Home Did You Know Study Says Common Food Chemical Packs On Belly Fat

Study Says Common Food Chemical Packs On Belly Fat

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I really, really, reeeeeally wanted to write about Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution,” but something much more compelling came across my desk. Thanks to Ink for sending it over.

We’re all familiar with my disdain for high fructose corn syrup, right? I mean, the stuff’s pretty awful. If you’d like a not-so-quick rundown, check here. It may help you navigate this post.

Apparently, researchers at Princeton put together a study comparing rats fed basic rat food and liquid sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to rats fed the standard chow and liquid sweetened with basic table sugar.

Um, you read the rest:

Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction.

“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” – [source]

Now, I’m not going to use this as an “I told you so” moment – that’s not my M.O. – but I do need to take a moment to make something clear.

I take a lot of flack about this site and my choice of approach to weight loss, health and wellness. The notion that “you don’t need a whole blog to tell people to put the fork down” is turned on its face by studies like this. Why? Because it’s not about “putting the fork down.” Studies like this prove that it’s about making sure you’re aware of what’s on the other end of the fork when you pick it up.

This study further proves that it’s not about the quantity of what you eat (although, let me be clear – there ARE people who eat too much and they CAN get in their own way.) This is validation for the fact that it is the quality of your food, not the quantity. If there is proof that a chemical [that can be found in most of the food we eat] can interfere with the body’s ability to burn the calories that we take in, then it’s much larger than “eat less.” Why? Because if I continue to eat smaller portions of the same harmful foods, I’d still get the negative results. See where I’m going with this?

I’ve long said on this site that the primary goal should be developing and understanding how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, because the pounds come off that much easier at that point. I know this because I’ve lived it, and still live it. If you limit the amount of things in your diet that come from lab chemicals (have you looked at the back of a box of crackers lately? Um…), you decrease the chance of becoming confused by where these changes in your body come from. We should all seek simplicity in our diet… not 4-word-long chemical chains that our body cannot break down.

I never give new science 100% credit or a 100% stamp of approval in any way, so I’d love to see more studies done and see what the fallout is over this, but I’ve got to tell you.. this is major. The majority of policy enacted by our government essentially ignores the quality of the calories we take in. School systems that insist on serving the kids reheated pizzas for breakfast (as shown in that “Food Revolution” show that I really wanted to write about first) use this “quality of calories is unimportant” mentality.

Honestly, what do I see happening? Not much. (Strange, isn’t it?) We still use sugar packets that say “Can contribute to causing cancer” on the side. I doubt there will be any regulation or modification in any way, because the public at large may not call for it, rally for it, demand it. Our politicians only act on something when there’s enough of a rallying cry to threaten their chances of re-election.. and so long as the public is kept in the dark, that rally will never happen.

And that’s okay… I guess.

The public at large deserves the right to make their own choices about whether or not they want this stuff in their food. Those of us who are working toward a healthier lifestyle, however, deserve to know the truth – that this stuff isn’t going to help us get what we want. We deserve to make our choices based off of proper information, and be able to determine – on our own, without the help of corny commercials (no pun intended, I promise) or marketing campaigns – whether or not we want to give our dollars to products or companies that insist on using this stuff.

After allllll that, I say this. Know what you’re eating. We can’t go wrong with the foods our families have healthily enjoyed for decades, centuries, millennia. We take chances on processed foods that make our lives easier, and we suffer those consequences. I’m done with taking chances and I hope you are, too.

All in favor of working to avoid the HFCS, say “Aye!”

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crystal March 31, 2010 - 7:05 PM

i agree, totally. great post!

Tina Fite April 1, 2010 - 9:46 AM

I personally thank you for posting this because for years my family has been struggling with ridding ourselves of HFCS products and since my illness earlier this year, I have been off of them and I feel better than ever! Now if I can only get the rest of my family off of them things would be great, especially since my Father just had a third surgery to remove cancer December of last year. I think this article may just do the trick.

By the way, do you have any articles that refer that there may be a link between cancer and sugar? I would love to read it!

Thanks again!

Lamide April 1, 2010 - 1:48 PM

Um…Aye (been perusing almost everything with crack-ish alertness, lol!)

Tam April 5, 2010 - 10:35 AM

AYE!! I’m trying to eliminate HFCS from my diet and it isn’t too hard except when eating out (which I probably should do less than anyway). It was VERY eye-opening to discover all of the things that have HFCS in them, what is the purpose of HFCS in bread?

PB April 5, 2010 - 10:40 AM


ahhhh giving up hfcs is sooo hard.
it’s in all my condiments! (which i’m trying to wean myself from, just read your original hfcs post…throwing out the bbq sauce tonight *sigh*)
thankfully i’ve stopped eating the majority of processed food and scour ingredients lists whenever i have no other choice. this is why i keep clif bars and fruit in my bag so i don’t get stuck having to eat it.

those corn lobby propaganda commercials about hfcs make me shake my head.
they say it’s fine in moderation…yet it’s in everything hmph

Ben April 11, 2010 - 5:55 PM

Read the labels!

Some bbq sauce doesn’t have hfcs in it. I know our store brand organic ketsup (which is about the same price as the Heinz regular stuff) has cane sugar to sweeten it instead of hfcs.

Mayo is still a-ok (in moderation of course)

I’m noticing that a lot of original recipe stuff, like Franks Red Hot sauce, are good to go but then their variations have hfcs added (Franks Sweet Red Hot for example).

We’ve been mostly hfcs free for about 6 years. I finally got serious about it and now we’re completely there… the bbq sauce was the hardest to adjust to (we’re suckers for Sweet Baby Ray and Famous Dave’s).

It requires some initial time investment up-front to read labels and it can be more expensive (although, as a result of dropping the ‘junk’, I’m also buying less packaged food rather than paying more for alternatives)

Nia June 4, 2010 - 1:20 PM

Aye!! I already knew (in a general vague sense) that HFCS was bad for you and do my best to avoid it. But after reading the findings from this study it makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE as to why the garbage that passes for food makes people feel bad, fat, and coming back for more. Ever since the Clean Eating Challenge, whenever I slip back into eating unhealthy processed foods I 1)can immediately taste the difference – in a bad way 2)feel the difference as well!!

My body absolutely loves the clean eating lifestyle and will not hesitate to remind me how much it doesn’t like that other crap, especially when it contains HFCS. And it really is in everything! Do you know how hard it is to find bread without HFCS unless I specifically go to a Whole Foods type store? It’s ridiculous.

Reading this just makes me that much more determined to stay on my clean eating path and away from HFCS.

Jeloi August 2, 2010 - 12:38 PM

I am new to your site I found it from another sister site called Afrobella. Sister you just don’t know how much you have helped me today. Thanks and continue to write regardless of opposition. Again Thanks!

Lauren March 1, 2011 - 4:01 PM

Yeah I read a long time ago in a book that it definetely adds belly fat. Our bodies were not created to metabolize all those chemicals. So of course it recognized hfcs vs table sugar vs an apple. I mean God knew what He was doing when he made fruits and vegetables. Everything we need to eat he put here. If you follow that rule you will never be unhealthy!!!

Rooo July 20, 2011 - 2:52 PM

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity”

Interestingly, from most of what I’ve read those people usually turn out to be HFCS lobbyist-types.

“Studies like this prove that it’s about making sure you’re aware of what’s on the other end of the fork when you pick it up.”

Sing it.

werknprogress July 26, 2011 - 6:47 PM

I have had countless arguments with folks about this. Its only hard in the beginning because it is new and required time. But once you know it, you know it. There are so many products that taut healthy but is really killing us. SMDH!!!

Savvy's Mom September 9, 2011 - 9:14 AM

YOU ARE ALWAYS on point!!

Shawna September 15, 2011 - 9:51 AM


Suzette October 5, 2011 - 6:33 AM

Thank You, I’m just starting my healthy weight loss journey and this was very helpful.

CeeCee February 22, 2013 - 8:06 PM

Excellent post! Staying vigilant is best! Some people are more concerned with what they put on their body than what goes IN. 🙂

SOS July 8, 2013 - 10:24 PM

I need to go dig up some homemade bbq recipe and tweek it so i can wean myself off of the Sweet Baby Rays stuff i’m hooked on! Lord help me!

Kami November 10, 2013 - 9:12 PM


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