High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Just Like Sugar, or Worse?

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Just Like Sugar, or Worse?: High-fructose corn syrup is a sugar-based sweetener, used in processed foods and drinks in the United States. Like common sugar, it consists of the straightforward sugars glucose and fructose.

For a long time, high-fructose corn syrup has been used as a sweetener in processed foods.

Due to its fructose content material, it has been closely criticized for its potential negative health results.

Many people declare that it’s much more dangerous than different sugar-based sweeteners.

This article compares high-fructose corn syrup and common sugar, reviewing whether or not one is worse than the opposite.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener derived from corn syrup, which is processed from corn.

It’s used to sweeten processed foods and soft drinks — primarily in the United States.

Similarly to common desk sugar (sucrose), it’s composed of each fructose and glucose.

It grew to become a popular sweetener in the late Nineteen Seventies when the worth of common sugar was high, while corn costs had been low due to authorities subsidies (1).

Though its use skyrocketed between 1980 and 2000, it has declined in latest years, possibly due to the rising popularity of artificial sweeteners (1).

Production course of

High fructose corn syrup is made from corn (maize), which is often genetically modified (GMO).

The corn is first milled to provide corn starch, which is then processed further to create corn syrup (2Trusted Source).

Corn syrup consists mostly of glucose. To make it sweeter and extra comparable in taste to common table sugar (sucrose), some of that glucose is transformed to fructose using enzymes.

Different types of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) present various proportions of fructose.

For instance, while HFCS 90 — probably the most concentrated type — contains 90% fructose, probably the most generally used sort, HFCS 55, consists of 55% fructose and 42% glucose and different sugars.

HFCS 55, primarily used in mushy drinks, is much like sucrose (common desk sugar), which is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. HFCS 42, which is used in processed foods, cereals, baked goods, and some beverages, contains 42% fructose (2Trusted Source).


High-fructose corn syrup is produced from corn (maize) starch, which is further refined to provide syrup. The most common sort has a fructose-to-glucose ratio much like desk sugar.

High-fructose corn syrup vs. common sugar

There are only tiny variations between HFCS 55 — probably the most common sort of high-fructose corn syrup — and common sugar.

A main difference is that high-fructose corn syrup is liquid — containing 24% water — whereas desk sugar is dry and granulated (3Trusted Source).

In terms of chemical structure, the fructose and glucose in high-fructose corn syrup usually are not certain together like in granulated desk sugar (sucrose).

Instead, they float individually alongside one another.

These variations don’t have an effect on nutritional worth or health properties.

In your digestive system, sugar is damaged down into fructose and glucose — so corn syrup and sugar find yourself wanting exactly the same.

Gram for gram, HFCS 55 has barely greater levels of fructose than common sugar. The difference may be very small and not particularly related from a health perspective.

Of course, should you compared common desk sugar and HFCS 90, which has 90% fructose, common sugar could be way more fascinating, as extreme consumption of fructose could be very harmful.

However, HFCS 90 is never used — and then only in tiny amounts due to its excessive sweetness (4Trusted Source).


High-fructose corn syrup and desk sugar (sucrose) are virtually equivalent. The most important difference is that the fructose and glucose molecules are certain together in desk sugar.

Effects on health and metabolism

One cause why sugar-based sweeteners should be limited is as a result of of the large amount of fructose they provide.

The liver is the only organ that may metabolize fructose in important amounts. When your liver will get overloaded, it turns the fructose into fat (5Trusted Source).

Some of that fat can lodge in your liver, contributing to fatty liver. High fructose consumption is also linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, weight problems, and type 2 diabetes (6Trusted Source7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

High-fructose corn syrup and common sugar have a really comparable mix of fructose and glucose — with a ratio of about 50:50.

Therefore, you’ll anticipate the health results to be largely the same — which has been confirmed quite a few times.

When evaluating equal doses of HFCS and common sugar, analysis shows no difference in emotions of fullness, insulin response, leptin levels, or results on body weight. One 2022 examine found the HFCS group had considerably greater levels of CRP, a marker of inflammation. (9Trusted Source10Trusted Source11Trusted Source12Trusted Source).

There is at the moment not enough proof that high-fructose corn syrup is any worse than sugar from a health perspective, although extra analysis is unquestionably wanted. Both could be dangerous when consumed in extra.


Many studies present that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup have comparable results on health and metabolism. Both are dangerous when consumed in extra.

Added sugar is unhealthy — Fruit isn’t

Though extreme fructose from added sugar is unhealthy, you should not keep away from eating fruit.

Fruit are whole foods, with plenty of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. It’s very difficult to overeat fructose should you’re only getting it from whole fruit (13Trusted Source).

The negative health results of fructose only apply to extreme added sugars, that are typical for a high-calorie, Western diet.


Though fruit are among the many richest pure sources of fructose, they’re related to health benefits. Adverse health results are only linked to an extreme intake of added sugar.


  1. Sweet Sensation: HFCS is a sweetener derived from corn, making it a readily available and affordable option for adding sweetness to a wide range of foods and beverages. It’s like having a cornucopia of sweetness at your fingertips—just without the actual cornucopia!
  2. Mixing Marvel: HFCS blends easily with other ingredients, making it a popular choice for manufacturers looking to create tasty treats like sodas, candies, and baked goods. It’s like the smooth-talking charmer at the party who gets along with everyone—sweet, indeed!
  3. Shelf Life Savior: Foods containing HFCS tend to have a longer shelf life due to its ability to prevent crystallization and maintain freshness. It’s like the superhero of the pantry, swooping in to save the day and rescue your snacks from the clutches of spoilage!
  4. Versatile Virtuoso: HFCS can be found in a variety of products, from ketchup and salad dressings to bread and breakfast cereals, adding a touch of sweetness to both savory and sweet dishes alike. It’s like the ultimate multitasker—sweetening the deal wherever it goes!
  5. Energy Enhancer: Like other sugars, HFCS provides a quick source of energy, giving you a boost when you need it most. It’s like a sugary pick-me-up in a bottle—just be sure not to overdo it, unless you’re ready for a sugar-fueled dance party!
  6. Palate Pleaser: Some people prefer the taste of foods sweetened with HFCS, finding it to have a milder flavor compared to other sweeteners. It’s like a sweet symphony for your taste buds—playing all the right notes in perfect harmony!
  7. Economic Efficiency: Due to its low cost of production, HFCS helps keep food prices affordable for consumers, ensuring that everyone can indulge in a little sweetness without breaking the bank. It’s like finding a sweet deal at the grocery store—score!


  1. Caloric Chaos: HFCS is high in calories and provides little to no nutritional value, making it easy to consume excess calories without even realizing it. It’s like a sneaky sugar ninja, lurking in the shadows and sabotaging your waistline when you least expect it!
  2. Blood Sugar Rollercoaster: Consuming large amounts of HFCS can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling sluggish and hungry for more. It’s like riding a rollercoaster of energy—up, down, and around we go!
  3. Weight Woes: Excessive intake of HFCS has been linked to weight gain and obesity, as well as an increased risk of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s like carrying around a heavy burden—both figuratively and literally!
  4. Liver Load: HFCS is metabolized in the liver, where it can contribute to the accumulation of fat and the development of fatty liver disease over time. It’s like giving your liver a sugary workout—except nobody signed up for this gym membership!
  5. Hidden Hazard: HFCS is often found in processed and packaged foods, making it easy to consume large amounts without even realizing it. It’s like playing a game of hide-and-seek with your sugar intake—spoiler alert: the sugar always wins!
  6. Addiction Affliction: Some experts believe that HFCS may be more addictive than other sugars, leading to cravings and overconsumption. It’s like trying to resist the siren call of the candy aisle—temptation at its finest!
  7. Deceptive Name: Despite its innocent-sounding name, HFCS is not the same as natural sugar and may have different effects on the body. It’s like trying to judge a book by its cover—sometimes the sweetest things can be the most deceptive!

The bottom line (High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Just Like Sugar, or Worse?)

The most common type of high-fructose corn syrup, HFCS 55, is similar to common desk sugar.

Evidence to counsel that one is worse than the opposite is at the moment missing.

In different phrases, they’re each equally unhealthy when consumed in extra.

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