October 18, 2015

There's no Sugarcoating it. Sugar is Sugar.

Recently, there was an article in the Lincoln Journal Star on USDA's research comparing honey, cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The findings of the study are very positive, however, the headline of this article was not so sweet.

While the headline read "Honey is just as bad as high-fructose corn sweetener", the story actually reported on USDA research that found honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and cane sugar to have essentially the same impact on human metabolism in terms of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, the researcher is quoted as saying, "A sweetener is a sweetener, no matter the source."  In other words, sugar is sugar is sugar—and the key to sugar consumption, regardless of the source, is moderation.

So, in effect, the headline could have easily been written to say that honey is as bad as cane sugar—or that honey was found to be as good as HFCS.  Unfortunately, the headline—which is what many readers use to form opinions without reading the story itself—reinforced the myth that HFCS is "bad sugar."

There is no question that public interest in food has grown dramatically.  At the same time, so has the level of misinformation and misunderstanding.  It doesn't help when an important story that can actually provide positive research-based information is carelessly mislabeled by a headline that leads the public further astray. So, if you ever have any questions about HFCS, please do not hesitate to reach out to the staff at the Nebraska Corn Board.  Additionally, below are some answers to some FAQ's about sugar.

Here’s the skinny on sugar…

What’s the difference between the sugar in fruit and the sugar in soda?
  • There is no difference. The sugars found in fruits and vegetables are the same as those found in sugar cane, sugar beets and high-fructose corn syrup: fructose and glucose. Fruits and vegetables bring the added benefit of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients that are not available in sugars alone.
How does the body metabolize excess sugar?
  • Consuming excess glucose or fructose will result in excess body fat, leading to elevated levels of blood sugar. These processes happen in the human body regardless of the sugar source
Does sugar cause diabetes?
  • Sugar itself is not a direct cause of diabetes. Diabetes is made worse when a person gains excess body fat through consumption of excess food of any type—starch, protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc.

For more information, visit: sweetsurprise.com

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