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Sep 14

Why is High Fructose Corn Syrup so bad for you?

by azmanam | Categories: in vivo chemistry, science news | (56422 Views)

Is high fructose good for you or bad for you?

How many of you said bad?  Leads to obesity, right?  Gotta stay away from HFCS, right? That’s what ‘everyone’ says, right?

Consider: The sugar we call ‘table sugar’ is sucrose: a disaccharide: a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose (two monosaccharides) covalently bonded to each other.  Sucrose is broken into fructose and glucose by enzymes within living organisms (like humans).  Humans don’t use sucrose for energy, first we break it into glucose and fructose and metabolize the monosaccharides for energy.  So we ingest sucrose, digest it to glucose and fructose, then use the monosaccharides for energy.

One molecule of sucrose becomes 1 molecule of glucose and 1 molecule of fructose.  That means that sucrose is digested to a 50/50 mixture of fructose and glucose.

Consider: High fructose corn syrup is a straight mixture of unbonded glucose and fructose.  There are two common types of HFCS: HFCS 55 and HFCS 42.  HFCS 55 is ~55% fructose and ~42% glucose.  HFCS 42 is ~42% fructose and ~53% glucose.

So what’s the difference?

Sucrose becomes a 50/50 mixture of fructose and glucose.  HFCS 55 is a 55/42 mixture of fructose and glucose.  Chemically, there’s no difference between fructose from sucrose and fructose from HFCS.  Our bodies can’t tell the difference between fructose from sucrose or fructose from HFCS.  We’ve been fretting so much about a 5% difference between the fructose content in the two sweeteners.

If our body can’t tell the difference, and the percent content of fructose is essentially the same, why is HFCS so much worse for us than ‘natural,’ or ‘organic’ sugar?

It’s not.

HFCS is no worse for us, and causes no more obesity than table sugar.  Once ingested, table sugar and HFCS are metabolized by our bodies in exactly the same way.

So what’s the problem?  Well, the problem is sugars (both sucrose and HFCS) are in EVERYTHING.  Too much sugar (again, either from sucrose or from HFCS) IS bad for us, and will lead to higher caloric intake, and eventually weight gain.  So the problem is too much sugar – not too much HFCS, and the solution is to eat less sugars overall – not to ban HFCS from everything.

But that’s not what ‘everyone’ is saying.  And the court of public opinion can be quite harsh.  So harsh, in fact, that the HFCS manufacturers are attempting to rebrand.  No longer will we find HFCS on the ingredient list.  Now, we will see ‘Corn Sugar.’  This means the same thing.  It’s the same 55/43 mixture of fructose to glucose, but they’re rebranding to move away from the negative associations.

What do you think?  Good idea or bad idea?  Should we just ban HFCS/Corn Sugar?  Should we regulate the amount of sweetener that’s allowed to be in a Suggested Serving Size?  Do you agree with the decision by the HFCS manufacturers?



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  1. Joel

    Actually, a study done by Princeton researchers suggests otherwise. I don’t know enough about biochemistry or carbohydrates to really understand the science (or lack thereof).

    The other side of the problem is that HFCS is everywhere. A commenter on Metafilter put it best:

    “One commercial running right now claims that sugar, corn syrup, and honey have the same calories and are processed the same by the body. This is untrue, as is the claim that ‘a sugar is a sugar,’ since table sugar and HFCS are chemically different (not a lot different, but they are). It’s even less true if you start talking about other sugars like maltose.

    The worst is that the commercial poses the question ‘which one is responsible for you gaining the weight.’ In all likelihood, it’s the corn syrup, since that’s far more ubiquitous than table sugar or honey. And so the commercial skirts the real issue: cheap, government subsidized corn syrup being put in far too many foods. As has been pointed out repeatedly, it’s not so much that the HFCS itself is horrible, it’s that it’s everywhere.

    End the corn subsidies and much of this will go away. In 2009 alone we spent almost $4 billion making corn ‘cheap’. Since 1995 we’ve spent over $75 billion. In exchange for this ‘cheap’ corn we’re reaping enormous, expensive consequences: obesity, CAFOs, over use of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation water, etc. All so that a few giant agricultural and chemical companies can rake in easy government money.”

  2. stewie griffin

    Azmanam, glad to see you’ve got a bit of free time to put up a post :)
    I agree with you on the fact that there’s no chemical difference and thus we all need to simmer down. Problem is definitely the abundance, not the actual ingredient.
    The problem is how can we as the consumers keep it out of everything that we eat. Not many people grown their own food, so most likely you’re going to go buy stuff at the grocery store. If HFCS has been added to what you need to make a certain dish (it’s often added to things like spaghetti/tomato sauce), you can try to find an alternative but most likely you’ll just have to accept that you’re going to have to eat more sugar than you wanted to. I don’t care if they change the name of HFCS, the fact is I’d prefer food without it added ahead of time…. just like I’d prefer canned soup that isn’t loaded with sodium. Sell me the food and sell me the bag of sugar separately, then let me decide how much I want to add.
    I think HFCS is so abundant partly because we have made it so cheap by subsidizing corn (read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” for more insight). Perhaps as a society we should subsidize more healthy alternatives instead.

  3. casey

    Agree with Stewie Griffin 100%. Have you ever tried to find juice that doesn’t contain HFCS? What are kids supposed to drink these days? Soft drinks? Same problem. Commercial juice is loaded with it, and so is a lot of milk marketed to kids. When I’m a parent I think I’m going to have to make my own fruit juice for my kids, I don’t see any way around it. You’re absolutely right that mole to mole, sucrose has the same fructose content, but if you loaded your morning coffee with as much table sugar to match the sugar content of pop or commercial juice, it would be revolting.

    1. Barbie

      LOL Casey, how about just water? I know, easier said than done. Good luck!

    2. k

      Water not available anymore?

  4. J-bone

    I can understand why they’re changing the name, the general American populace is full of impressionable idiots (chemists who know the NMR/MRI story shouldn’t be surprised at all by this turn of events).

    Our society has become so backwards that people would rather get their stomachs stapled in half than stop eating Big Macs. They’d just like to be full off of ONE Big Mac instead of three.

    I actually listened to a girl try to justify getting whipped cream on her large frappucino at Starbucks last weekend. Too many calories apparently, but the barista informed her that they used a non-fat whip version so it was okay. Did I mention this was a frappucino (a milkshake with coffee in it)? And it was a LARGE? And she was wondering whether the whipped cream blob on top was going to bust her diet?

  5. stewie griffin

    @J-bone
    While I share your general sense of disgust towards America’s attitude regarding fitness (workout? no thanks, I’d rather just take a pill and sit on the couch), I don’t think the problem is simply solved by “stop eating Big Macs”. Sure that’s a big part of the answer, but what about folks that don’t eat fast food to begin with? Those that want “real” food from the grocery store will find that the food is loaded with sugars (HFCS or others) and salt (or at least the producers add more than I would prefer).
    I guess my problem is that we can easily choose to not eat a Big Mac, but we can’t easily chose to avoid various canned goods and juices at the local grocery store. If some American’s want the right to chose to eat a big mac, then some other may want to right to not eat foods processed with sugars/salt.
    Personally, to address azmanam’s last paragraph, I don’t think we should ban HFCS or “corn sugar”, but if a majority of consumers are saying “No thanks, we don’t want the extra sugar in our foods” then the food producers should respond accordingly. Shouldn’t they focus on not putting the sugar in the food so as to satisfy their customer base rather than just trying to change the name? Offer “No sugar added” alternatives to cover both sugar-seekers and sugar-avoiders. Also again stop putting my tax dollars to work subsidizing corn which only goes to make the cows for the fatty big macs and the sugar for the HFCS.

  6. around the corner and down the hall

    I don’t think the problem is necessarily the source of fructose, rather the amount. It’s true that ‘our bod(y) can’t tell the difference between fructose from sucrose or fructose from HFCS’, but it certainly can tell the difference between glucose and fructose. This is what many people point to in their argument against HCFS. The key ideas are as follows:

    a. Where is fructose metabolized?
    Fructose, like glucose, is taken up into cells by facilitative transport. The fructose transporter, Glut5, is highly expressed in the intestines and expressed at only very low levels in cells outside of the gut. The other members of the Glut glucose transporter family have very low affinities for fructose. Of the other Glut transporters, Glut2, the transporter expressed in beta cells and the liver, has the highest affinity for fructose. Glut2 has a Km for glucose of about 10 mM and about 70 mM for fructose. Therefore, based on expression of Glut2, most fructose should be metabolized by the liver and pancreas.

    As is the case for glucose, phosphorylation of fructose is required to retain fructose within cells (phosphorylated forms are not a substrates for the Gluts), and phosphorylation is the first step in the metabolism of fructose. Liver cells are the only cells that express fructokinase (high affinity for fructose, phosphorylates fructose to fructose-1-phopshate). Fructose is poorly phosphorylated by the hexokinases that phosphorylate glucose, including glucokinase in the beta cells. Thus, about 70% of fructose is metabolized by the liver but because of the hepatic fructokinase.

    b. How is fructose metabolized?
    Fructose-1-P is split by aldolase B to glyceraldehyde and dihydroxyacetone phosphate, both of which are converted into glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate enters glycolysis downstream of 6-phopshofructokinase, the main regulated step of glycolysis. Liver glucose metabolism is limited by the inhibition of glucokinase (which is inhibited by fructose-6-P), by the control of 6-phosphofructokinase, and by capacity to store glycogen. Fructose metabolism is not subject to these same controls and therefore fructose serves as a relatively unregulated source of acetyl-CoA. One product of increased hepatic acetyl-CoA is the formation of lipids, which may explain the fact that fructose is more lipogenic than glucose. So the more fructose consumed, the more lipids made by the liver.

    c. What is the response of beta cells to increases in glucose?
    Increased glucose metabolism by beta cells results in an increase in the ATP/ADP ratio, which causes depolarization of beta cells, influx of Ca, and secretion of insulin. Elevated insulin activates glucose uptake in fat and muscle cells, inhibits gluconeogenesis (liver), and promotes fatty acid storage. Insulin also regulates the secretion of leptin and other adipokines from fat cells (the mechanism is not known). These adipokines are important regulators of metabolism. Leptin acts primarily in the brain to regulate food intake (inhibit) and energy expenditure (increase). Leptin is one of a number of factors involved in energy homeostasis. Thus, the amount of glucose ingested is monitored by the beta cells and this information is relayed to fat, muscle, and liver via insulin release. This is an extremely important component of the mechanism used to monitor metabolic status. Fructose, because it is not efficiently metabolized by the beta cells (lack of fructokinase), does not stimulate insulin release. Hence, fructose calories go “unobserved” by the beta cells.

    This only suggests a possible reason for how increased fructose in the diet could be responsible for increased obesity. It is likely much more complicated, and certainly involves other factors, but consider how much fructose use has increased in recent times? In 1970, the per capita use of high fructose corn syrup was about 0.5 lb and by 1997 it had risen to about 62 lbs. Sucrose was the main food sweetener in 1970, and by 1997 its use decreased significantly, being replaced by high fructose corn syrup.

    “We’ve been fretting so much about a 5% difference between the fructose content in the two sweeteners.”

    Consider this, consistent differences, even if very minor, between energy intake and energy expenditure can lead to large changes in body fat mass over time. In the United States most adults consume approximately 900,000 calories per year. If energy balance were positive by as little as 0.5% (12 calories/d), 1 pound of fat would be gained in 1 year. A 5% difference between sweeteners may not seem like a lot, but it has to be put into context.

  7. stewie griffin

    I have several dump and stir reactions going, so I have enjoyed following this topic. I didn’t know the biochemistry behind fructose metabolism. Given your knowledge of the subject area around the corner and down the hall, I’d be interested to hear what concrete steps you think should be taken in terms of public policy.
    I was thinking more about why add HFCS (or corn syrup) if many people don’t want it (well, assuming many people don’t want it anyways)? I don’t see the advantage for the food companies to add something extra if they don’t need to. I wouldn’t add an extra reagent that doesn’t need to be added to my reactions just because. Wouldn’t it be easier on for the food companies to simply not add any HFCS? It’s not like people are going to stop buying food just because it lacks sugar.. you can add your own sugar at home.

  8. Chemjobber

    There are two economic factors worth considering about corn versus sugar:

    1) The US government, through a variety of means, subsidizes the farming of corn. Therefore, the price of HFCS is somewhat artificially lower than it should be.

    2) The US government, through a variety of means, does not subsidize the growing of sugar plants; the price of sugar is somewhat artificially high. Most specifically, the US government has a trade quota on foreign sugar to protect domestic sugar farmers and manufacturers.

  9. Andrew Johnson

    I am decidedly not a chemist or biologist, but my understanding of the difference between HFCS and table sugar was that the difference is not so much a difference in component materials, but rather how long it takes before they are digested: because table sugar is normally crystallized it ends up taking longer to be digested and thus has a lower glycemic index?

    I hate carrying around unsubstantiated beliefs and would love to know more about something that has such a direct impact on day to day health; is there any truth to this line of thought, or is this logic totally off.

  10. JG

    First: enzyme kinetics of breaking down sucrose biologically vs. pre-split HFCS give different metabolic time constants which in a complex, feedback-laden, nonlinear metabolome make a big difference.

    Second: the metabolic pathway for glucose and fructose are very different with the latter leading straight to fats and other things the body doesn’t need in excess. Glucose dumps into the Kreb’s cycle. This alone should be enough reason to avoid both HFCS and sucrose as a general rule. At one time (in the 1960s and 1970s) that was actually the US government line: avoid sugar.

    Third: pancreatic cancer cells preferentially consume fructose – so even sucrose probably isn’t “all that” in any case. This is probably the scariest. But there is also the lack of feedback control on fructose metabolism that in contrast does exist for glucose which doesn’t give comfort for possible side-effects of overconsumption.

    Fourth: primate metabolic systems did not evolve with year-round availability of fructose from whatever source – fructose metabolic is exception (and this is even probably why fructose metabolizes to fats for the long-term energy rather than into the Kreb’s for quick energy). Fructose was likely only available in limited ripe fruit seasons. Most of the year, nada.

    Fifth: Modern humans now do live with year-round availability of fructose. One only needs to look at industrialized societies which restrain themselves from excessive fructose consumption (many Asia, Europe countries) to see how differently the body responds compared to the USA. Americans are uniformly and quite self-evidently über-fat as a nation. The metabolics and sugar consumption patterns can explain much of it without much need for elaboration.

    Lastly: the difference between chemistry and molecular biology/biochemistry. Once you hit a biological system, the antiseptic, over-simplified models of basic chemistry (like “sucrose is just glucose and fructose, which is HFCS, so it’s all the same and all good”) go out the window.

  11. Cynthia1770

    Hi,
    My google alert for HFCS picked up your post. First, I am in awe
    of around the corner and down the hall’s knowledge and ability to
    clearly explain metabolism of fructose. I had read before about
    fructose metabolism escaping controls at a certain point, but didn’t quite understand; now I do.
    So, I am addressing a pretty intellectual crowd. However, I would
    like to suggest that there is a difference between HFCS-55 and sucrose in terms of the fructose:glucose.
    HFCS-55, the sweetener used for all national brands of soda is
    55%fructose:45% glucose (some cite 55:43, but I will use the more
    conservative numbers) This may appear to be similar to the ratio
    found in sucrose (50:50)until you calculate the ratio.
    55%:45% = 55/45 = 1.22. This means in every American Coke there is,
    compared to glucose, 22% more fructose. The unexpected difference
    results from the fact that in any two component solution, if one
    increases, the other must decrease and fru vs. fru/glu is not linear.
    A few data points.
    50:50 = 1.0
    51:49 = 1.04
    53:47 = 1.13
    55:45 = 1.22
    This causes me concern. HFCS is only a blend of fructose and glucose. When Cargill is brewing up a batch of HFCS what is their tolerance for error? Let’s say its 2% (sounds fair) 1.02 X 55 = 56, “HFCS-56″ would then be 56:44 = 1.27.
    According to the stats, one third of our ingested HFCS calories comes via sweetened beverages. We have been inundated with excess fructose. For whatever reason the corn chemists decided on HFCS-55 they forgot or overlooked that their sweetener would create a fructose>>glucose imbalance that might be metabolically hazardous.
    Cynthia Papierniak, M.S.

  12. J-bone

    Sorry for the intemperate rant, yesterday was one of “those” days.

    I agree that there’s probably not a need for HFCS to be in everything, it always bothered me that canned peaches were slathered in sugar goo, they’re plenty sweet on their own.

    As far as what can/should be done, I don’t know. I can see how this would be a problem for people trying to shop responsibly for their kids (obviously, I don’t have any since the concern never crossed my mind). My comments were aimed more at the fact that they are changing the name simply to change the perception of it. People are so addicted to sugar that it’s common to have multiple energy drinks or mochas/lattes/frappucinos in a single day. But when health issues come up, they want to point the finger at food manufacturers rather than their own excesses.

    Could companies do better? Yes. Should they aim to do better? Yes. Will the public embrace it? I don’t know, but I have my doubts.

  13. TonyC

    Firstly, let me say this is a fabulously well informed group of commenters – and that I’m sorry that my input will cause the composite intelligence to dip alarmingly … but anyway :)

    One of the primary cooking uses of fructose is to avoid crystalization in saturated solutions aka sugar syrups. Any ‘good’ cook knows that it is very easy to ruin a sugar syrup made of regular table sugar (sucrose)… but the addition of a little fructose helps to avoid the rampant crystalization. It acts as a buffer, somewhere (Once upon a time I may have known the exact dynamics – not no more, sorry).

    [sidebar] Strange-but-true, the source of that additional fructose for cooks was usually ‘corn syrup’ – which was always naturally higher in fructose[/sidebar]

    So from a ‘physical food chemistry’ perspective, HFCS makes a lot of sense for companies who make syrups – the excess fructose, on top of the balanced, essentially pure mixture of the monosaccharides (glucose and fructose), promotes more reliable syrups and much greater continuous process flow rates with fewer manufacturing problems. From a food-process-industry perspective HFCS is the perfect feedstock! Syrups are also a feedstock for many other processes that require low-moisture-content liquid sweeteners (too much moisture content requires additional energy to process it out!)

    The fact that it is also significantly cheaper is also a huge help to these producers. It’s that lower cost and high availability that has resulted in HFCS instead of sugar in many other foods, where fructose is not a process-imposed component.

    I don’t think the producers using and promoting HFCS are *teh EVIIILL*. Merely (appropriately) capitalistic and using what they can, where they can, to the advantage of their stockholders.

    I still don’t like it – and my family and I avoid highly processed foods in general – but I understand why it’s there.

  14. Stewie Griffin

    Thanks TonyC for pointing out why food companies would use HFCS. I was not aware that excess fructose made for good syrups (I feel like Alton Brown should have shared this with his viewers at some point :)) I think that’s really interesting info you provided.
    Just to be clear, I’m not trying to be a HFCS nazi and blame the evil food companies. I understand that there must be an advantage for them do use HFCS, and that they do so in order to make profits. I’m not against making money for yourself. However, if consumers are asking for a product without HFCS then the food companies have a responsibility to fill that niche rather than just up and change the name so they can say “Look! No HFCS anymore!” The reason I feel the right to be an entitled consumer here is that the food companies already get some of my money via corn subsidies. So whether or not I buy their food, they are still benefiting from some of my money. Therefore they have an obligation to provide what consumers (I) want… otherwise we should take away the subsidies and force the company to figure out the problem. If food companies are entitled to cheap feedstocks that rely on my (our) taxes, then we are entitled to demand what types of products we’d like to consume from them.
    By the way azmanam, this post has inspired me to run to the library later on and see if I can find a book related to this topic (preferably focused on the history of our subsidies and what not).

  15. Chemjobber

    Way to go, TonyC, for adding great knowledge to the conversation.

  16. azmanam

    Hello, Stewie, hello, all

    I can maybe find time for a post every now and then… but commenting… geez!

    Stewie: but if a majority of consumers are saying “No thanks, we don’t want the extra sugar in our foods” then the food producers should respond accordingly.

    They will… but then it’ll cost more, due to the artificially low price as you’ve noted elsewhere.

    We’ve kind of all gravitated toward the same general point: stop eating in gluttonous excesses. Simply changing the name will probably make consumers feel better about ‘eating fewer HFCSs’ … but isn’t really doing anything. I am of the opinion that kneejerk pointing the finger at sugar producers is missing the real problem – the jerk in the mirror. (same with demonizing McDs or Coke) We’re missing the point. If we were really concerned with the ‘health’ of the food we ate, we’d all be eating Dozer’s Tasty Wheat concoction from The Matrix.

    I very much appreciate the metabolism comments and the molecular gastronomy comments, thanks for helping us all understand the topic better :)

  17. Stewie Griffin

    “They will… but then it’ll cost more, due to the artificially low price as you’ve noted elsewhere.”
    Well if the prices goes up, then Americans should buy less. Or consumers would adapt and just buy a different brand or item to meet their need. The other option you fail to mention is that food companies could opt to put less of the now more expensive sugar (HFCS, sucrose, whatever it may be) into their food in order to keep the food prices roughly the same as before. Realistically, companies can’t charge $15 for a jar a peaches with the justification that HFCS is now more expensive. Well, they can try but nobody will buy it at that price and eventually the price would have to drop to what consumers are willing to pay. Either way, Americans would be consuming less sugar which is a good thing.

    “I am of the opinion that kneejerk pointing the finger at sugar producers is missing the real problem – the jerk in the mirror.”
    I have to disagree with you here. I can chose to not buy anything with HFCS as my own way to stick it to ‘em if I really wanted to, but it doesn’t matter… they get my money from subsidies no matter what my consumer behavior is. The jerk in the mirror would work from something like smoking cigarettes. If someone doesn’t want to smoke, they simply don’t buy cigarettes. At the same time that person isn’t forced to keep the price of cigarettes artificially low which allows everyone to continue puffing away. We can live without cigarettes, we can’t live without food.

    By the way, I picked up “Raising Less Corn, More Hell” from the library. I’m only a chapter in, but so far the message has been similar to what’s found in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. One of the first points the book reinforces is that big commercial food such as big macs seem cheap and efficient at the cash register but are actually way more expensive for society in the end. The meat is cheap b/c the cows are feed on subsidized corn. Growing all that corn requires tons of fertilizer. All that fertilizer leads to run-off which then uses up more tax dollars as we now must build more water filtration plants. All the cows we fatten on cheap corn produce tons of manure which must be dealt with (on the traditional farm this manure would be used as the fertilizer; modern day commercial farms eliminate the manure-to-fertilizer conversion and in doing some create two problems where there used to be none). I realize this all may seem a bit off the path of the HFCS discussion, but in the end I think the deeper discourse really revolves around whether or not it is a good idea for our food sources to be controlled by just a handful of giant food companies rather than many independent farmers.

  18. Daniel Levy

    An excellent analysis from the biology/biochemistry perspective. From the chemistry side, there are dozens of different types of sugars – all having evolved for different purposes. To assume that “sugar is sugar” is a gross simplification of one of the most important classes of naturally occurring organic structures. Use of the term “corn sugar’ is simply a self-serving PR strategy by HFCS manufacturers and ammounts to nothing more than public deception.

  19. anonymous

    I would love to hear what you think of multivitamins. Chemically identical to the vitamin/mineral you would get from food.. but does the body handle it the same way when you get them all at once.. or in unusual amounts/ratios?

  20. Cynthia1770

    This is straight from ADM’s website.
    They make three grades of HFCS.
    Cornsweet 42, Cornsweet 55, and the intensely sweet Cornsweet 90 used for lo-cal foods and beverages. numbers = % fructose.
    Quite a range in the % fructose. Calculate the fru:glu for each
    and you have 12 fold range across the span of sweeteners.
    And the CRA wants to lump these all together under the
    gentle rubric, “corn sugar”
    I hope the FDA does the math.
    Cynthia

  21. Dave

    All roads lead to Fructose as the unhealthy culprit.

    Since the introduction of HFCS, we’ve increased the amount of sweeteners in our foods, but more importantly, HFCS has pretty much completely replaced the use of straight glucose as a sweetener, thereby causeing a massive massive spike in our fructose intake. HFCS is for practical purposes the same as our table-sugars and honey, but the amount we’re eating is significantly higher than before, given the substitution for glucose.

    Fructose metabolizing also does not trigger at least two of the chemical controls that tell us “Hey, stop eating, I’m full”, keeping a vicious circle in motion.

  22. FB

    Perhaps not specific to HFCS but related, I think..Where the FDA is regulating what goes into mass produced foods owned by big business, not soley the manufacturers..keeping the general public unwittingly hooked on sugar therefore wanting, “needing”,buying more, results in more health problems from obesity to diabetes, heart disease, the list goes on..we as a nation of sick people will be prescribed more drugs and the same companies at the top get richer..keep them sick, buy more drugs, buy more legal poison, buy more drugs..Why else would sucralose, a virtual peticide be in over 6000 products, even those not said to be low in sugar? It’s in pepto bismol for pete’s sake..feel queasy , take pepto with sucralose(further reducing micro flora) noone gets well-better to line the pockets of big business..HCFS, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils…Skip them all..you don’t have to be rich to eat nutritionally you just have to want the best for yourself and your families.

  23. some guy

    From someone that has a little education in the wholesale food industry: Fructose is sweeter than sucrose or glucose: Sweetness scale value of 100 = sucrose {sugar beets and cane sugar, post-molasses, fructose = 120.

    Using HFCS reduces the total amount of sugar used in foods. The body digests it completely. The only points that are seemingly up for discussion are the process [the same process used to get ANY syrups, be it corn or rice] and the rate of metabolism [when the scientific field can make conclusive claims stating that HFCS is digested slower is when the food industry will REALLY shy away from it, moreso than they have been the last three years].

    It’s unfortunate that this anti-HFCS propaganda continues to spread. It is hurting many American industries. [corn, juices, sodas, bread, et c]

  24. Vincent DeSolano

    @ Someguy: I worry more about the people ingesting HFCS, than the corporations or farmers who profit from it. The fact is, chemically, it is obvious why the breakdown or metabolization is not the same. And more and more studies are linking the drastic rise in obesity to the use of corn sweeteners. No one here should be surprised or confused. As someone pointed out, the absence of crystallization common in real sugar based syrups make HFC an attractive alternative in foods but, corporations need to put health before profit. I trust the FDA about as far as I can throw them. They have routinely approved foods & drugs that have dangerous (If not fatal) side effects. Lobbying and campaign contributions go a long way.

    I highly encourage people to make a real effort to phase out as many products that contain HFCS as possible. Not an easy task, I know but….

  25. Kevin Harrison

    @ Vincent DeSolano I agree with you Vince. How twisted is it when @Some Guy seems more concerned with the corporations that make this poison rather than the unwitting children who ingest it. I am proud to say that my two daughters of 5 and 7 years have never been to a fast food place ever. They read the labels and point out if they see HFCS on the label and ask me why we have it in our house. Mind you, we are not rich, but do what we can to limit the amount of artificial colors, sweeteners, HFCS, and pesticides in our food. Why would anyone knowing allow their loved ones to ingest something that is bad for their bodies?

    Anyone who is more concerned with the corporations making their profits, either does not have children, or does not have a conscience.

  26. Belisarius

    The problem with high fructose corn syrup is that, unlike sucrose (which is digested into glucose), it does not cause appetite suppression via insulin release. Your mother used to tell you not to eat sweets before supper because it would spoil your appetite. Not any more.

    Wikipedia High Fructose Corn Syrup article:
    “Fructose is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract by a different mechanism than that for glucose. Glucose stimulates insulin release from the isolated pancreas, but fructose does not. Fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. Once inside the liver cell, fructose can enter the pathways that provide glycerol, the backbone for triacylglycerol. ”

    Of course sucrose can be overdone and cause its own problems. But at some point it will at least suppress your appetite. HFCS on the other hand is insidious.

  27. azmanam

    I disagree with your assessment Belisarius. I’m not denying that fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin release. But one of the assumptions of your argument is that HFCS contains only fructose and zero (or very little) glucose. This is a mistaken assumption. Most HFCS used is 55% fructose and 42% glucose. By contrast sucrose is 50% fructose 50% glucose. There is still a significant amount of glucose in HFCS to stimulate insulin release.

  28. Betsy

    A wonderful job. Super hpelful information.

  29. Russ Bianchi

    55 DE HFCS is a synthetic (does not exist in nature) monosaccharide – this is FACT.

    Sucrose (cane or beet that does exist in nature) is a dissaccharide – this is FACT.

    If you juce a cane or bett you get sucxrose, if you jucie a corn cob or kernal you do not get HFCS.

    Sucrose carmelizes at 228.5 degrees F, this is FACT.

    HFCS crystallizes at 65 degrees F and burns at 140 degrees F, this is FACT.

    A monosaccharide is NOT a disaccharide, this is FACT.

    The physical melting points on HFCS and Sucrose are different, this is FACT.

    Sucrose metabolizes readily to blood glucose, both hyper and hypo glycemically, within 60 minutes of ingestion, promarily to blood glucose, this is FACT.

    HFCS is primarily not recognized in the KREBS CYLE for conversion to blood glucose, and is converted to triglycerides, LDL serum cholesterol formation, as well as stored adipose (fat) tissue, this is FACT.

    Chemistry DOES NOT LIE like the Corn Refiners Association, HFCS is not sucrose.

    HFCS is indeed linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and premature aging and birth defects, in a huge and growing body of medically peer reviewed studies.

    Chemically refined corn (to HFCS) is to nutrition, what porn is to fine art (factually based opinion).

    Read FAT LAND by Greg Critser, The Truth About the Drug Companies by Dr. Marcia Angell, MD, retired Editor & Chief of The New England Journal Of Medicine and SWEET DECPTION by Drs. Joseph Mercola & Kendra Pearsall, or several thousand other books on the subject, in my recommended reading sections, as well as videos at http://www.russbianchi.com

    There was no consumption of HFCS in 1971, it did not exist, this is FACT.

    Today 1 out of 3 Americans is hypoglycemic, insulin resistant, type 1 or 2 diabetic, versus 1 out of 28 in 1965, and 7 out of 10 Americans are obese or morbidly obese today, versus 1 our of 45 in 1965.

    In 2011, the consumption (under reported by USDA in relation to both real bushel conversion numbers, and then sand-bagged by dry weight comparisons) is really over 100 pounds per person per year in food, beverages/soda, cosmetics, supplements, confectionery, dairy, drugs, flavors, alcoholic products, etc.

    20 pounds exposure or ingestion per year of HFCS causes all the aforementioned adverse health issues in any adult or child.

    Chemically and genetically refined corn KILLS.

    Uncle Sam is a pimp (seeking tax revenue and lobbying/campaign billions) for/from death merchants, susidized porn corn, alchohol, tobacco, arms/weaponry, chemicals, drugs, genetic modification, sick-care, big energy (oil/nukes/coal), insurance rackets, as well as ponzi schemes like social security and medicare.

    Want PROGRESS? Vote out every incumbent in CONGRESS.

    To your best health!

    Russ Bianchi

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  31. RandomReader

    I agree that there is an abundance issue with HFCS in the USA. I moved to the US a few weeks ago from New Zealand. I have found it difficult to avoid HFCS – for example I have only found one loaf of bread that didn’t contain some type of sweetener. Bread is supposed to be savoury. If you want sweet bread then there is cake, donuts, cupcakes, muffins and etcetera. I’ve been told that US Americans won’t eat savoury bread but you know what? How can they know if they like it or not if it’s unavailable! I have digestive sensitivity so I watch what I put into my body very carefully. I may resort to baking my own bread but that can be very time consuming.

  32. LDF

    if i drink a soda with HFCS, i some times get a headache. it always makes me feel bad and makes my joints ache. if i drink a soda with real surgar like for exsample “pepsi throwback” then none of the above will happen. your body doesn’t lie. i don’t care what they say, i can feel the difference.

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