High-fructose corn syrup, along with other processed sugars, are seemingly unsuspecting ingredients in sodas, condiments, and packaged foods. Many know of the adverse effects of table sugar and the serious toll it can take on the body.
HFCs specifically have been linked to insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, weight gain, and obesity. Today, more research highlights the damaging effects of the overconsumption of HFCs and other common sugars.
Inflammation and High-Fructose Corn Syrup
A study published in 2019 in The Journal of Translational Immunology entitled, "High fructose‐induced metabolic changes enhance inflammation in human dendritic cells" suggests that overconsumption of high-fructose corn syrup may lead to inflammation of immune cells.
Researchers discovered the association of HFCs and inflammation by analyzing the effects of fructose and glucose -- common sugars -- on human dendritic cells.
Dendritic cells, according to the British Society for Immunology are vital cells that trigger the body's reaction to foreign substances while regulating the immune response.
When dendritic cells were exposed to HFCs, they indicated an inflammatory response that was significantly greater than the reaction towards glucose.
Despite researchers unable to definitively identify the specific mechanisms behind the immune dysfunction, it paved the way for scientists to build on their findings.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Damaging the Immune System
Hence, a few years later, a study published in the journal Nature Communications entitled "Fructose reprogrammes glutamine-dependent oxidative metabolism to support LPS-induced inflammation" in 2021 confirms that a high-fructose corn syrup-rich diet increases risks of an over-active immune system.
Researchers also proved that fructose could initiate and increase inflammation in a person's body independent of pre-existing diseases like fatty liver disease or diabetes.
To understand the correlation between sugars and the adverse immune system response, researchers conducted experiments in several research centers across the United Kingdom. Here the team compared reactions of humane immune-system cells and mouse immune-system cells to high levels of fructose.
Cells were then extracted via blood samples, analyzed after two weeks of long exposure to fructose.
Upon close examination, researchers found that fructose initiated an inflammatory response by increasing cell production of cytokines.
Cytokines are proteins that help cell communication and signal where infections can be located.
Researchers believe that this reaction is due to high levels of fructose reprogramming immune system cells.
Despite the 2019 study adamantly suggesting that a high-fructose corn syrup diet can lead to more damages to the immune system, many scientists believe that HFCs offer the same level of harm and risks as other sugars.
Many experts advise that it is best to scrutinize the amount of sugar consumed compared to the type of sugar.
The US Food and Drug Administration states that high-fructose corn syrups and other sweeteners are equally harmful to the body especially when consumed consistently or in large volumes.
The concession now suggests that a limit in the intake of added sugar, be it high-fructose corn syrup or common table sugar, would be best for the body's overall health.
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