High fructose corn syrup has been a target of much criticism in recent years, with some suggesting that it is more dangerous than other sweeteners. However, the truth is it can be used to provide a great taste in many products without compromising health or safety. The key is moderation—just like with other sweeteners, it’s important to limit your intake to maintain a healthy diet. 

Want to learn the truth about high fructose corn syrup? Here are the facts about this American-made product.   

What Is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch, which is made from field corn. A liquid, high fructose corn syrup contains the sugars glucose and fructose and is a common ingredient used to sweeten many foods. 

Who Invented High Fructose Corn Syrup and When was High Fructose Corn Syrup Invented?

High fructose corn syrup was invented by Richard Marshall and Earl Kooi. It was invented in 1957 a.nd soon found favor in the United States as an alternative sweetener to sugar made from sugarcane or sugar beets. This was, in part, because high fructose corn syrup was readily available domestically and therefore less expensive than traditional sources of sugar that often had to be imported from other countries. 

How Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Made?

The process to make corn into high fructose corn syrup starts with corn starch. The corn starch is made into corn syrup, which contains the sugar glucose. Then, enzymes are added to the corn syrup to convert some of the glucose into another sugar, fructose. 

The result is high fructose corn syrup, which is made up of about equal parts glucose and fructose. It is called “high fructose” to differentiate it from regular corn syrup, which only contains glucose.   

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Natural?

Yes, high fructose corn syrup is a natural sugar made from corn. One of the many corn products on the market, it’s made of the sugars, glucose and fructose. 

Fructose is sometimes called “fruit sugar,” because it is found naturally in many fruits. It also occurs naturally in some vegetables.   

What Foods Have High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Many, many foods on the market contain high fructose corn syrup. This includes foods that taste sweet, like soda or sweetened juices, as well as those that don’t taste like they have sugar in them, like some baked goods. 

Why Is Corn Syrup in Everything?

High fructose corn syrup is used in so many products because it is readily available and less expensive in the United States than other forms of sugar. That makes it a very popular way to sweeten foods. 

Why Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Used Instead of Sugar?

High fructose corn syrup is often used to sweeten foods instead of sugar because it tastes similar but is already in liquid form and doesn’t break down easily during production. This byproduct of corn is readily available and cheaper than other forms of sugar. By using high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar, companies can manufacture and sell products at a lower cost. 

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup a Sugar?

Yes, high fructose corn syrup is a form of sugar made from corn.   

The three main kinds of sugar are glucose, fructose and sucrose. Table sugar is sucrose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose. Honey contains glucose and fructose. Similarly, high fructose corn syrup is also made of glucose and fructose.   

Is Corn Syrup the Same as High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Corn syrup is an ingredient in high fructose corn syrup, but the two products are not the same thing. High fructose corn syrup is made by adding enzymes to corn syrup, which changes some of the corn syrup’s glucose to another sugar, fructose. This is why it’s called “high fructose” corn syrup—it has fructose in it and regular corn syrup does not. 

What Is the Debate About High Fructose Corn Syrup?

The debate about high fructose corn syrup is that some claim it uniquely causes obesity and should be eliminated from some products. However, numerous studies have concluded there is no evidence to support this claim. 

Furthermore, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found there was no significant difference between sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. The study stated that much of the controversy about high fructose corn syrup came from research that simply compared its availability and use to obesity rates, but that same research did not find any scientific evidence that proved it was high fructose corn syrup causing those rates to climb. 

In fact, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that while consumption of high fructose corn syrup by Americans has declined since 2002, the country’s obesity rates continued to increase during that same time frame.   

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Bad for You?

Experts say just like regular sugar, some high fructose corn syrup is not “bad” for you. But, like any sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. 

In general, it’s a good practice to avoid all foods that contain empty calories—which means they are high in calories but contain little beneficial nutrition. That’s why many dietitians say that foods like regular soft drinks, candy or highly processed foods, for example, should be consumed sparingly regardless of whether they are sweetened with corn syrup or another form of sugar. 

It’s also important to read food product labels so you know which foods contain high levels of all kinds of sugars. That way, you can limit your intake of all kinds of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup. 

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?

Many experts say high fructose corn syrup is no worse for people than regular table sugar, or sucrose. They do say that you shouldn’t eat too much of any kind of sugar, because too much sugar of any kind is detrimental to your health. 

The key to enjoying foods sweetened with this corn by product is moderation! 

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