AMA Condones High Fructose Corn Syrup

Saturday, June 21, 2008
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

It was a pivotal moment that only comes around once in a while, as those wearing their vested interests on their sleeves are put on the hot seat and have to make a very public decision.  Such was the case last week at the yearly policy meeting of the American Medical Association1 when a resolution was on the table to require the labeling of high fructose corn syrup products with an obesity warning.  Embarrassingly, the AMA voted in defense of high fructose corn syrup, making its entire organization look like a ship of fools.

The fact that the AMA had allowed itself to be placed in this predicament in the first place is a story in and of itself.  A movement within the AMA ranks had been underway for well over a year.  It came from its International Medical Graduate Section, doctors who graduated from medical schools outside the U.S. or Canada.  These doctors could care less about the financial “old boy network” existing in the United States, involving the Corn Refiners Association and whatever influence they may be able to purchase.

The resolution to label high fructose corn syrup with an obesity label would not become a law (the FDA would have to do that), but it would be a clear statement of public policy that would have a major impact on the sales of this destructive sweetener.  The resolution was submitted with extensive science supporting the fact that high fructose corn syrup is metabolized in a way that promotes obesity.

I have been reporting on this subject for a while, recently explaining how high fructose corn syrup promotes leptin resistance by abnormally raising triglycerides and earlier reporting how beverages with high fructose corn syrup contain high levels of damaging molecules that promote diabetes.  In short, like trans fatty acids, high fructose corn syrup should be eliminated from the diet of everyone – either through public health proclamations or by law – if needed.  As is typical in the face of a public health problem of magnitude, the FDA is nowhere to be seen.

Last year the AMA was able to avoid making a public decision on the resolution, but intense pressure over the past year from within their own ranks forced them this year to take a stand.  After all, the obesity epidemic is rapidly becoming the top public health problem in this country.

With their tail between their legs and no trumpets blaring, the AMA sided with the Corn Refiners Association and against the public health – based on the lamest logic imaginable.  Their decision was immediately broadcast far and wide – interpreted by the media to mean that the AMA had given high fructose corn syrup its seal of approval.

The AMA said they couldn’t tell if high fructose corn syrup was worse than any other sweetener, and there was no way to tell if it was really causing obesity because people eat too much in general.  Their conclusion is laughable. 

Earth to AMA:  You should request an obesity label on high fructose corn syrup and products high in refined white sugar, as they are both major factors directly causing obesity in America.  Consuming either one on a regular basis will sooner or later cause leptin problems of magnitude, and directly provoke individuals to eat more food of any type because they no longer get a correct full signal.

You can assume that AMA policy guidelines for just about anything, including drugs recommended for treatments, must be based on the same type of financial interests and flimsy logic.  Let’s not forget, the AMA was directly responsible for the promotion of smoking in this country, taking in large amounts of ad revenue and actively promoting its safety and glamor for many years.  Yes, we’ve been there and done that – high fructose corn syrup needs to go.


Referenced Studies:

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