Study Blames Corn Syrup for Rise of Diabetes

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Corn syrup and other refined foods may be partly responsible for
the huge increase in type 2 diabetes in the U.S. over the past
few decades.

A study of nearly 100 years of data on what Americans eat show a
huge increase in processed carbohydrates, especially corn syrup,
and a large drop in the amount of fiber from whole grains, fruits
and vegetables.

Starting in 1980, people started consuming steadily more
calories, with an average increase in total calories of about 500
calories a day. Nearly 80% of the increase in total calories came
from carbohydrates. During the same period, the prevalence of
diabetes increased by 47% and obesity increased by 85%.

But instead of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, people are
getting more and more of their carbs in the form of processed
grains and sugars – most of all, in corn syrup.

The lead researcher of the study said “It is hard to ignore the
fact that 20% of our carbohydrates are coming from corn syrup –
10% of our total calories.”

An estimated 16 million Americans have diabetes, the sixth
leading cause of death. Many studies have linked a high intake of
refined carbohydrates and other foods with a high “glycemic
index” to the development of diabetes.

Foods with a high glycemic index cause a spike in insulin
production. Over time, repeatedly eating foods in this pattern
can cause insulin resistance, which in turn leads to diabetes.

Bottom line: Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
Replace refined grains with whole grains. Reduce consumption of
soft drinks and other beverages containing corn syrup or other
sweeteners. Minimize processed convenience foods that contain
“high fructose corn syrup”.

Source: Gross, LS et al, Increased consumption of refined
carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United
States: an ecologic assessment. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004