High fructose corn syrup doesn't taste nearly as good as sugar, and the consensus among nutritionists is that it is also much worse for us. Considering these facts, why are virtually all soft drinks (except the diet ones) sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, rather than sugar?
I've heard people say it's because HFCS is cheaper and soft drink manufacturers are "greedy". But if you think about it, that doesn't really make sense. If they perceived that there is a strong market for a higher priced soft drink sweetened with sugar, wouldn't they respond to that market demand?
So my question is: why is everybody buying soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup? Is there a market force at play here besides the interplsy among price, taste and nutrition?
Aya, if you have a costco near you, they are now carrying what is being called "Mexican Coca Cola". it's made in mexico by the coca cola company, and they use real sugar. it tastes just like the coke of old!
I hate soft drinks and I refuse to drink these anymore. Seeing people become diabetic has shown me I do not want to chance having adult diabetes onset myself.
SweetiePie, good for you! I don't drink soft drinks at home anymore, but I do occasionally when I go out to dinner. I would like to have one sweetened with sugar on the menu. (At home, I mix my own, combining soda water and fruit juice.)
But what about people who do drink soft drinks? Why would they choose HFCS over sugar?
I agree with what you are saying, natural sguar is better than corn syrup. One thing I really like is pallegrino, which is Italian sparkly water mixed with orange juice. There is a little bit of sugar in these drinks, and these are more expensive, but I prefer these over soda as a treat from time to time. I also like the Arrowhead and Perrier sparkling waters with lemon flavors. These are not soda, but I find that bubbly water makes up for it.
I also forgot to mention Hansen soda, which has always had natural pure cane sugar. I remember taking those to school sometimes as a kid, and I know they sell those even at smaller grocery stores, at least out here on the West Coast.
Definitely a huge business deal going on between corn growers, manufacturers of HFCS, and food industry. I noticed the other day that it was in my ketchup! W? Thought that was tomatoes, maybe a shot of vinegar...sheesh. You really gotta read those labels!
I think sugar was always one of the ingredients of ketchup, but it's even worse if HFCS has been substituted. Do you think people are unaware of the switch and that's why the market tolerates the inferior product?
Yes, you are right about the sugar in ketchup. I do think that most people are unaware. Also, sugar has had a pretty good smear campaign run on it by artificial sweetener makers so I think a lot of people are more willing to accept sugar substitutes.
I think that's exactly it, Aya Katz! I never was a big label reader until I met my current husband. He's watched too many programs on HFCS and he watches it carefully. It's in everything. Look at cans of beans! I gave up sodas April 19th. I've quit them several times in my past but always went back after 5-6 months. I just decided 'that's it' and I'm done with them now. A local Texas-based grocer has realized the demand for ketchup with sugar instead of HFCS and has started marketing it. I'm glad to see the switch back. Maybe more will see it.
High fructose corn syrup was much cheaper to produce than sugar and had 'nearly' the same taste as sugar. An entire infrastructure was created around the manufacturing of this product...and it is not fiscally beneficial for any company to change this any time soon.
There are millions of soft drink addicts out there - Warren Buffet with his Coke shares can attest, .
You can see these principles in action with the attempt to commercialize the natural sweetner, Stevia. Right now, it is only licensed as a supplement and not marketed very well or broadly...it is also expensive. However, it has been in use as a general sweetner for decades in Europe and especially the Asian countries. Why? The large soft drink companies in the U.S. have a vested interest in the development of this product to their economic interests, so it is very hush hush. Stevia is a natural plant product with very few calories and is many times sweeter than sugar; does not cause diabetes and actually HELPS diabetics maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
I just gave away my big stock market secret. Ooops. Oh, well, I'll stick to real estate. Even if the wolves do come and eat my naive, silly little soul in the big bad capitalist market. lol At least it ain't boring...
Lita, if Stevia is natural, why does it need to be licensed as a supplement? Or as anything else for that matter?
I used to be a Coke addict, too, but I was drawn by the taste. When the taste changed, I eventually gave it up.
Amen, Lita. To this day I'm sure that I became diabetic at least partly because of HCFS. Since I cut that crap out I've lost about 50 pounds. It's done my blood sugar control a world of good. I have to disagree with you about the capitalism thing, though. The government subsidizes HFCS at the behest of corn growers and food manufacturers alike. They also maintain a tariff on sugar, keeping the price high. Hawaii is one of the few places in the US you can cheaply grow sugar cane so there's not much domestic competition.
What really burns me is that they've kept Stevia off the market. At one point, it was illegal to possess. They treated it just like cocaine or heroin. All at the behest of the very people who are killing us. And you wonder why I'm against government and regulation.
Ledenfensetech, thanks for shedding some light on the reason the market seems so skewed in favor of HFCS. I felt something was a little unnatural about it. Since you seem to know a lot on the subject of government subsidies in favor of corn syrup and tariffs on sugar, you seem like the ideal candidate to write a hub explaining this to the general public!
Yes, but... sigh. Sometimes you guys are so busy proving your point, that I don't know if you see the obvious...perhaps to your detriment. They are all in bed together. It's a give and take with big interests (its a give and take everywhere).
Anyway, according to my research (done a while ago), one of the large cola companies (Pepsi?) already has the rights to Stevia and is working with a company--believe it is Blue California--to create a commercially feasible large scale production of Stevia in consumer items... So, no, I don't think it is up for grabs.
In stocks, you could make money, though, I'm thinking.
The wolves have still not eaten me! lol...
And LDT, I have a Diet Coke addiction. I am something of a caffeine freak, so don't feel bad. I'm gonna get some neurological thing for sure (!)... We do buy Stevia and use it to sweeten when cooking or ice tea, etc.
Yes, the smear campaign by artificial sweeteners didn't help. But isn't there a sugar lobby? Why aren't they fighting back?
Hmm, I would assume that there is & don't know why we don't hear from them...is this a hub in the works?? Would be a good one!
Are you kidding? People don't want to hear that. I get enough flak over the comments and forum posts I make. Still I can't really turn down a challenge. Hmmm. I'd first start by explaining how a market determines price, then how intervention skews the market.....OK you got me man. I'll work on it.
I don't touch any soft drinks anymore and haven't for years! It has become increasingly difficult to buy healthy drinks and even much of the water is suspect and I hate paying for something that ought to be free! Most fruit juice has sugar added, Diet drinks have the very poisonous aspartame or other toxic sweeteners and soft drinks have sugar or high fructose corn syrup!
Here in the US you can buy orange juice and pomegranate juice that is 100% pure with no sugar added. It is pretty easy to find in California anyway. I miss squeezing oranges to make orange juice, so maybe I will do that again soon.
I have this addiction to soda, I can't help it. It's diet now of course, but I figure if I eat tons of broccoli and other antioxidants I'll have a chance against the negative aspects of aspartame. If we could get it legalized here, I'd love to start a company that used Stevia as the sweetener. I'd make a killing. Hmmm. My brother is a chemical engineer and he's working on a masters in industrial manufacturing. It could be done.
It depends on the country, I think - soft drinks here have sugar, corn syrup is vanishingly rare.
Lita that commercially feasible form of Stevia won't be natural. It'll be folded, spindled and mutilated like Splenda. Patent law, strangely enough, is clear in this case, you cannot patent a natural substance. Heck if they ever legalized drugs opium couldn't have a patent, but heroin could. Strange I know.
I know they're all in bed together Lita, that's a big part of the problem. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, to the detriment of everyone else. What most people don't realize is that we can increase the size of the pie.
I would have to check out the info. in your top para. It was my understanding that it wouldn't have the bad effects of other sweetners, including sugar.
And here is what I don't like about that pie: I like pie just fine. Yum. Need it. Yep. But I'm an artist/writer--and NO it is not about the market in the common sense, ie, I don't give a rip about most best sellers or glicee rip off art prints or the market of antiquity art by dealers to rich people so they can prove 'taste.' I'm the literary/artistic type...you know, the kind where blood sweat tears go into the work and you are not paid if ever or recognized until you are dead. Like most great art....or potential for great art.
But I can't do art, but maybe part-time, if I decide to crowd it into my already crowded day. I've got to make the $$, scheme for ways to increase my piece of pie for various reasons because of the way the system is. And great, lovely, I'm finding out I'm not even bad at it. Still....that is not where it is AT. And I don't believe that is what the whole of humanity is really about. It isn't our full potential. And that makes me mad, as well as sad.
Capitalism is not the end all and not where we will end up ultimately, I think (oh, I just said the 'C' word, lol). Shhhh. Frankly, I believe where we are headed doesn't have an 'ism' causing fight word attached to it, and thank God.
I'd like to get away from the -isms too. But saying something like an economic system in which the producers keep the profit of what they produce, so they can continue to produce and lower costs to the benefit of their customers gets a little long. Maybe if I just save it to clipboard and cut and paste as needed?
Didn't Lenin say that in order to have a successful revolution "first confuse the language"?
We're better off not eating too much sugar, either, though.
I really have lost my taste for soft drinks-- but HFCS is also used in MANY many other products, like salad dressings, "fruit" juices, cereals, even canned beans and tomatoes.
As I understand it, HFCS is not metabolized in the same way as natural sugars. It adds a lot of calories with no other nutritional value and may have other long term bad effects.
Hansen's Natural sodas does have a line of beverages, including cola (with no caffine, artificial colors or sodium) using cane sugar-- which is a better choice, though sugar should also be moderated.
I never knew Hansen's had cola too, I have only seen the fruit flavored sodas here. I would be interested to try it. Personally I would not mind if it had caffeine as that is naturally occuring in the kola nut, but the corn syrup and perservatives I can do without. I heard Pepsi is not making their own version of natural soda with the kola nut and cane sugar.
Their 'cola' is a vanilla cola-- they also have a cane sugar root beer and other fruit flavors-- I think the carbonation is a little strong, but that could be because I have given up on most carbonated drinks all together and am not used to it any more.
I think Hansens are not making anything with High fructose corn syrup anymore. Many of their drinks are clear-- or 'natural' color. I'm impressed with what they are trying to do. If they cost a bit more-- OK-- just drink a little less.
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