High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been blamed for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and multiple other ills – but is its bad rap deserved? Up until recently research consistently showed that it has the same effect on appetite, calorie intake, and even insulin levels as regular table sugar. However, it may create more damage than we thought due to its production of reactive carbonyls – compounds that are thought to cause tissue damage in humans and lead to problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Another interesting finding is that carbonation seems to increase the amount of these reactive carbonyls, whereas tea seems to decrease it. Soda had 6 times as much reactive carbonyls as teas made with HFCS, and fruit drinks with HFCS had a third as much.
The average American drinks 38 gallons of HFCS-sweetened soda each year, making it our primary source of HFCS. Maybe it’s time to kick the can, grab our BPA-free water bottles and quench our thirst with good old-fashioned H2O.