Is HFCS Any Worse Than Table Sugar?

For years and years, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been demonized as being so much worse for us than normal sugar. But, why? No one explains the reasoning behind that.

HFCS was invented when corn was cheap in the ‘70s. Its rise in popularity coincided with the increase in obesity. But, as we have been told in science classes grade school, correlation is not causation. The era was also when snacks started becoming a part of daily life instead of people sticking to just three meals a day. The sweetener is made from regular corn syrup that has been exposed to enzymes to convert glucose into fructose. Interestingly, one rarely hears of regular corn syrup being put in a negative spotlight.

Both table sugar and honey have more fructose than HFCS. HFCS has 42 percent fructose whereas table sugar and honey have 50 and 49 percent respectively. The way this sweetener got its name is because plain corn syrup is glucose, so in comparison, HFCS is higher. Fructose impacts blood sugar in the same way, regardless of its form so HFCS won’t impact more than any other added sweetener. Structurally, there is no great difference between them. Published research has shown that fructose and glucose impact blood sugar in the same way.

Additionally, HFCS and other sugars have been shown to impact a person’s metabolism the same way. Only one study found that HFCS was worse than other sugars. Scientists not involved with the research called the investigation a “mockery of science.” The results contradicted themselves, and the participants didn’t eat the same amount of calories, nor did they track the calories they did eat.

This doesn’t mean you should start adding HFCS to your meals. It means that, for someone with blood sugar concerns, it’s no worse calorie-for-calorie than any other sugar. “Real cane sugar” will have the same impact. If you have blood sugar concerns and are cutting down on the sugar-added foods you eat, you should certainly read labels of your foods. However, you should be looking for all sugars, not HFCS specifically.

May 20, 2019

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