What is the connection between HFCS and belly fat?
The average American eats about 136 pounds of added sugar each year. Approximately 57 pounds of this additional sugar is in the form of High Fructose corn Syrup (HFCS). If we look back and compare today’s outrageously high intake of sugar and HFCS to the average American diet in 1966, we see a startling change in the amount of sugar consumption.
In 1966, we ate NO High Fructose Corn Syrup and added sugar averaged about 113 pounds, per person; that’s 23 pounds less than what we consume now. The question is, can simply changing our food not only help us lose weight, but help us lose belly fat as well?
American’s Sugar Consumption and Weight are Both on the Rise
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), women under the age of 50 weigh approximately 27.5 pounds more and are an inch taller than in 1960; men under 50 weigh about 23.5 pounds more and are one and a half inches taller, on average. Older adults also show dramatic weight increases, men between 50 and 59 were nearly 28 pounds heavier, while those between 60 and 74 showed a whopping 33 pound average increase!
With everything we know about the dangers of carrying excess weight, we’re not losing fat; instead, Americans are actually getting bigger and fatter. We need to lose weight fast! We need to learn how to lose fat and improve our health.
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) includes any of a group of corn syrups that have undergone an enzymatic process to convert its glucose into fructose. This fructose is then mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose) to achieve the desired level of sweetness. HFCS is frequently used as a sugar substitute in the United States. It is found in most processed foods and beverages, including yogurt, bread and soft drinks.
The most common varieties of High Fructose Corn Syrup are: HFCS 55 (used mostly in soft drinks), HFCS 55 is comprised of approximately 55% fructose and 42% glucose; and HFCS 42 (used in processed foods, baked goods and other commercially prepared products), HFCS 42 is approximately 42% fructose and 53% glucose. Many critics argue that the extensive use of HFCS in food contributes to weight gain by altering normal appetite functions, and that the use of HFCS in some foods may be a source of mercury.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “it appears unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose”, but it also calls for further independent research on the use of HFCS. In 1976, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified HFCS as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). However, today, over 85% of the corn syrup produced in the U.S. is a genetically modified product. This may be even more reason for concern.
Belly Fat and the Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup
So, what is the problem with HFCS? Does it change your metabolism? Is it simply the danger of consuming another Genetically Modified (GM) food? Or is it simply that we consume too much of it? Whatever the problem, the occurrence of belly fat, or stomach fat, is on the rise and so is the consumption of HFCS.
According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, consuming fructose sweetened beverages increases visceral adiposity, or belly fat. In a small study, fructose was given to one group and glucose to another. For 10 weeks, they received 25% of their calories through either fructose or glucose; as one might expect, both groups gained weight. However, the group that received fructose had more belly fat, higher blood sugar, higher insulin levels, more oxidized cholesterol and less insulin sensitivity.
What does this mean? Higher insulin levels and less insulin sensitivity cause the body to store fat; specifically, belly fat. This is the dangerous visceral fat that has Americans struggling to find the best way to lose belly fat. Losing belly fat is not just about the aesthetic value, excess belly fat poses significant health issues.
If you want to learn how to lose belly fat, you need to lose weight in general. When you begin to shed the extra pounds, you’ll lose belly fat as well. In fact, belly fat is usually the first to go. That’s definitely good news.
How can you avoid HFCS?
High Fructose Corn Syrup is hard to avoid if you eat convenience foods or processed foods. It is used in soft drinks, bread, candy bars, fruit drinks, salad dressings and thousands of other items consumed on a daily basis. If you want to avoid HFCS consider the following:
Avoid fast foods.
Read food labels carefully.
Learn which of your favorite foods do not contain HFCS
Find alternatives to your favorite foods that contain HFCS
Eat foods that you prepare yourself, avoid processed convenience foods.