really just write that?)

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for posting this, Denis. I’ve gotta say, you still won’t find me eating this stuff though! 😉


  2. InsaneXer

    Has somewhat of a question, even though I am totally against HFCS, when shopping I can sometimes see bread with HFCS in it. Does having 2-3 grams of HFCS affect you a lot? I know it might pile up over the course of time, but just asking.
    I prefer to get bread without HFCS and refined flour.

  3. Prima Ballerina

    It’s an interesting study. I just hate the flip floppping. One day something is OK and the next day you’ll get cancer immediately if you’re in the same room with it.

    An “assortment” of bodily excretions? I can think of one, but…you know what I’m not going to pursue that one. Some things in life should remain a mystery! 🙂


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