Sugary food
A number of seemingly healthy foods contain sugar that exceeds the amount found in several Krispy Kreme doughnuts Reuters/David Bebber

Corn syrup was found to be more harmful to female mice than sugar, shortening their lives and affecting their ability to reproduce, according to a new study by the University of Utah.

The study probes into the difference in effect of corn syrup, which is a mixture of fructose and glucose, and table sugar or sucrose. The study found that female mice fed a diet with 25 percent of calories from monosaccharides from fructose and glucose, which are found in corn syrup, died at 1.87 times the rate that female mice fed on a diet with an equivalent quantity of sucrose. The mice fed on a fructose-glucose diet also produced 26.4 percent fewer offspring than their counterparts that were fed a diet containing table sugar.

Male mice did not show any difference in lifespan or reproduction, indicating the possibility that both forms of sugar could be bad for male mice. The study suggests that in humans, women might be adversely affected by products containing corn syrup, such as processed foods.

Corn syrup is the main ingredient in the added sugars in processed foods. According to the study, about 42 per cent of added sugar comes from high fructose corn syrup in the U.S., while the volume is about 8 per cent globally. Earlier, sucrose was the main ingredient used in added sugars and around the mid-1970s there was a switchover to using corn syrup as an added sugar. According to some researchers, this switch corresponds with an increase in diabetes and obesity-related epidemics in the United States.

Today, it is estimated that between 13 and 25 percent of Americans eat food containing about 25 percent of calories from added sugars.

The new study on corn syrup and table sugar was criticised by the Corn Refiners Association, which said the research lacked scientific merit since humans and mice are very diverse in their physiology, and the two cannot be compared when studying the effects of a food ingredient.

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