I frequently hear from people who are having difficulty losing weight despite not over-eating. Many people seem to eat very little but still have difficulty losing weight. For some people, this may be related to the composition of their diet. Eating a large percentage of calories from simple carbs and processed foods leads to increased insulin levels. Increased insulin levels lead to weight gain and obesity. One type of sweetner is especially harmful – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It is found in a large number of food products today as it is fairly cheap and quite sweet. A large concern about excess sugar in general, and specifically HFCS, is the impact on weight gain. Normally, our appetite is governed by a finely tuned hormonal system that drives us to eat just enough to meet our metabolic needs. Ghrelin is a hormone secreted by the stomach which tells us when we are hungry. Leptin is a hormone which signals our brain to tell us we are full. The problem is that when HFCS is consumed, it does not shut off ghrelin, so we continue to feel hungry. In addition, the leptin signal is not triggered, so we don’t feel full. This drives overeating and contributes to obesity. The excessive consumption of HFCS may be a main contributor to the increasing incidence of diabetes. HFCS leads to increased insulin levels and insulin resistance. HFCS, when consumed in excess, also increases the triglycerides in the bloodstream and increases the risk of heart disease. But what about naturally occurring fructose? Fructose occurs naturally in fruit. Isn’t fruit healthy? Absolutely! The fiber present in fruit slows the absorption of fructose. This keeps insulin levels down. This is why it is better to eat an orange than to drink orange juice, which is concentrated sugar. Furthermore, fruit is loaded with phytonutrients to help prevent chronic disease and cancer. If you are having trouble losing weight, start looking at labels. Avoid food products with added HFCS. You may find that your weight finally starts decreasing.