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What is High-Fructose Corn Syrup?

Have you ever really looked at the ingredients of your favorite drink, munchies, or snack? Chances are if you have, that you have seen the same ingredient on each, high-fructose corn syrup. What is high-fructose corn syrup really? Is it something that is inherently dangerous, as we have been hearing on some commercials? Or is it really nothing more than another type of sugar? Well, here are a few facts that you can use to help form your own opinion.

  • What is it made from? High-fructose corn syrup was first made in the 1970's, and is actually made from cornstarch. Chemically, this syrup contains about 45% glucose, and 55% fructose. This means that it has pretty much the same sweetness level as natural honey.
  • Is it a naturally occurring sweetener? The simple answer is no, while the long answer is yes, but... High-fructose corn syrup is still made from cornstarch, which is a natural item, but it takes some special refineries and processes to make it. Since there are no synthetic or artificial ingredients or color additive used in the process that makes high-fructose corn syrup, it meets the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) guidelines to be considered natural. So, you can honestly say that it isn't but it is.
  • What is the difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar? Simply put, there really isn't that much difference between high-fructose corn syrup and the sugar that many people put in their coffee and tea. Each have the same number of calories, and are pretty much equal in sweetness. The only real difference is that sugar is made up of a 50/50 mixture of glucose and fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup has about 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  • Is it more dangerous than regular sugar? Many people have heard that this type of sweetener leads to a higher risk of diabetes, and other health problems. The truth is that it has as much of a chance of causing those health problems as any other type of sweetener. In reality, the cause of these types of health problems are actually a combination of total diet, activity, age, and whether you have a genetic predisposition towards those problems. According to some studies, the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has gone down over the past several years in the United States, but the rate of diabetes and obesity is actually still on the rise.
 

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