Press Releases

Gross Errors in Princeton Study

Food Industry Experts and Journalists Question Princeton Study

“The researchers concluded ‘over-consumption of HFCS could very well be a major factor in the ‘obesity epidemic,’ which correlates with the upsurge in the use of HFCS.’ It might be. But to my mind, these experiments hardly prove it.”

Karen Kaplan, Science Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times
March 24, 2010, Los Angeles Times blog Booster Shots

“This study is poorly designed and poorly controlled and does not prove or even suggest that HFCS is more likely to lead to obesity than sucrose [table sugar].”

Karen Teff, Ph.D., Associate Director, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
March 26, 2010,

“If the rats fed HFCS for 12 hours gained more weight, why didn’t the rats fed HFCS for 24 hours also gain more weight? They got HFCS for a full 12 hours more, yet didn’t gain more weight. This is a glaring inconsistency in the results…an inconsistency that the researchers never tried to explain.”

James Krieger, M.S., Weightology, LLC
May 22, 2010, Weightology Weekly

Gross Errors in Princeton Animal Study on Obesity and High Fructose Corn Syrup
Research in Humans Discredits Princeton Study

March 22, 2010

CONTACT: Audrae Erickson
(202) 331-1634

WASHINGTON, DC – A March 22, 2010 press release entitled “A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain” issued by Princeton University was based on a study that used grossly exaggerated intake levels in rats and incorrectly suggested that such results could have significant meaning for humans.

In the study “High –fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels,”(1) the authors failed to put into perspective the excessive amount consumed by the rats in their experimental design. Translating the study’s reported rat intakes to human proportions, the calories gained from high fructose corn syrup would be equivalent to about 3000 kcal/day all from that single source. In comparison, adult humans consume about 2,000 calories per day from all dietary sources. Such intake levels for the study animals would be the equivalent of humans drinking a total of 20 cans of 12 ounce sodas per day – a highly unrealistic amount. Moreover, the researchers concluded that the rats gained more weight from high fructose corn syrup than they would have from sugar, yet the researchers had no proper basis for drawing this conclusion since they failed to provide sucrose controls for part of the study’s short-term experiments and no sucrose controls whatsoever were present in any of the long-term experiments.

“Consumers should not be misled by exaggerated studies that feed astronomical amounts of one ingredient to the study subjects, in this case rats. The medical community has long dismissed results from rat dietary studies as being inapplicable to human beings,” stated Audrae Erickson, president, Corn Refiners Association.

“Consumers should rest assured that high fructose corn syrup is safe. The American Medical Association concluded that high fructose corn syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than sugar. The American Dietetic Association stated that these two sweeteners are indistinguishable to the human body and are metabolized equivalently,” Erickson noted.

“This study unnecessarily confuses consumers about human metabolism of common sugars in the diet. A sugar is a sugar whether it comes from cane, corn, or beets. Both sugar and high fructose corn syrup are handled the same by the body. No metabolic effects have been found in studies that compare sugar and high fructose corn syrup consumption in humans,” concluded Erickson.

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CRA is the national trade association representing the corn refining (wet milling) industry of the United States. CRA and its predecessors have served this important segment of American agribusiness since 1913. Corn refiners manufacture sweeteners, ethanol, starch, bioproducts, corn oil, and feed products from corn components such as starch, oil, protein, and fiber.

[1] Miriam E. Bocarsly, Elyse S. Powell, Nicole M. Avena, Bartley G. Hoebel. High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristic of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.02.012

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