Food & Drink

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption Plummets In America Amid Backlash

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2011, file photo, high fructose corn syrup is listed as an ingredient on a can of soda in Philadelphia. Scientists have used imaging tests to show for the first time that fructose, a sugar that saturates the American diet, can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating. The study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, is a small study and does not prove that fructose or its relative, high-fructose corn syrup, can cause obesity, but experts say it adds evidence they may play a role. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2011, file photo, high fructose corn syrup is listed as an ingredient on a can of soda in Philadelphia. Scientists have used imaging tests to show for the first time that fructose, a sugar that saturates the American diet, can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating. The study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, is a small study and does not prove that fructose or its relative, high-fructose corn syrup, can cause obesity, but experts say it adds evidence they may play a role. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Americans consumed less high-fructose corn syrup in 2011 than at any point since 1997, Bloomberg reported this week. The USDA estimates that the average American ate 131 calories worth of corn sweeteners a day this year, down 16 percent from 2007.

The decline follows several years of bad press for high-fructose corn syrup. Some have attacked it as bad-tasting, while many have argued that eating it is bad for your health. One recent study suggested that the brains of people who ate lots of fructose don't register as satiated, while another demonstrated a correlation between high-fructose corn syrup consumption and higher rates of type 2 diabetes.

The corn industry has responded to this PR onslaught by claiming that high-fructose corn syrup had been "unfairly maligned," and that it is no worse for human health than any other kind of sweetener. Some studies have supported this argument.

If the corn industry is right, the recent estimates on sweetener consumption contain some troubling news as well. Sugar consumption rose 8.8 percent between 2007 and 2011, indicating that some consumers just shifted from one type of sweetener to another.

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