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Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?

Have you noticed that many products on grocery shelves are bragging that they do not have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? HFCS has been demonized by many people in the public as well as the medical community in recent years. But how much different is it from just plain old sugar? The answer is up for debate, but I will do my best to present the facts.

HFCS has been used for many years, but the use really became much more common in the 1980′s. Food companies use it because it makes a desirable end product and is fairly cheap. HFCS comes from corn and is refined to get the sweet taste into a syrup. But is it worse than sugar?

Many experts believe it is no different than sugar. Both are high in calories and are considered “empty” calories, meaning they don’t have vitamins, minerals, or other healthy nutrients in significant quantities.

The American Medical Association and other scientists have agreed that both sugar and HFCS both contribute to risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses if eaten in large quantities. In other words, there is no proof to date that HFCS is more harmful than sugar.

So why are so many companies eliminating HFCS? It is all consumer perception. Consumers have heard that HFCS bad so companies are spending time and money eliminating it from it’s products? What are they using instead? Sugar.

Is HFCS natural? The Corn Refiners Association says that HFCS is natural. The FDA does not define the term “natural” so we really have no way of seeing whether something is natural on a food label. Food companies can use this word without repercussion from the FDA since they have not defined it.

For more information on HFCS, check out www.sweetsurprise.com

This post, Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Brian Westphal.


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7 Responses to “Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?”

  1. Hillary says:

    Tara,

    Linking to a corn industry website is not a good way to prove that HFCS is no worse than sugar. You say “many experts believe” and “The American Medical Association and other scientists” say that HFCS is no worse than sugar, but you don't provide any citations. If you don't want to be perceived as an industry hack, please include evidence or citations from independent sources.

  2. Robert says:

    Very interesting, but I guess it goes to prove it's all perception or at times marketing. Surely someone has to draw a line somewhere eventually though?

  3. kg2v says:

    There is another reason companies are eliminating HFCS. With the Government subsidies on ethanol fuel, the price of HFCS has gone through the roof, and it now the same price or cheaper to use sugar!

    The marketing is pure perception, but the real reason for the change is pure economics

  4. Robert says:

    Very interesting, but I guess it goes to prove it's all perception or at times marketing. Surely someone has to draw a line somewhere eventually though?

  5. kg2v says:

    There is another reason companies are eliminating HFCS. With the Government subsidies on ethanol fuel, the price of HFCS has gone through the roof, and it now the same price or cheaper to use sugar!

    The marketing is pure perception, but the real reason for the change is pure economics

  6. cynthia1770 says:

    I applaud any food producer who removes HFCS from their products.
    There are many grades of HFCS with respect to the percentage of fructose in the sweetener. HFCS-42 and HFCS-55 are two variants. All national brands of soda, many
    fruit drinks, and sport quenchers are sweetened with HFCS-55. HFCS-55 denotes that
    the sweetener is 55%fructose: 45% glucose. This appears to be only marginally different from the 50% fructose: 50% glucose of table sugar, sucrose, until you do the math.
    55%:45% = 55/45 = 1.22. This means that in every can of soda there is, compared to glucose, 22% extra fructose. The health hazards of excess fructose over time have been
    well documented. It is estimated that 30% of our intake of HFCS is through sweetened beverages. I believe that it is this imbalance between fructose and glucose that is causing the metabolic problems of obesity and type II diabetes. HFCS is a failed experiment;
    we'll live longer without it.

  7. cynthia1770 says:

    I applaud any food producer who removes HFCS from their products.
    There are many grades of HFCS with respect to the percentage of fructose in the sweetener. HFCS-42 and HFCS-55 are two variants. All national brands of soda, many
    fruit drinks, and sport quenchers are sweetened with HFCS-55. HFCS-55 denotes that
    the sweetener is 55%fructose: 45% glucose. This appears to be only marginally different from the 50% fructose: 50% glucose of table sugar, sucrose, until you do the math.
    55%:45% = 55/45 = 1.22. This means that in every can of soda there is, compared to glucose, 22% extra fructose. The health hazards of excess fructose over time have been
    well documented. It is estimated that 30% of our intake of HFCS is through sweetened beverages. I believe that it is this imbalance between fructose and glucose that is causing the metabolic problems of obesity and type II diabetes. HFCS is a failed experiment;
    we'll live longer without it.

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