I can link to thousands of sources from all types of studies, but I don't know which one to believe. http://www.sweetsurprise.com/ looks like a lobbyist site, but they link to third party studies, but I have no idea if they were funded by them or not.

"Corn syrup just looks like syrup and looking at it, it has to be bad", or that's what friends say. When I read about it tho it's made from all natural things. They basically convert it to fructose which in essence is fruit sugar, no?

I'm just super skeptical because people have said all my life I'll get fat if I drink this much sugar. They've said I'll get diabetes (and it even runs in my family). My dentist said it'll rot my teeth and said it'll ruin the glue of my braces when I was a child and they'd come off. None of this has happened in the 20 years of drinking soda. I drink a can in the morning, can at can for lunch, can for dinner, and then 1 - 2 cans at night. No one I know who drinks lots of soda has any issues either and the one friend I know who has diabetes only ate healthy as a child.

I just mention soda because it has the highest amount of HFCS (or so I've read).


For those who wanted clarification on "bad for you". Bad for you in my mind means kills you or ends up making you sick or gives you a shorter life span.

==EDIT 2==

Since this is so "subjective" I'll try to make it as clear as possible:

Has it ever been shown that there is a difference in lifespan in an average daily use of HFCS and someone who's never used it?

Change HFCS to something obviously not good for you, like drinking rubbing alcohol. A constant, daily ingestion of it will destroy your liver and do all sorts of damage. I can link to articles about it and tell you exactly the difference in people who drink it and those who don't. That's what I'm asking. What's the difference, and what are the risks.

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    You need to define "bad for you" (please note the big red "SUBJECTIVE QUESTION" warning you got when you submitted this question) more specifically. Otherwise every answer will be both right and wrong, for variable values of "bad" and "you". Also, for those who want to answer this question, wikipedia has a lot of reference material for this question so it should be relatively easy to approach this question with a number of studies. Be careful though - HFCS is NOT the same as Fructose, so some studies don't apply.
    – Adam Davis
    May 27, 2011 at 18:49
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    Just some clarification: 1. The diabetes mentioned is type II diabetes, which typically you get from being overweight. 2. Yes, eating loads of carbohydrates can make you fat. The claim is often that HFCS is worse than other sugars, such as cane sugar. That eating loads of sugar is bad for you is pretty well established and HFCS is sugars.As you say this is not the same as that question it becomes very unclear what you actually are asking? That sugars is bad for you? May 27, 2011 at 20:43
  • @Lennart: It's also true that, in some situations, easily digested calories are exactly what you want. In those situations, HFCS may be ideal. May 28, 2011 at 3:59
  • @Adam I updated the answer with what "bad for you" means. @Lennart My question is, sugar isn't bad for you obviously, so why do people say HFCS is bad for you? There are numerous studies of why its bad, and numerous why its not. Everyone should know sugar isnt bad for you; thats not what im asking. May 28, 2011 at 18:02
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    Whats the point of even talking about health than ever? I used the word "shorter" for a reason; it's relative. Everything will kill you in the end, no? My question is answerable. Its as simple as "Yes, people who eat HFCS on a daily basis have a 50% chance of dying before someone who never had it from X disease, here is the study(ies)" or, "No, there has never been a study in which HFCS has shown to decrease the lifespan of someone who has eaten it on a daily basis, here are the study(ies)." May 30, 2011 at 6:03

2 Answers 2


There is emerging evidence of a small effect suggesting HFCS is worse than sucrose and increases prevalence of diabetes and obesity

There is, superficially at least, some reason to doubt that HFCS should be bad. Conventional sugar (chemically sucrose) is made of the smaller sugar molecules glucose and fructose and as wikipedia points out:

In humans and other mammals, sucrose is broken down into its constituent monosaccharides, glucose and fructose, by sucrase or isomaltase glycoside hydrolases, which are located in the membrane of the microvilli lining the duodenum. The resulting glucose and fructose molecules are then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

But HFCS contains more fructose. And there is some emerging evidence that is is digested differently which may have a health impact. As the BMJ summary of a recent study reports:

Evidence is growing that the body metabolises fructose differently from glucose: independently of insulin and primarily in the liver, where it is converted to fat. This may be contributing to the rise in the prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that is increasing among Hispanic people in the US and Mexico.

The study itself looked for measurable health differences between those countries that typically use different amounts of HFCS in their diets (regulation and economics result in sweetened drinks using different mixes of sugars, some countries use no HFCS at all). The study's (study is here, but paywalled) key conclusion is summarised by the BMJ report:

The research, published in Global Public Health, looked at average body mass index, diabetes prevalence, sugar intake, and HFCS intake in 42 countries around the world.1 The information came from a variety of sources, including the International Diabetes Federation and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.

It found that of the 42 countries studied the United States had the highest per capita consumption of HFCS at a rate of 25 kg (55 lb) a year. Second was Hungary, with an annual consumption of 16 kg per person. Canada, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Belgium, were also relatively high consumers of HFCS.

Countries with per capita consumption of less than 0.5 kg a year included Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Altogether 14 countries, including India, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria, consumed no HFCS.

The analysis found that countries with high use of HFCS had an average prevalence of type 2 diabetes of 8%, whereas in countries that didn’t use HFCS prevalence was 6.7% (P=0.03). High consumption countries also had a higher average fasting plasma glucose concentration (5.34 versus 5.22 mmol/L (P=0.03)). The results were independent of total sugar intake and prevalence of obesity.

So, in summary, there are several metrics that suggest there is a significant but small difference in measurable metabolic features associated with HFCS and that this is associated with a difference in the levels of diabetes.

Note, though, that some of the differences are small and it is always hard to remove confounding in studies like this so the best view of the conclusions may change with further evidence. Perhaps more significantly sugary drinks are bad for you. That the ingredients used in some countries are marginally worse is less significant than the fact that drinking them at all makes you fatter and less healthy.


Here are a couple of studies from from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, Weight Gain, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle-Aged Women JAMA. 2004;292(8):927-934. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.927

Caloric Sweetener Consumption and Dyslipidemia Among US Adults JAMA. 2010;303(15):1490-1497. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.449

These studies seem to indicate that increasing the amount of soda you drink (and consequently HFCS) can lead to weight gain and associated health risks (like obesity and type 2 diabetes). If what you are asking is something along the lines of "is HFCS poison", then I think the answer is no. As indicated in the study, however, consumption of excess calories (which is easy when you are drinking a lot of soda every day) can be a problem. The problem seems to be more the consumption of large amounts of calories.

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    The trouble with this is is doesn't differentiate between too many sweet drinks and too many sweet drinks containing HFCS.
    – matt_black
    Nov 27, 2012 at 18:28

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