Many people avoid “High Fructose Corn Syrup” (HFCS) because they believe it is unhealthy and worse than regular sugar. Fears of HFCS are usually about obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, or even liver damage.

 The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that in 1970 the average person consumed about 0.5 pounds of HFCS, while in the same year a person ate 16.8 pounds of other sweeteners.  By 1999, consumption of HFCS reached its peak, with 63.7 pounds of HFCS per person and 22 pounds of other sweeteners per year. Then, as people became more health conscious, the amounts of sugar consumption decreased. In 2009, an average person consumed 50.1 pounds of HFCS and 17 pounds of other sweeteners per year.

 HFCS is manufactured from corn syrup, which is primarily glucose, according to the Corn Refiners Association. An added enzyme converts some of the glucose into fructose, the same sugar found in fruits. Afterward, they are mixed together. which is another website of the Corn Refiners Association, says that HFCS is a made up of 42–55% fructose and the rest is glucose. Regular table sugar is equal parts glucose and fructose. They have almost the same chemical makeup, so the body can’t tell the difference between HFCS and table sugar, says

  Devra Shiba an Illinois-based Clinical Dietitian/Nutritionist for 34 years, says that both cane sugar and HFCS are chemically similar. Yet, Shiba states, “Excess amounts of either sugar need to be limited in the diet because of the health risks associated with overconsumption.” Both sugars can also lead to “dental cavities, poor nutrition, digestive problems, and high triglyceride levels.”

  Sharon S Elliott, Nancy L Keim, Judith S Stern, Karen Teff and Peter J Havel from the Department of Nutrition, University of California at Davis did a study in 2002 on fructose and weight gain. They said that “individuals who consume diets that are high in dietary fructose could therefore increase the likelihood of weight gain and metabolism issues.”

 Mehmet Oz, who is often seen on Oprah and is a professor of surgery at Columbia University in New York, tells viewers that HFCS is bad. "It blocks the ability of a chemical called leptin, which is the way your fat tells your brain it's there,”  Leptin is a protein hormone that regulates the amount of energy the body takes in.

 “They are both natural,” says Neva Cochran, a registered dietitian on MommyCast, a videocast website for parents to get answers to their health questions concerning their children. “One [table sugar] comes from cane and one comes from corn.” Sugar cane and cornstarch are both natural ingredients, making respectively table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Cochran also says that both sweeteners have the same calories, but HFCS reduces the tartness from acid ingredients, whereas table sugar just adds a sweeter taste. She believes that there are many benefits that HFCS can give to a product such as flavor to substitutes in food. Thus, HFCS is in more foods on the market.

  Richard Forshee, of the University of Maryland Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy, says that there are many other reasons for the rising obesity rates in the US and it is impossible to prove that an ingredient like HFCS is to blame. Things to factor in are lack of physical activity, availability of types of food, and fast food, and there are many other reasons that could explain individual increase in obesity.

 A 2007 study done by Kathleen J Melanson, a researcher from the Department of Nutrition and Foods at the University of Rhode Island, found there were no differences in metabolic effects between cane sugar and HFCS. She studied lean women and recorded the effects of corn syrup and sugars.

  Marilyn D. Schorin, a nutritional consultant to various food companes, stated in 2006, “Given what we know about the metabolism of orally ingested sugars, it is difficult to identify a plausible physiological explanation for how approximately equal amounts of fructose and glucose should have differential effects when chemically bonded (such as in sucrose) or not (such as in HFCS).” Anna Timmerberg

Relate story: Corn for Fuel of Corn for Food? 



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