New Research Suggests High Fructose Corn Syrup Triggers Addictive Consumption Similar to Drugs

Industrial Sweetener Implicated as Cause

of Global Obesity Epidemic


WASHINGTON, DCNew research by a neuroscientist has found that lab animals self-dosing on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), the industrial sweetener used in hundreds of grocery store products, followed the same pattern of behavior as those that were self-dosing on cocaine.

Addiction expert, Dr. Francesco Leri, an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, presented new research to the Canadian Association for Neuroscience that showed how High Fructose Corn Syrup caused behavioral reactions in rats similar to those produced by addictive drugs. He concluded that, “Addiction to unhealthy foods could help explain the global obesity epidemic.”

In Dr. Leri’s tests, the lab animals could press a lever and receive as many doses of HFCS as they wanted. He discovered that the more he increased the sweetness concentration of the HFCS, the more the subjects worked to obtain it.

“When you change the fructose levels, the behavior changes,” said Dr.Leri.  “As we increased the percentage (of fructose) in the solution, the animals continued to prefer the higher concentrations, and worked harder and harder for each infusion… which is exactly what you notice with drug abuse.”

Currently the Food and Drug Administration’s legal limit on the fructose content of HFCS is 55 percent, but recent studies have shown fructose levels in popular soft drink brands exceed the legal amount. The Corn Refiners Association (CRA), which represents the producers of HFCS, has acknowledged that a version of HFCS with 90 percent fructose has been in use for decades, even though it’s never been tested for safety or approved by the FDA.

Consumer rights groups are rallying to protest, including Citizens for Health, which has produced a video to educate families, and has filed an FDA petition that calls for the disclosure of exact fructose concentrations of HFCS on food packages, and stops food makers from using non-approved HFCS concentrations.

The petition can be reviewed and signed at

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 Sign Our Petition to the FDA to Label HFCS Accurately

Our petition requests that the FDA take action to protect the public from the illegal, mislabeled use of high fructose corn syrup.

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About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 130,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  For more information visit

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at

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