(CNN) - A new study found higher rates of type 2 diabetes in countries where people consume a lot of high-fructose corn syrup. That's compared to countries with little or no supply of the sweetener.
High-fructose corn syrup is used in a wide variety of foods and drinks, particularly in soda.
University of Oxford and University of Southern California researchers looked at data from 43 countries. They found the rate of type 2 diabetes is 20 percent higher in countries where the sweetener is prevalent. They note it doesn't show a cause and effect, just a link.
The lead author says high-fructose corn syrup appears to pose a serious public health problem on a global scale.
WebMD quotes the president of the Corn Refiners Association as saying that just because an ingredient is available in a country's diet does not mean it is uniquely the cause of a disease.
She adds there's broad scientific consensus that table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are nutritionally and metabolically the same.