Today, Businessweek reported a lab study that discovered fructose may cause certain fat cells in children to multiply faster. Thus this component of high-fructose corn syrup may increase the chances of childhood and adult obesity, which in turn increases the risk of diabetes. Scientists soaked visceral fat cells (which live deep in the abdomen) in fructose, and found that they multiplied more than those soaked in glucose; both visceral and subcutaneous cells (just below the skin) showed increased insulin resistance, which is a property of diabetes.
Keri Gans, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, cautioned that direct conclusions cannot be drawn between lab tests involving human cells and lab tests involving actual humans, though she stated that consuming sugar of any kind leads to an increase in calories, and too many calories lead to weight gain. (We knew this.) James Rippe, a consultant for the Corn Refiners Association, rebutted that while HFCS has been linked to diabetes, it is not the same as pure fructose, the sugar involved in this study. He clarified, “High-fructose corn syrup is half fructose and half glucose.” Oh, it’s only half? In that case, pass the Coca-Cola.