Renee Dufault

Safe Limits on High Fructose Corn Syrup in Soft Drinks Demanded

thumb_renee_picSoda and other sugary drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Yikes! With ongoing concerns regarding the link between sugary drinks and chronic health problems, consumers might want to know how much is too much!

CSPI, along with various groups and public health departments around the country, have submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to determine a safe level of added sugars for beverages. The most popular added "sugar" is the cheaper, more controversial sugar substitute high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that, according to one whistleblower, affects the body differently than regular sugar. That's not a comforting thought given the 16 teaspoons of sugars from HFCS in a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda (twice the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association!).

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Brain Study Shows Link Between Fructose and Overeating

A new study adds evidence that fructose (and its relative, high fructose corn syrup) may play a role in obesity, according to the Associated Press. MRI scans showed that fructose can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating.

The results add fire to the ongoing debate of whether or not all sugars are created equal.

From the AP:

Scans showed that drinking glucose "turns off or suppresses the activity of areas of the brain that are critical for reward and desire for food," said one study leader, Yale University endocrinologist Dr. Robert Sherwin. With fructose, "we don't see those changes," he said. "As a result, the desire to eat continues — it isn't turned off."

Renee_Presentation_18This isn't the only study that makes fructose a bad actor compared to glucose. GAP client and whistleblower Renee Dufault gave a presentation a couple weeks ago at our office in Washington D.C. on the impact of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and human metabolism.

"The more fructose we eat, the faster we gain weight," Dufault stated. She explained that people can become obese eating too much cane sugar as well as eating too much high fructose corn syrup, but that it will happen faster via HFCS consumption because it has more fructose. Check back on the FIC blog for video of her presentation!

Dufault is currently leading a study on how HFCS consumption, combined with mercury exposure, can lead to insulin resistance. Find more about her previous studies here.


Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.

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Lunch Lecture 12/21: GAP Client Renee Dufault Talks Mercury & Metabolism

Join GAP's Food Integrity Campaign (FIC) in welcoming former client and whistleblower Renee Dufault for an informative presentation on how nutritional and environmental factors (such as mercury exposure) interact with genes to affect a person's metabolism, potentially leading to obesity and the development of type-2 diabetes.

Mercury Exposure & Your Changing Metabolism

Friday, December 21
12:30pm - 1:30pm

Location: GAP Office, 1612 K St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington D.C. 20006

Lunch will be provided. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Prenatal Exposure to Mercury Linked to ADHD: Study

pregnant_womanMercury, along with other toxins in our food supply and surrounding environment, has come under increased scrutiny in its link to the rise of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in American children. CNN reported new research findings that show an increased likelihood of ADHD symptoms observed in kids who are exposed to higher levels of mercury in the womb.

The article details the role of fish consumption in mercury exposure (and why the FDA recommends that pregnant women eat no more than two six-ounce servings of low-mercury fish per week), yet there's no discussion of another concerning source of mercury: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). According to the most recent data from USDA, Americans eat on average 28.7 pounds of HFCS per year – unsurprising given how ubiquitous the sweetener is in processed foods and beverages at the grocery store.

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Consumer Group Alerts Public to Non-Approved HFCS in Food Industry

soft_drink_shelfHigh fructose corn syrup (HFCS) continues to be a hotly debated topic in how it is portrayed on food packaging and how forthright the industry is in its usage. According to the consumer group Citizens for Health, some food producers use HFCS with fructose concentrations above FDA-approved levels.

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Court: Food Processors Behind 'Corn Sugar' Can't Escape Liability

corn_plant_cropADM corn processing plantThis week, a federal judge ruled that individual corn refining companies would have to defend false advertising charges in an ongoing dispute over use of the term 'corn sugar' to describe high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

From FoodNavigator:

Federal Judge Consuelo Marshall already dismissed in October last year all claims against individual member companies of the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) – including ADM, Cargill, Corn Products International, Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, among others – leaving the CRA as the only defendant.

However in March attorneys for the Sugar Association complained that individual companies were running away from the charges and were attempting to evade liability for their role in "the creation and sponsorship" of the CRA's advertising campaign, which calls HFCS 'corn sugar' – a claim the sugar industry says is false advertising.

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We Need More "Disruptive" Food Integrity Whistleblowers

whistleWhy am I not surprised that, shortly after FDA's invasive and potentially illegal surveillance of agency whistleblowers was exposed, a follow-up New York Times article appeared this week focusing on the "disruptive" personality traits of one of the whistleblowers? I guess the FDA just can’t escape labeling issues.

Sadly, FIC knows all too well that derogative labeling is a common practice used to discredit those who have unveiled dangers to public health, abuse or other wrongdoing. But what the New York Times sources dub troublemakers, FIC calls public health heroes.

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