You’ve heard that high fructose corn syrup may be bad for you, and you’re wondering about how it can affect your risk of developing diabetes. While there is much debate about the healthiness of high fructose corn syrup, here are a few things that could influence the odds of having problems with diabetes.
Since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup, there’s been a rise of obesity in the United States. As such, it’s believed that high fructose corn syrup may be part of the cause. There’s talk about the possibility that the body may have trouble breaking down high fructose corn syrup, thereby causing more weight for your body.
In addition, high fructose corn syrup is composed of 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Refined sugar, in contrast, is made of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. While this may make them seem similar, sugar is made of pairs of fructose and glucose molecules joined together as a single molecule, while high fructose corn syrup is made up of fructose and glucose molecules separately. This means that while eating something with high fructose corn syrup, there are more molecules to stimulate the receptors of the tongue, which are responsible for detecting sweetness, than with refined sugar.
This translates to our brain as a desire to eat more of the food with high fructose corn syrup than we’d crave if that same food had refined sugar. Overeating means eating more calories than are being burned, which means more fat stored in the body. Excessive fat stored in the body can lead to obesity. Since obese people are at a higher risk of diabetes, eating too many foods with high fructose corn syrup can lead to diabetes.
#2: Insulin Resistance
Research with rodents has shown that consumption of too much fructose leads to insulin resistance, a key component that leads to diabetes. The cause of this comes from a number of chemical reactions that take place in your body to convert fructose to glucose. While these reactions are taking place, it uses up a chemical in your body called adenosine-5-triphosphate, or ATP.
ATP is used in many other chemical reactions in your body, including delivery of oxygen to your body tissue. When too much fructose is consumed, including high fructose corn syrup, your ATP can be depleted, putting your body into a state of distress. This state of distress causes insulin resistance.
A US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Resource Center study determined that consumption of high fructose corn syrup causes a drop in the chromium levels in your body, which raises LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These are risk factors that can lead to diabetes.
High fructose corn syrup is not a primary source of diabetes, but like any sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. As long as you consume high fructose corn syrup with a balanced diet, with plenty of vitamins and minerals your body needs, you should be okay. If you have any concerns, talk to your health care professional about your risks for diabetes, including the amount of high fructose corn syrup you should have in your diet.