High-Fructose Corn Syrup Raises Triglycerides

HFCS and triglycerides

High fructose corn syrup linked to higher triglyceride levels in studies.

High-fructose corn syrup harms our health in many ways, including raising our triglycerides. This is the finding of clinical scientific research.

Triglyceride levels raised in study

A 2011 study from the Department of Internal Medicine at Eberhard-Karls University in Germany confirmed that high-fructose corn syrup significantly raises triglyceride levels.

The research was performed on twenty healthy volunteers with an average age of 30 years old. They were given 150 grams of very high fructose or glucose for four weeks. Both the fructose and the glucose groups experienced decreased insulin sensitivity, but only the fructose group experienced higher triglyceride levels.

Triglycerides are associated with very low density lipoproteins. VLDL is associated with artery disease due to the peroxidation of lipids. This produces free radicals which damage the arteries and tissues of the body, producing cardiovascular disease.

Another study confirms findings

This study confirms a twenty-four hour metabolic study that was done at the University of California-Davis in 2008. That study gave 24 human subjects either sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, and measured metabolic levels over a 24-hour period. While triglyceride levels changed little just following the meal, levels changed significantly the next morning, over the baseline prior to sucrose or HFCS consumption.

The resulting triglyceride levels among the sucrose group increased by 28 mg/dl while the triglyceride levels increased by 19 mg/dl among the high fructose corn syrup group. The increased levels of triglycerides were significantly higher among those men and women with higher body fat. Women over 32% body fat increased by 29 mg/dl for sucrose and 16 for HFCS, while men over 22% body fat increased by 48 mg/dl for sucrose and 22 for HFCS.

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Leptin levels also raised

In this study, the researchers also found that leptin levels were significantly raised by both sucrose and HFCS. However, the raised levels of leptin were about the same between sucrose and HFCS. Raised leptin levels are associated with overeating.

Refined sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. While refined sucrose has dominated the food processing industry for many decades, HFCS has recently replaced sucrose as the dominant sweetener. It is estimated that HFCS is used as a sweetener in about 40% of sweetened foods and beverages in the United States.

This research illustrates that both refined sugars and refined fructose are damaging to our health, because they both raise triglyceride levels, insulin levels and leptin levels. However, the German study showed that glucose alone did not raise triglycerides.


Silbernagel G, Machann J, Unmuth S, Schick F, Stefan N, Häring HU, Fritsche A. Effects of 4-week very-high-fructose/glucose diets on insulin sensitivity, visceral fat and intrahepatic lipids: an exploratory trial. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jul;106(1):79-86. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

Stanhope KL, Griffen SC, Bair BR, Swarbrick MM, Keim NL, Havel PJ. Twenty-four-hour endocrine and metabolic profiles following consumption of high-fructose corn syrup-, sucrose-, fructose-, and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1194-203.

Case Adams, PhD

Case Adams has a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, is a California Naturopath and is Board Certified as an Alternative Medicine Practitioner, with clinical experience and diplomas in Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 27 books and numerous articles on print and online magazines. Contact: [email protected]

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