High-fructose corn syrup: Any health concerns?
Medically reviewed on August 14, 2017.
High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks. As use of high-fructose corn syrup has increased, so have levels of obesity and related health problems. Some wonder if there's a connection.
Research has shown that high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar. Controversy exists, however, about whether the body handles high-fructose corn syrup differently than table sugar.
At this time, there's insufficient evidence to say that high-fructose corn syrup is any less healthy than other types of sweeteners.
It is known, however, that too much added sugar of all kinds — not just high-fructose corn syrup — can contribute unwanted calories that are linked to health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels. All of these boost your risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends that most women get no more than 100 calories a day of added sugar from any source, and that most men get no more than 150 calories a day of added sugar. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
If you're concerned about your health, the smart play is to cut back on added sugar, regardless of the type.