Americans love food that tastes good and we find that food and drink companies are adding high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener to enhance flavors. Why are companies choosing this over other sweeteners? Is there a difference between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup? Why is it that some brands use high-fructose corn syrup for the U.S. market, yet sugar for Canadian and European markets?
The simple answer as to why high-fructose corn syrup is used is cost. It is a lot cheaper for food manufactures to use high-fructose corn syrup than real sugar. Also the supply of high-fructose corn syrup is almost limitless. Corn subsidies by the government can be the reason for both cost and supply.
Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are two different products even though both products are made from corn starch. Regular corn syrup is 100% glucose yet high-fructose corn syrup has some of its glucose converted to fructose enzymatically. Scientists are examining the potentially negative effects of consuming large amounts of fructose in the form of high-fructose corn syrup but regular corn syrup is not part of that consideration as it does not contain fructose.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the corn syrup you buy in the store for baking is free of high-fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, some manufacturers may add high-fructose corn syrup to regular corn syrup but it will be listed as an ingredient if that is the case. It is important to read labels carefully. Like all refined sweeteners, corn syrup should be consumed in moderation.
Elevated insulin levels are the foundation of many chronic diseases. Elevated insulin levels can be found as a primary factor in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, aging, arthritis and osteoporosis. And there are additional concerns for high-fructose corn syrup intake. There is evidence of an increase in triglyceride levels and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It is metabolized to fat in the body far more rapidly than any other sugar form and because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.
High-fructose corn syrup has also been linked to diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Read labels and better yet, minimize processed foods and try to consume more that don’t require labels like fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and the like.