Is HFCS the Devil’s Candy? (Part 3)


Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News quoted a woman who accused the Corn Refiners Association of misquoting doctors who are against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and making it sound as if they are actually in favor.

Dr. Mark Hyman devoted a long column to the topic of “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You,” and began by discussing the special targeting of physicians by food industry persuaders who want to win them over to the HFCS side. He wrote:

I received a 12-page color glossy monograph from the Corn Refiners Association reviewing the ‘science’ that HFCS was safe and no different than cane sugar. I assume the other 700,000 physicians in America received the same propaganda at who knows what cost.

In addition to this, I received a special ‘personal’ letter from the Corn Refiner’s Association outlining every mention of the problems with HFCS in our diet — whether in print, blogs, books, radio or television. They warned me of the errors of my ways and put me on ‘notice’. For what I am not sure. To think they are tracking this (and me) that closely gives me an Orwellian chill.

Now, on to the “5 Homicidal Tendencies of High Fructose Corn Syrup,” as told to Dr. Hyman by nutritional scientist Dr. Bruce Ames. Only the briefest outline will be given here:

1. “Sugar in any form causes obesity and disease when consumed in pharmacologic doses.”

2. “HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body.”

Dr. Ames is associated with the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, where he and a group of scientists found that because of the composition of HFCS, it takes more energy for food to be absorbed during digestion, and also messes with the phosphorus balance there.

Dr. Hyman explains the problem:

High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia and accelerated aging.

3. “HFCS contains contaminants including mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA.”

4. “Independent medical and nutrition experts DO NOT support the use of HCFS in our diet, despite the assertions of the corn industry.”

This section goes into detail about whose words have been misquoted, misrepresented and misconstrued, and how.

5. “HFCS is almost always a marker of poor-quality, nutrient-poor disease creating industrial food products or ‘food-like substances.’”

Dr. Hyman wraps it up by boiling it down to two essential issues:

1. We are consuming HFCS and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history — 140 pounds a year vs. 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago.
2. High fructose corn syrup is always found in very poor quality foods that are nutritionally vacuous and filled with all sorts of other disease promoting compounds, fats, salt, chemicals and even mercury.

He also notes that government farm bill subsidies are part of the problem, and in this he is not alone.

In Overweight: What Kids Say, Dr. Pretlow wrote:

High fructose corn syrup is probably no unhealthier than table sugar, but it’s significantly cheaper to produce and use, due to the U.S government’s corn subsidies… Industrial mass production today makes such pleasure affordable and available to everyone, most notably kids. But such pleasure may be addicting and may result in obesity at an early age.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You,”, 05/13/11
Image by US Army Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources