(HealthDay News) – Countries with a higher availability of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Nov. 27 in Global Public Health.

To assess the relationship between HFCS and type 2 diabetes prevalence with a global perspective, Michael I. Goran, PhD, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues utilized published resources to obtain country-level estimates from 43 countries for total sugar, HFCS, and total calorie availability; obesity; diabetes prevalence (two estimates); and estimates for the prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and fasting plasma glucose.

The researchers found that, compared to countries with low availability, in countries with high HFCS availability, the prevalence of diabetes was 20% higher. Despite similarities in obesity and total sugar and calorie availability, the association persisted after adjustment for country-level estimates of body mass index, population, and gross domestic product (adjusted diabetes prevalence, 8% vs. 6.7% [P=0.03]; fasting plasma glucose, 5.34 vs. 5.22mmol/L [P=0.03]).

“In summary, the results from this ecological analysis suggest that countries that utilize HFCS as an alternative sweetener have increased risk of diabetes beyond the effects of sugar itself and of body mass index,” the authors write. “Public health strategies aimed at diabetes prevention should incorporate efforts to limit sugar consumption and provide consumers with better labeling with regards to sugar composition, especially with regards to fructose and HFCS content.”

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