When it comes to junk foods, are all sugars equal? Not according to new research, which found a link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and diabetes.
The study, published in Global Public Health, found that type 2 diabetes mellitus is 20 percent higher in countries that eat lots of this manufactured sugar in processed foods, like soda, ketchup, yogurt and bread. What's more: the U.S. tops the list, consuming 55 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per person each year—out of a whopping 151 pounds of added sugar overall.
While the study doesn’t prove that high-fructose corn syrup causes diabetes, research has shown that this super sweet syrup is processed differently by the body from regular table sugar, leading to a possible increase in insulin resistance—one of the risk factors of diabetes. That doesn't mean it's necessarily worse than regular sugar (more research is needed), but that's not necessarily a detail worth getting caught up on...is it?
For your best health, the American Heart Association recommends that you get no more than 150 calories a day from all added sugars (that's about the same amount found in a can of soda), and these tips can help you cut your intake:
- Slowly stop adding sugar to foods like coffee, tea or cereal. Instead, boost flavor with an artificial sweetener—or even better, spices like ginger or cinnamon.
- Eat more fruit. Naturally high in sugar, fruit will satisfy your craving for sweetness, while providing valuable vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
- Pick whole foods. The fewer processed, packaged foods you consume—and the fewer ingredients listed on their labels—the better off you'll be. Period. High-fructose corn syrup can hide out in some surprising places, so always check the ingredient list, even on that loaf of bread or that frozen pizza.