Statistics released by the United States Department of Agriculture show that per capita consumption of natural sugar has dropped significantly in the last 40 years, from almost 100 lb per person in 1968, to less than 67 lb per person in 2011, while the nation's obesity rate has risen dramatically in the same time period.

"Real sugar has been in our food supply for over a hundred years, suggesting that something other than sugar consumption is behind this recent jump in obesity," says Jim Turner, chair of the consumer advocacy group Citizens for Health.

Adult obesity rates have more than doubled since the 1970's, making the obesity epidemic one of the country's most serious health problems. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that today, one out of three adults is obese. In children the statistics are even more alarming. In the last 30 years, adolescent obesity rates have more than tripled.

"So the question is, what's making Americans so fat?," says Turner. "We strongly suspect that High Fructose Corn Syrup is responsible for our obesity epidemic."

In 1970, per capita consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was less than one pound per year. By 1980 it had reached 19 lb per person per year, and by 1999 the average American consumed close to 64 lb of the industrial sweetener. A cheap substitute for real sugar (real sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets), High Fructose Corn Syrup is chemically derived from an intensive enzyme process. It can be found in thousands of supermarket products and in almost every major soda and sports drink brand. The Corn Refiners Association reported that 19 billion pounds of the man-made sweetener was shipped in 2011.

"If you consume sugar, do so in moderation. Avoid HFCS completely," Turner says.

More information, including an infographic illustrating the link between obesity and HFCS consumption, is available at