High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar – The Hype
High fructose corn syrup vs. sugar has been a highly debated topic over the past few years. The corn and sugar industry have been duking it out over whether one is more or less healthier than the other. It has been said that high fructose corn syrup or HFCS is partly responsible for the rise in obesity in America over the past few years. Is all the hype just a result of marketing between the two industries or is their any legitimacy to the arguments? Lets explore a few facts.
Glucose and Fructose
Glucose, a carbohydrate, is a simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and grains and is used by the body as its primary source of energy. Glucose is absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. It is glucose that is responsible for diabetes when the body cannot properly regulate it.
Fructose, which is particularly abundant in fruit is processed in the liver and does not enter the bloodstream as does glucose. This is why many diabetics use fructose as a sweetener. However, an overabundance of fructose which the liver cannot process is converted into triglycerides which are released into the bloodstream.
High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar – Composition
High fructose corn syrup is a derivative of corn that has undergone processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose which gives the product a more desirable sweet taste. HFCS is found in many consumer products today such as sodas, ketchup, salad dressing, and even meats and soups. The reason for the increased use of high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar is the low cost to produce HFCS. The same sweet effect can be obtained from HFCS as sugar so its use is a simple means of reducing overall production costs. High fructose corn syrup is composed of about 55% fructose and 45% gluclose as compared to sugar (also known as sucrose) which is has a composition of about 50% fructose and 50% glucose. In comparing high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar, they have essentially the same makeup, so the body processes them the same.
Over Consumption – The Real Problem With HFCS And Sugar
Despite any claims, products sweetened with sugar are not healthier than products sweetened with HFCS. According to the American Dietetic Association on high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar, both have the same number of calories. The real problem with obesity in America is not so much either of the products but the increased consumption of them. Americans consume more calories in sugar and HFCS than any other country in the world. As far as weight loss and management is concerned, restricting consumption of both products is paramount to success. Many of us don’t realize the implications of allowing our kids to freely consume sodas, candy, or other sugar/HFCS laden products. Moderation should be taught at an early stage so that our children will adopt more healthy lifestyles and possibly avoid the health problems associated with being overweight or obese.
So in the case of high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar, neither wins. It is your willingness to avoid over-consumption that makes the difference.