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					                   School Nutrition Program
                                    The Nutrition Facts
   Eater’s                           Page for Students
  Digest                                                      December 2008

                  Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Obesity?
  Humans may be born without teeth, but they have a “sweet tooth” right from the start - which means
  that they like things that taste sweet. It is thought that the reason for this is so that babies will like
                            the taste of foods that have nutrients and energy that they need to grow - foods
                            like breast milk and fruits. Sugar is sweet and it can be found naturally in
                            many nutritious foods. Milk, fruit, honey, maple syrup, and some vegetables
                            are examples of foods that have sugar in them. Sugar can also be added to
                            foods and drinks to make them taste sweet. You do not have to look far these
                            days to find foods that contain added sugars. High Fructose Corn Syrup or
  HFCS, is one sugar that is added to lots of foods and drinks to make them sweet. HFCS has the same
  sweetness as table sugar but is cheaper since it is made out of corn instead of sugar cane - making it
  the sweetener of choice for many food makers. HFCS is found in soft drinks, baked goods, tomato
  soup, bar-b-que sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressings, energy bars, cereals, syrup, jams,
  jellies...the list goes on and on.

  Widespread use of HFCS in the US began in 1970, reached its peak around 1999, and then leveled off.
  Also during the 30 years between 1970 and 2000, obesity rates in this country grew to epidemic
  proportions. Are these facts somehow related? Could HFCS be causing obesity? That has been the
  subject of a continuing debate.

  Some researchers believe that HFCS is dangerous and may be linked to the obesity crisis. They think
  that eating foods and drinks with HFCS may cause you to eat more. They also think that HFCS
  causes your body to make more fat. However, research data that have just come out say that HFCS
  does not effect appetite and is not linked to obesity anymore than other sugars.
  Researchers say that your body cannot tell the difference between HFCS and regular table sugar.

  True, obesity rates began to climb about the same time that HFCS came onto the scene. However,
  over the last 35 years or so Americans have been eating more of everything, not just HFCS. Obesity
  is a complex condition that cannot be blamed on one ingredient in our vast food supply. A
  combination of many factors including genetics, higher total calorie intakes, and less physical activity
  is more likely the reason for the increases in obesity. Nutrition experts explain weight gain as a
  result of taking in more calories than your body uses. Those extra calories could come from
  lots of different foods with and without HFCS. The more likely link between HFCS and
  obesity is that it is in many of the foods Americans love and are eating a bunch of. The
  bottom line is that eating more calories than you can burn off will lead to weight gain.

See Page 2 for tips on eating healthy.
                       School Nutrition Program
                                          The Nutrition Facts
   Eater’s                                 Page for Students
  Digest                                                   December 2008            Page 2

     The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans      To find out about any added sugars in a food or
                                                      product, you will need to look at the ingredients
     say to “choose and prepare foods and
     beverages with little added sugars.”             list. Ingredients are always listed in order of
                                                      most to least by weight. So you can find the
                                                      main ingredients at the beginning of the list.
     To see if a food has added sugars, look at the   There are many types of sugars that are used in
     package. Sometimes the label will tell you that  foods. Added sugars could be listed as: brown
     the food is “sugar-free” or has “no added        sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose,
     sugars.” The Nutrition Facts Panel on foods will fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high
                                                      fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar,
                                                      lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw
                                                      sugar, sucrose, or syrup. If one of these is listed
                                                      first or second, you will know that the food or
                                                      product is high in sugar.

                                                                   Follow these tips from to lower the
                                                                   amount of High Fructose Corn Syrup and other added
                                                                   sugars in your diet:
                                                                    Eat fewer processed foods
     list the amount of total sugars a serving of that              
                                                                    Avoid foods that contain added sugar
     food contains. Unfortunately, the amount of                    
                                                                    Choose fresh fruit over fruit juice or drinks
     sugar listed does not tell you how much of it is               
                                                                    Choose fruit canned in light syrup or fruit juice
     added sugar and how much is found in the food                  
                                                                    Drink less soda, order small portion sizes
     naturally. Some foods have natural sugar, for                  
                                                                    Make sure sweetened drinks do not replace milk in
     example milk has lactose or milk sugar in it and                  children’s diets
     fruits have fructose or fruit sugar in them.

                                                                All foods, including sweets, can fit into a healthy
    To find out have much total sugar is in one serving of a
    food, divide the grams of sugar (remember, this includes
                                                                diet. Moderation is the key to eating the things
    natural and added sugars) listed on the Nutrition Facts     you like without missing out on the good things
    Label by 4. The answer will be the number of teaspoons      your body needs to stay healthy.
    of added sugar in each serving. For example, if according
    to the Nutrition Facts Label, a serving of food has 20      Mary E. Albert, MS, RD
    grams of sugar, then you will get 5 teaspoons of sugar in   Shared Dietitian for
    each serving (20 ÷ 4 = 5).                                  Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro Schools

   For More Information about the High Fructose Corn Syrup debate:

   The Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

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