High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn and can be found in numerous foods and beverages on grocery store shelves in the United States.
High fructose corn syrup is composed of either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose, with the remaining sugars being primarily glucose and higher sugars. In terms of composition, high fructose corn syrup is nearly identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. Glucose is one of the simplest forms of sugar that serves as a building block for most carbohydrates. Fructose is a simple sugar commonly found in fruits and honey.
Key Points About High Fructose Corn Syrup
- The American Medical Association stated in June 2008 that “...high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners...”
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that recent studies “consistently found little evidence that HFCS differs uniquely from sucrose and other nutritive sweeteners in metabolic effects…”
- In 1983, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally listed high fructose corn syrup as safe for use in food and reaffirmed that decision in 1996.
- High fructose corn syrup may have a complicated-sounding name, but it’s essentially a sugar made from corn that is nutritionally the same as table sugar.
- High fructose corn syrup is not sweeter than sugar; and high fructose corn syrup, sugar and honey all contain the same number of calories (four calories per gram).
- High fructose corn syrup and sugar are metabolized similarly by the body.
- Many confuse pure “fructose” with “high fructose corn syrup.” Recent studies that have examined pure fructose have been inappropriately applied to high fructose corn syrup and have caused significant consumer confusion. High fructose corn syrup never contains fructose alone, but always in combination with a roughly equivalent amount of a second sugar (glucose).
- High fructose corn syrup is made from corn, a natural grain product. High fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets the FDA requirements for use of the term “natural.”
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