High fructose corn syrup, a very common sweetener used in soft drinks and just about anything else that was sweetened by sugar, is worse than using sugar. A recent study conducted by the University of California concluded that while people who consumed beverages sweetened by sugar or high fructose corn syrup would both gain about the same amount of weight. However, those who consumed only the fructose sweetened beverages exhibited an increase in intra abdominal fat. These same people also became less sensitive to insulin-which every one produces and controls the glucose level in the blood.) The level of lipids (fat soluble molecules) also increased.
Other studies have shown that for obese people, fructose sweetened beverages can have some very bad side effects such as an increase of triglycerides following meals where the beverages were consumed. Risk of gout is increased as well.
We knew that fructose sweetened beverages-as well as those using sugar-have also been linked to weight gain, but yet another study showed that while subjects who consumed the fructose sweetened beverages gained weight, they actually ate less. Even so, they gained significantly more body fat.
The larger issue with fructose is that in humans, fructose does not fully trigger all of the hormonal systems involved in the control of food intake and metabolism.
From my own personal experience, I KNOW that fructose sweetened soft drinks do have an effect on your weight. Several years ago, I was addicted to Root Beer, specifically Barq’s and Frosty. Yeah, weird I know. Then, I woke up one day feeling miserable. I decided to lose some weight. The first thing I did was cut out the sugary soda. I started drinking more water and sugar-free drinks. Problem was that I failed to do little else. After a few weeks, I got a few comments from both family and friends. “Are you losing weight?” and “What kind of diet are you on?”. Well, I wasn’t on a specific diet and was not doing anything in particular to lose weight other than cutting out the sugary soda. I lost about ten pound over a couple of months. I did later on go on the Atkins Diet. That lasted about a year and I eventually lost about forty pounds, of which I have gained about twenty back. I am working on losing it again.
I’m not advocating a ban on fructose or anything like that. I think such crusades are a waste of time and effort. The whole anti-trans fat campaign was ridiculous, though effective. No, I think people need to be aware of the negative aspects of fructose and adjust habits accordingly. There is nothing that is 100% safe, but there are things we can do to mitigate the bad stuff.