High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar: Not The Same Stuff

I just ran across the The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup website and had a few laughs.

They’re trying to tell us that Honey, Sucrose and HFCS are pretty much the same thing, only that HFCS happens to be in more and more stuff.

While part of the message is that HFCS isn’t fully to blame for the issues in America Health (which is true, if you ask me…), their statement that Sugar, Honey and HFCS are the same thing is wrong for the following reasons:

  • Sucrose and Honey are generally disaccharides, which means the fructose and glucose come together and have to be worked on by the digestion system to be absorbed into the body; which burns energy in its own right. HFCS has its fructose and glucose separate (they can actually mix them in different ratios; the normally digested HFCS is actually 55% fructose) and directly digested. In short, it adds a few more calories per meal/Big Gulp than Sucrose and/or Honey would add.
  • HFCS comes from corn, sucrose comes from sugar beets/cane, and honey comes from bees and flowers. As such, any “contaminants” (side ingredients) added to the sweeteners would be different. In the case of corn, we’re talking about carbon rings (and carbon atoms), proteins and genetic compounds that can be traced back to corn.
  • HFCS is made via a complicated process that changes a large portion of the sugars in Corn to a form not made by Corn. Only after that (and a couple other processes) is that changed product added back to corn syrup to make HFCS. Sugar, on the other hand, is cut up and boiled — hardly something that seems complicated; indeed this simple technology is the basis of what we call civilization today (cotton? give me a break). And honey…do it right and the bees will make it for you. All you have to do is harvest it (and leave enough for the bees to feed on during the winter).
  • Taste is different. Honey has its own taste (and you can affect it with the flowers you send the bees after), but so does Sucrose and HFCS. Give a taste test of two Pops and that person will be able to tell the difference. Chances are the older person will prefer the Sucrose formulation, while the younger person will prefer the HFCS formulation (unless they come from Mexico or are of the “sodapop connoisseur” variety and have developed a taste for the Sucrose form of their favorite pop).

Fact is, I think that the HFCS is less nutritious than even Sucrose, seeing as the stuff is put through a greater number of changes than Sucrose. Not only that, but it’s a bit more fattening than Sucrose or Honey by virtue of its being easier to digest as it is (can be digested directly, whereas even Sucrose must be worked on).

Furthermore, I think that HFCS has dropped off in part because the corn lobby’s been able to foist Ethanol upon the Gasoline markets. If it weren’t for THAT fix, we’d probably be getting force-fed HFCS raw by the spoonful.

And finally, I think the HFCS lobby put the mercury item out so that they would have something to easily refute, confuse and discredit the HFCS critics with. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out there’s ways of filtering Mercury out of food ingredients (but not foodstuffs); and that soon we’re going to hear about how HFCS has lower levels of Mercury than Honey (you know…real food?).

Just putting out the info (and opinions). So you know what to look at and for.


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