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Sugar, and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Updated on March 9, 2016
Natural sugar cane
Natural sugar cane

Sugars and Diabetes

Is anyone as confused as I am about HFCS (High fructose corn syrup)? The amount of hype is incredible and all it does is confuse the issue, I started this article with a certainty about what is and is not good to eat, HFCS is EVIL! Then I started researching. To a diabetic this stuff can be life or death so we should have the right information to make rational decisions.

There is an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country and as our diet spreads around the world our problems are along for the ride. Recently Mexico has taken the lead and is now the fattest country in the world, saddly we are number 2.

Let’s add some definitions

Testing blood sugar
Testing blood sugar

Eating starch equals eating sugar

One of the key facts that gets overlooked in many diets is that
Starches are nothing but chains of sugar molecules. This means that your body will turn a starch like white flour into blood sugar more quickly than if you eat table sugar. Think about how a factory transforms corn starch into corn syrup, your body does the same thing with the starches you consume! When you are eating white bread, rice, mashed potatoes and pasta you might as well drink a bottle of corn syrup.

Simple Sugar Scientists call simple sugars Monosaccharides or Disaccharides,

These will include the so called bad carbs like candy and white sugar but also fruits and milk are sources of simple sugars so not all are bad.

Complex Sugars or Complex Carbohydrates, scientists call complex carbs Polysaccharides these molecules are chains of three or more simple sugar molecules that can be “disassembled” into simple sugars. This group includes things like pasta, potatoes, rice, vegetables and grains. The advantage of the complex carbs is that they will come to you packed with an array of other nutrients like vitamins and fiber that you need for healthy nutrition. The bad part is when they are refined into things like white flour, instant potatoes or white rice. These products have had many of the nutrients and fiber stripped away to make them more palatable but in that process what you have left is little more than starch.

Glucose is blood sugar; if you buy corn syrup in any grocery you are buying glucose. Glucose is what we all use as energy and even plants create glucose through photosynthesis.. Your body can make its own glucose out of the carbohydrates you eat. Too much glucose in the blood is a sign of diabetes; this is the result of losing the ability to regulate the amount of glucose in our blood stream. Normal blood sugar is defined as 70 to 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood when fasting, after eating a normal level may be as high as 140 mg/dL.

Dextrose is just another name for glucose, the name deriving from how it rotates polarized light. Dextrose is the only naturally occurring form of glucose. (There are other forms of glucose)

CNN: The mystery of high fructose corn syrup, 38 poundsof HFCS per person per year

US Sugar consumption


Mmmm! Sugar

A lollipop, pop, lolly, sucker, or sticky-pop is a type of confectionery consisting mainly of hardened, flavored sucrose with corn syrup mounted on a stick and intended for sucking or licking. They are available in many flavors and shapes.
A lollipop, pop, lolly, sucker, or sticky-pop is a type of confectionery consisting mainly of hardened, flavored sucrose with corn syrup mounted on a stick and intended for sucking or licking. They are available in many flavors and shapes. | Source

Complex carbohydrates


Fructose, also called Fruit Sugar. Honey, fruits, melons and berries all have significant amounts of fructose in them combined with glucose and stored in the form of Sucrose. Fructose is 1.73 times sweeter than table sugar.

Galactose, is another simple sugar, Monosaccharide, found in milk. This is important in human lactation. Galactose is not soluble in water so it is not often used in food.

Lactose: commonly known as milk sugar. Simple sugar, Disaccharide. It is the principal carbohydrate found in milk. Lactose is composed of molecules of glucose and galactose. In order to digest lactose your body must produce the enzyme lactase, lacking this enzyme makes you lactose intolerant.

Maltose: known as malt sugar. Simple sugar, Disaccharide. Found in grains and used in brewing beer. Maltose is composed of 2 glucose molecules and half as sweet as table sugar.

Sucrose is common table sugar sometimes called Saccharose. This is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose. Worldwide we produce 150 million tons of sugar every year! No wonder we’re fat and diabetic!

High Fructose Corn Syrup


HFCS; High Fructose Corn Syrup doesn’t even exist in nature; it is made in a factory by processing corn starch into corn syrup which is almost entirely glucose.

Next they use enzymes to convert some of the glucose to fructose. Uncle Sam subsidizes the production of corn and this makes HFCS a cheaper alternative to sugar and that’s the reason we see so much of it in our diet. It’s cheap. The main difference between table sugar and HFCS is that in sucrose (table sugar), fructose and glucose are chemically bonded into one molecule that has to be broken down in the stomach to enter the bloodstream; HFCS has two separate molecules that enter the bloodstream directly. HFCS has gotten so much bad press recently that the industry is trying to change the name to Corn Sugar.

Yummy Cargil Corn sweeteners
Yummy Cargil Corn sweeteners | Source

Refining ourselves to death

We are refining our foods to the point that much of what we eat is devoid of the nutrition our ancestors ate. White bread, candy and sodas are not natural foods. Leave sugar on the table and nothing will grow on it, bacteria and molds don't even recognize sugar as food yet we consume tons of the stuff.

Sugars and digestion, glucose is used by all of the cells in our body that use energy but Fructose has to be metabolized in the liver. This is both good and bad, fructose won’t raise your blood glucose levels but an excessive amount of fructose may damage the liver. “The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic” If you’re diabetic you may be trading blood sugar levels for liver disease, but maybe that’s just if you’re a diabetic rat.

Are there any healthy alternatives to white sugar? eHow has an article titled “How to Bake With Healthy Sugar” One of their suggestions is Agave Syrup, well that’s another article entirely but rest assured that Agave Syrup is not a better alternative.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, sugar and other sweetener consumption in 2003 was 142 pounds per person. That is a 19% rise since 1970 and far more than our ancestors would have eaten in a lifetime

At last a conclusion is obvious, it’s not the HFCS or the sucrose or the fructose it’s all the sugar in our diet! Want some good advice?
Limit the total amount of sugar you consume!
Sugars in various forms have found their way into almost everything made by the giant food companies! Soups, sauces, snack foods, cereals, the list of foods with added sweeteners is almost endless. If you are trying to cut back on the sugar you consume it’s time to start reading labels.
And, maybe, Horrors! start cooking your own food instead of opening a package


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    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      5 years ago from Citra Florida


      I started gardening about 3 years ago.

    • KevSutton profile image

      Kevin Sutton 

      5 years ago from Gulf Shores, Alabama

      yea your so right! Right now when I go in the groecery stores I find it hard to buy things. Only way to go is planting your own food.

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      5 years ago from Citra Florida

      Thanx for stopping by Kev. Yes, it can be difficult to turn knowledge into action. The more research I have done, the more I'm discouraged about what we eat in this country.

    • KevSutton profile image

      Kevin Sutton 

      5 years ago from Gulf Shores, Alabama

      Great article indeed. I have learned a lot to apply in my daily life. thanks again.

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      9 years ago from Citra Florida

      I guess I'll have to research Stevia, all I know at the moment is that it has been used in Japan for decades with no ill results reported. I have grown it in my own garden but in the leaf form it is hard to use. My assumption, based on NO RESEARCH is that Stevia will prove safer than any of the manufactured sweeteners.

      As far as Agave syrup is concerned there are a lot of scam products out there that produce the syrup with the same process as corn syrup. There are some all natural organic agave syrups on the market so look for all natural and organic on the label. Aside from that I have some info that I still need to organize into an article.t future. Thank You!

    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen Lewis 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Great hub - very thorough and very good information. Thanks for all your research! By the way, I am using Stevia - do you happen to have any handy information on that (or is that another hub)? (I've also used Agave syrup because I thought it was harmless but it would seem from your comment... "rest assured that Agave Syrup is not a better alternative"... that you have information that this is also not good for consumption)?

      Thanks again, voted up and useful :-) Helen


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