Another paper has been published showing that fructose (a sugar that naturally occurs in fruit), when used as an artificial sweetener, may be even worse than other sweeteners in inducing a hormal response that encourages obesity.
As I explained in this paper, fructose gets a better press than it deserves, because it has a low glycemic index (GI). The reason is not that fructose is a complex carbohydrate which is metabolized slowly, but because the glycemic index measures the impact of food on glucose levels in the blood, and it happens that the human body does not break down fructose into glucose, so fructose sneaks under the radar.
As a result of having a low GI, fructose is sometimes treated as if it is a healthier sweetener than sucrose or other processed sugars, when in fact the evidence suggests the exact opposite. (Many current diet fads, such as the South Beach diet, involve eating foods with a low GI).
Consumption of fructose has increased by 20-30% over the past thirty years, a rate of increase similar to that of obesity. A sweetener called high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used extensively as an additive by the food industry, for example in soft drinks, baked goods such as cakes and muffins, sauces, prepared desserts, and other processed foods such as syrups added to coffees. While the average consumption per person of refined cane and beet sugars has decreased by 35% over the thirty years to 2000, the consumption of corn sweeteners has increased by 277%. High-fructose corn syrup consumption has increased 40-fold from less than 0.5 grams daily per person in 1970 to 53.9 grams daily per person in 2003.
I am increasingly confident that processing of foods, especially the addition of sweeteners such as HFCS, will be "the new tobacco" in years to come, as we come to realise that we have been deliberately and cynically poisoned by the processed food industry.