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Jillian's Wellness Team

Dr John La Puma

John La Puma, M.D., is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and a professionally trained chef. He hosts a weekly segment on Lifetime Television’s Health Corner called "What’s Cooking With ChefMD?" and has written several books, including ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine. When he’s not lecturing or appearing on television, he can be found helping patients at his private practice in Santa Barbara, California.

Visit his Web site.

The Truth About Fructose and Belly Fat

Americans eat about 136 pounds of added sugar every year, each. Some 57 pounds is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). In 1966, we ate no HFCS and 23 pounds less added sugar per person. Can simple food swaps actually help you lose weight…and better yet, belly fat?

How much HFCS we now eat, and how many more pounds we now weigh are close to the same. According to the CDC, women under 50 weigh about 27.5 pounds more and are an inch taller than in 1960; men under 50 weigh 23.5 pounds more and are an inch and a half taller, on average.

Smart researchers, however, have found that the main problem with HFCS is not that it changes your metabolism.  It's that we eat too much of it.

HFCS is typically 55% fructose, high only in comparison with regular corn syrup. If you’re eating fast food, most breakfast cereals, juice drinks, ice creams, and even Miracle Whip, you’re getting HFCS.  Low levels of mercury in HFCS supermarket products are also worrisome. Patients ask: “I only drink one soda/whatever: how can it make me fat?”

A new small study may answer that: 15 people got just glucose, and 17 people got just fructose for 25% of their calories for 10 weeks. Naturally, both groups gained weight.

But the people getting fructose had more belly fat, less insulin sensitivity, higher blood sugars, higher insulin levels, more oxidized cholesterol.

What does all this science mean?

Less insulin sensitivity and higher insulin levels mean greater fat storage. Around the middle. Where you don’t want it.

Fat around your middle is another organ. It’s not just a spare tire. It makes hormones. And the hormones it makes make you hold on to fat.

How can you avoid eating HFCS?

  • Eat fast food that you prepare, not that you buy.
  • Read food labels: if you need reading glasses or a magnifying glass, get them.
  • Check out lists of popular foods without HFCS (

Eat for flavor and health! They’re the same.

Please note that the information in this blog is for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should consult with a licensed physician or other health-care professional.
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