Wednesday, March 6, 2013

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

High-fructose corn syrup, HFCS

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) also called glucose/fructose syrup comprises any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness.

In the United States, consumer foods and products typically use HFCS as a sweetener. It has become very common in processed foods and beverages in the U.S., including breads, cereals, crackers, salad dressings, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups, and condiments.

It also used to sweeten just about all of the regular soda in the US.

HFCS consists of 24% water, and the rest sugars.

Is high-fructose corn syrup bad for you?

HFCS is identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is 50 percent fructose. Metabolic studies suggest our bodies break down and use HFCS and sucrose the same way. However, after HFCS began to be widely introduced into the food supply, obesity rates skyrocketed.

Other health concerns raised about HFCS, which allege contribution to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Critics of the extensive use of HFCS in food sweetening argue that the highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions.

The use of food grade hydrochloric acid in the processing of corn syrup has given rise to the unconfirmed speculations that HFCS itself is a source of inorganic mercury a known neurotoxin. The food industry does no longer use conventional chemical hydrolysis for the manufacture of HFCSs but instead a multi-step bioprocess with bacterial enzymes is applied.

Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said that "They (HFCS, natural sugars) all have the same caloric effects as sugar". "I don’t care whether something contains concentrated fruit juice, brown sugar, honey or HFCS. The only better sweetener option is ‘none of the above."

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