You’ll find scores of experts claiming that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS – i.e. the most pervasive sweetener to sweep over the nation in the past decades) is no worse for you than sugar.
Back already? Great, let’s move on…
I’m going to share a few facts with you that, hopefully, will settle the issue of sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup for you once and for all. So, by the time you’re finished with this article, there won’t be a doubt in your mind about which you should limit and which you should avoid like the plague – no matter how many different opinions you happen to come across.
Alright, let’s start by examining the following claims:
- “High fructose corn syrup is similar to table sugar.”
- “Your body can’t tell the difference between the two.”
- “They are metabolized and affect your body in the same way.”
First of all, who’s making these (seemingly) definitive statements? Again, you’ll find plenty of experts willing to back these views. The problem is, many of them are tied to the corn industry.
Likewise, several studies that supposedly prove the harmlessness of HFCS in relation to sugar are conducted by Big Corn as well. Obviously, there’s a conflict of interest there. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean the claims are false – just something to be aware of.
But with the issue of bias aside, let’s dig a little deeper into the science behind these two substances. Table sugar (or sucrose) is made of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. In contrast, HFCS consists of 55% fructose and 42% glucose. The remaining 3% is made of “higher saccharides”.
So, already there is an obvious difference: HFCS has more fructose. Now, fructose is increasingly getting the blame for a host of different diseases (e.g. obesity, gout, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome). And while it occurs naturally in fruit, moderation seems to be the key.
Now, because HFCS is cheaper than table sugar due to government subsidies (not to mention it has a longer shelf life) it has largely replaced the latter in many of our everyday foods. Naturally, we’re getting much more fructose in our diet – a sugar that seems to be toxic in high quantities.
But it gets worse…
Aside from the differences in composition, there’s another important biochemical dissimilarity. The glucose and fructose in table sugar are chemically bonded. In contrast, they are unbound in HFCS.
Why does this matter?
Because in the case of the former, your body needs one more metabolic step to process it. It has to break the bond before it can absorb it into your bloodstream. On the other hand, you can freely absorb the corn syrup. And this is a hot topic of debate about whether or not this sweetener is worse for you than sugar.
And yes, the verdict is still out. But… didn’t I promise you definitive answers by the time you finished reading this article? Absolutely, and I’m going to stay true to my word (kind of).
Listen, while we may not know with 100% certainty if HFCS is killing us no less than sugar… you’d be well served to avoid it at all costs. It’s not natural no matter what you’ve been told. In fact, it requires a series of enzymatic reactions to be produced.
And while the experts have yet to give us a definitive answer on the matter, you don’t have to look far to find examples of unnatural substances that – once thought to be harmless – turned out to be exactly the opposite (e.g. margarine and trans-fats).
Why take the risk?
And there you have it: by presenting the facts I’ve left you with a choice. What you do from here on out, well… that’s something only you can answer. And with that, I’ve made good on my promise!