There is overwhelming evidence that a link between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes in children exists. Research has shown that high fructose corn syrup is worse than table sugar in increasing the risk factor for diabetes. High fructose corn syrup is processed by the body much more slowly than sugar. When it reaches the liver, it is not converted into energy. Instead it is directly converted to fat. The result of a fatty liver is weight gain and this leads to high blood sugar levels. Many health officials claim that another factor that contributes to weight gain, and eventually diabetes, is the hunger that high fructose corn syrup can cause.
One particular study that analyzed the effects of high fructose corn syrup on the development of diabetes involved 16 subjects who were given a special diet consisting of high levels of high fructose corn syrup. The study resulted in subjects who showed signs of abnormalities related to food processing that is commonly seen in diabetics. Researchers also observed abnormalities that were linked to heart disease and noticed how new fat cells were produced around the subjects' hearts while on the diet.
Another group of volunteers were put on a diet that replaced high fructose corn syrup with sugar. Those subjects did not experience the same kinds of abnormalities seen in the group that was put on the high fructose corn syrup diet. Although both groups of volunteers gained similar amounts of weight, the researchers were convinced that the group that consumed high fructose corn syrup would put on significantly more weight if the study were to continue. This is important to note, since weight gain is strongly linked to elevated blood sugar levels.
Previously, these kinds of studies were performed on rats. Since it has been performed on humans, researchers have been able to better understand the relationship between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes in humans. Other studies from the last decade have shown that an increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup and less fiber can increase the chances of getting diabetes by a factor of 20.
How Does This Affect Children?
We can understand the link between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes in children by the fact that children consume more high fructose corn-sweetened drinks than any other age group. Although high fructose corn syrup is most common in sodas, children who don’t drink soda still have a lot to worry about. That’s because high fructose corn syrup is everywhere; it’s in hot dogs, breakfast cereals, peanut butter, jams, yogurt, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, breads and even some pasta brands.
Despite the fact that there has been evidence of how high fructose corn syrup and diabetes in children are connected, this harmful substance has stayed on the market for so long for a number of reasons. Taxes on sugar lead manufacturers to depend on another source of sweetener. Furthermore, high fructose corn syrup is already far cheaper than any other form of sweetener. It has a longer shelf life than many other kinds of sweeteners as well. Hopefully, something will be done in the future to prevent this substance from getting into the hands of children. For now, parents should make sure their kids steer clear of this harmful substance so that these kids can avoid diabetes in their adult life.