High fructose corn syrup is a blend of two single sugars; glucose and fructose. Sucrose or table sugar is a disaccharide or double sugar, where two sugars are still connected and contains 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Honey, is also typically composed of 50% fructose and 50% glucose and like high fructose corn syrup, the two sugars are not connected.
Why is high fructose corn syrup used in our food production in the first place?
High fructose corn syrup is an inexpensive caloric [has calories] sweetener. Over the years, it has been added to more and more foods. There has been a 40% increase use of high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener from 1970 to 1997. Before its use, sucrose was the primary sugar used in food manufacturing; as such, with the increase use of high fructose corn syrup, there's been a concurrent decrease in the use of sucrose. High fructose corn syrup is displacing sucrose.
What are the concerns about high fructose corn syrup?
As a sweetener, high fructose corn syrup has been blamed for nearly every health woe known to humanity. As well it has been implicated with the increased rates of insulin and leptin resistance and the subsequent increase in overweight and obesity, and heart disease that follows. While it's true that fructose consumption has increased over the past century, to blame high fructose corn syrup as the single causative factor is an at best an oversimplification and at worst misguided and confusing. Total added sugar used by food manufacturers and the subsequent consumption of added sugars is to blame. As a nation, we are without doubt consuming too much.
How to avoid high fructose corn syrup
Become savvy and learn the many names that sugar goes by such as glucose-fructose, sugar, liquid invert sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, cane sugar, barley malt, brown rice syrup – the list of alternate names is almost endless, it's not just an issue of high fructose corn syrup. Using the Nutrition Facts Table is misleading since the total sugar content does not distinguish between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. The key is to use the ingredient list.