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Study: High-fructose Corn Syrup Increases Weight, Body Fat

Researchers at Princeton University found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.


Food Product Design , Mar 23, 2010

Researchers at Princeton University found that rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in triglycerides.

The researchers conducted two experiments in order to investigate the link between HFCS consumption and obesity. The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with HFCS in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the HFCS solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to HFCS over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in HFCS showed signs of metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to HFCS gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet. In humans, this would be equivalent to a 200-pound man gaining 96 pounds.

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