Diabetes Rates Higher in Countries Using Lots of High Fructose Corn Syrup: Study

But critics say this research doesn't prove the sweetener is any worse than other sugars

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Put another way, he said that, "It's a question of the good, the bad and the ugly, with an apple -- which has about 10 grams of fructose in it -- being good, the fructose in [table] sugar being bad, and the fructose in high fructose corn syrup being the ugly."

An industry representative condemned the research as "severely flawed."

In a statement, Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said that the study cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship. "Just because an ingredient is available in a nation's diet does not mean it is uniquely the cause of a disease," she said. Looking at data from the study, she noted that "even though Japan consumes more high fructose corn syrup every year than Mexico, the prevalence rates of diabetes in Japan are about half of Mexico."

Erickson said, "The common sense message for consumers to understand is to watch their intake of all calories, including all added sugars."

One nutritionist not connected to either the study or the industry agreed with that sentiment.

Lona Sandon is a registered dietician and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She said that, "no matter what the added sugar is -- honey, agave, sugar, or high fructose corn syrup -- we should not be consuming it. In fact, honey and agave syrup have higher levels of fructose than high fructose corn syrup, but people think they're somehow better for us because they're 'natural.' But all of these things feed a craving for sweetness, which really is an acquired taste that we learn to seek out. Like a drug. So we have to come to reality here, and learn to stop doing that."

More information

There's much more on diabetes at the American Diabetes Association.

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