A University of Utah study has reportedly claimed that female mice fed fructose and glucose monosaccharides in proportions similar to the amount of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in human diets “had death rates 1.87 times higher than females on [a] sucrose diet” and “produced 26.4% fewer offspring.” James Ruff, et al., “Compared to Sucrose, Previous Consumption of Fructose and Glucose Monosaccharides Reduces Survival and Fitness of Female Mice,” The Journal of Nutrition, March 2015. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, the study apparently builds on 2013 research concluding that “when mice were fed either a diet with 25 percent calories in the form of added fructose and glucose monosaccharides or 25 percent calories from starch, females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce.”

Although the new study did not find any differences in male mice fed fructose/ glucose monosaccharides as compared to those fed sucrose, the authors noted that this result could mean that HFCS and table sugar are equally detrimental to male mice. The study relied on house-type mice who were fed healthy diets with 25 percent of total calories coming from added fructose/ glucose monosaccharides or sucrose, then released into mouse barns “to compete for food, territory and mates for 32 weeks.”

“This is the most robust study showing there is a difference between highfructose corn syrup and table sugar at human-relevant doses,” said the study’s lead author. “[W]hen the diabetes-obesity-metabolic syndrome epidemics started in the mid-1970s, they corresponded with both a general increase in consumption of added sugar and the switchover from sucrose being the main added sugar in the American diet to high-fructose corn syrup making up half our sugar intake.” See University of Utah News Release, January 5, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA ) has contested the importance of the results. “Sucrose (table sugar) and HFCS are nutritionally equivalent and comprised of roughly 50% fructose and 50% glucose,” a CRA spokesperson was quoted as saying. “Fructose and glucose form a covalent bond in table sugar as opposed to HFCS. However, this difference is inconsequential. According to the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], ‘Once one eats (sucrose), stomach acid and gut enzymes rapidly break down this chemical bond.’” See CRA Statement, January 5, 2015.