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Corn Syrup Today, Corn Sugar Tomorrow... Renaming High Fructose Corn Syrup

Updated on April 7, 2012
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Does your body know the difference between high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar?

I've become a bit of a health nut in recent years rediscovering my love for yoga, vegetarianism, & fresh, local foods and I believe we can greatly improve our lives by paying more attention to the physical & mental needs of our beings.

Recently, I saw a commercial of a farmer walking in a corn field, holding his daughter's hand, with sentimental music playing in the background...his message was "whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference" obviously attempting to generate support for corn farms.

Now, I am very much in favor of supporting local communities, preserving farmland, and self-sustainability, but all of those things are usually in favor of improving our health.
So, this statement was a bit of a shock to me.

Do you read food labels?

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I'm a label reader

Reading labels is actually kind of entertaining and scary at the same time. The habit has become a bit obsessive at times and definitely adds time to my trip to the grocery store, but I like to know what I am putting into my body and feeding to my family.

If I see high fructose corn syrup as an ingredient, I will quickly return the item to the shelf. I also try to stay away from white flours or other highly processed ingredients, basically any words that sound like they came from a mad scientists' lab instead of the earth.

So, this commercial has led me to ask myself a few questions:

What exactly is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)?

"High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)—also called glucose-fructose syrup[1][2] in the UK, glucose/fructose[3] in Canada, and high-fructose maize syrup in other countries—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..."
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-fructose_corn_syrup

Compared to sugarcane:

"Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species (depending on which taxonomic system is used) of tall perennialgrasses of the genus Saccharum (family Poaceae, tribe Andropogoneae). Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres (six to 19 feet) tall..."
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_sugar

Now, I don't know about you, but I would pick the ingredient grown in warm, tropical regions over the one that has been undergone any kind of chemical processing.

Do you try to avoid foods that contain high fructose corn syrup?

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What are the benefits of using HFCS in our foods?

It seems that there is actually no benefit to the consumer, but the food industry certainly benefits. High fructose corn syrup is:

  • Cheaper
  • Sweeter
  • and has a Longer shelf-life

Would you purchase food that contains 'corn sugar'?

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What does corn sugar do to our bodies?

Corn sugar certainly does sound much more consumer friendly than high fructose corn syrup, but does your body truly react in the same way as digesting cane sugar?

I'm not a nutritionist, nor do I have any type of medical background to provide an educated response to this question, BUT I do know how my body feels after consuming processed foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup...nasty & lethargic!

How About You?

I'd love to hear your responses in the comments below:

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    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I try to avoid foods with HFCS and it can be quite a task! Even if it does not affect the body differently, it is more energy dense, which means it has more calories by volume - while costing less. Since it encourages manufacturers to pack products with empty calories, I would call it pretty un-beneficial.

      The really silly thing is that government policy has crated the HFCS craze by creating corn subsidies. Have you ever watched King Corn or read The Omnivores Dilemma? If you were on the fence about corn, these will probably send you leaping to the non-HFCS side!