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Nutrition in the News

Study shows honey has same health effects as high-fructose corn sweetener

Honey has an aura of purity and naturalness. Fresh air, birdsong, forests and meadows.

High-fructose corn sweetener? Not so much.

So you might think that honey is better for you. But a study published this month compared the health effects of honey and the processed sweetener and found no significant differences.

“The effects were essentially the same,” said Susan K. Raatz, a research nutritionist at the USDA who conducted the study with two colleagues.

The belief that corn sweetener may be harmful – linked to obesity or diabetes – has helped sink consumption of it over the last 10 years. Researchers at the USDA decided to put that belief to the test. The honey industry, likely hoping that that honey’s suspected health benefits might be proven, helped fund the effort.

The researchers gave subjects daily doses of each of three sweeteners – honey, cane sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener – for two weeks at a time. They then compared measures of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in the 55 subjects.

The researchers found that the three sweeteners basically have the same impacts. Most measures were unchanged by the sweeteners. One measure of a key blood fat, a marker for heart disease, rose with all three.

“Honey is thought of as more natural whereas white sugar and high fructose corn syrup are processed from the cane or the beet or the corn,” said Raatz, whose paper appears in the Journal of Nutrition. “We wanted to find out if they were different. But chemically, they are very, very similar, and that’s what it seems to break down to.”

When it comes to consumer perceptions, the trouble for corn sweetener arises at least in part from its name – “high fructose” may suggest that it contains much more fructose than the other sweeteners, though it doesn’t. Honey, meanwhile, maintains a halo. It is not for nothing that the Kellogg Company renamed Sugar Smacks to Honey Smacks.

The marketers “made a big mistake when they called it ‘high-fructose corn syrup,’ ” said Raatz. “A sweetener is a sweetener, no matter the source.”

© 2015, The Washington Post

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Lauren Eisman

Great show us this study!!
I can assure you that IF it is a real study, Thre honey they used has been processed greatly. Which means no longer are the nutritional aspects available, leaving only sugar. Therefor I must disagree with the “sugar is sugar” theory. It’s bullshit. An apple is not the same as a lollipop, no matter what excuse you come up with trying to make that make sense. The human body relies on sugars to function, period. Without sugars (from fruits, coconuts and raw unprocessed honeys) we would have no energy. The human body does NOT RUN ON PROTEIN. So understand that as long as the body can both RECOGNIZE AND ASSIMILATE the form of sugar, it will use it and then eliminate what is not used. The processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame, the human body has no idea what do with which then creates imbalances. This is the issue with sugar: those that are processed and synthetic cause havoc. Those that are raw and natural give energy. Period.

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Yea don’t buy it! USDA has sold out to Monsanto long ago and will report fake made up bullshit studies like this to sell their GMO corn HFCS. I would take anything naturally made vs made by chemical companies, common sence people.

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This article is unsubstantiated without the proof of the study. Where is the link? This kind of unverified journalism is for sheeple.

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Elise Frappier

Sugar is sugar, it’s going to cause trouble. Regardless of what this “study” says (measuring on 55 subjects for two weeks isn’t what I’d call serious…) Honey is slightly better (about 75-80% sucrose content) than unrefined cane sugar (100% sucrose)., and high fructose corn syrup (100% fructose-glucose) can’t be compared over two weeks as its effects will show over years of consumption. Maple syrup is the best real sugar with some nutrients and only 60% fructose.

Such a study does not account for real long term effects of a high sugar consumption and therefore can’t properly account for some of the benefits to the more unrefined, natural sugars. But I would point out that regardless of nutrients, sugar is sugar, no matter the source: IT’S BAD FOR YOU. You do not NEED sugar to live, this is a lie created by the sugar industry. Sugar is cocaine, literally. You crave it, it triggers the brain in the same way, and both have nasty consequences on your health.

In the meantime we declare marijuana illegal and bad where studies show no real damage, while we drink alcohol all the time and feed lots of sugar to our kids and ourselves, with all the knowns nasty and lasting negative effects it has on our health. What a world we live in…

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