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J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1219S-1227S. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.097998. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

Misconceptions about high-fructose corn syrup: is it uniquely responsible for obesity, reactive dicarbonyl compounds, and advanced glycation endproducts?

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White Technical Research, Argenta, IL 62501, USA.


Misconceptions about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) abound in the scientific literature, the advice of health professionals to their patients, media reporting, product advertising, and the irrational behavior of consumers. Foremost among these is the misconception that HFCS has a unique and substantive responsibility for the current obesity crisis. Inaccurate information from ostensibly reliable sources and selective presentation of research data gathered under extreme experimental conditions, representing neither the human diet nor HFCS, have misled the uninformed and created an atmosphere of distrust and avoidance for what, by all rights, should be considered a safe and innocuous sweetener. In the first part of this article, common misconceptions about the composition, functionality, metabolism, and use of HFCS and its purported link to obesity are identified and corrected. In the second part, an emerging misconception, that HFCS in carbonated soft drinks contributes materially to physiological levels of reactive dicarbonyl compounds and advanced glycation endproducts, is addressed in detail, and evidence is presented that HFCS does not pose a unique dietary risk in healthy individuals or diabetics.

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