General Question

eager_to_know's avatar

What is the real truth about high fructose corn syrup?

Asked by eager_to_know (15points) October 15th, 2008

Is HFCS worse than table sugar?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

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Judi's avatar

bad bad stuff, all of it.

eager_to_know's avatar

That isn’t very helpful. I didn’t need to register on Fluther to know to look for an answer via Google.

shilolo's avatar

This is tough to answer in a short format, but Michael Pollan does a great job in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma of breaking down many of our foods (particularly fast foods) into their main ingredient, corn. Here is another Op-Ed piece of his from the New York Times. If you search his name, you’ll find lots of interesting discussions on the (lack of) merits of high fructose corn syrup.

Welcome to Fluther, and don’t be discouraged by a few simple answers.

aidje's avatar

So you registered on Fluther in order to have other people do your Google searches? My point is that you can do your own basic research, and then sythesize a more interesting question from the results.

marinelife's avatar

@aidje Hey, ease up.

Welcome to the collective, eager_to_know. We’re glad to have you. Really. You might find it helpful to read through the Fluther Guidelines.

The recent TV onslaught of ads favoring high fructose corn syrup are paid for by the people that make it and make a ton of money on it. HFCS is the transfat of sugars in the sense that it is highly processed. One truism regarding our feed and our bodies is that the more something is processed, the worse it is for us, generally.

I thought this Washington Post article explained it well (excerpt):

“High fructose corn syrup—that’s quite a high falutin name for something that’s basically just a sweetener in sodas and lots of other food.

And now the question is, is it “natural?”

7Up says it is. It just launched a new advertising campaign, saying there’s a whole new reason to drink the Uncola: It’s 100 percent natural.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest disagrees. The advocacy group, which has fought for tighter food labeling requirements, reduced fat and sodium in processed foods and unveiled the high caloric count of movie popcorn and Chinese food, says that as long as 7UP contains high fructose corn syrup, the company cannot claim it’s 100 percent natural.

CSPI sent Cadbury Schweppes, the maker of 7Up, a letter today saying it would sue the company, accusing it of spreading an “untruth” unless the company dropped its 100 percent natural claim. CSPI says high fructose corn syrup is no better—or worse—than plain table sugar. But it is made in a complex, multistep industrial process.”

FiRE_MaN's avatar

idk if its a lot worse then table sugar. i always thought that high fructose corn syrup was basically sugar.

laureth's avatar

Sugar is fructose and glucose stuck together. HFCS is, asa the name implies, higher in fructose, which does different things to your body.

Is it natural? Well, corn is natural, and HFCS is processed corn. Therefore, it’s about as natural as the particle board that some bookcases are made from, because that used to be wood at one point, and wood is natural. (How far must something be processed to be called “unnatural?” You be the judge.)

marinelife's avatar

It is different from both table sugar and natural fructose is its impact on the body. Here is sokme additional information:

“High-fructose corn syrup isn’t completely responsible for the nation’s 6 million overweight children — but Dr. George Bray says it’s a big part of the problem.”

”...between 1970 (when HFCS was introduced) and 2000 (when average yearly consumption of the ultra-sweet liquid sugar hit 73.5 pounds per person in this country), the prevalence of obesity more than doubled, from 15 percent to almost one-third of the adult population.

And worse, much worse, obesity among children 12 to 19 — who consume a disproportionate amount of the soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks and packaged cookies and other baked goods that are sweetened with HFCS — increased from 4.2 percent in 1970 to 15.3 percent in 2000.”

“Bray says the problem with HFCS is not only that it is sweeter than other forms of sugar, but also that it does not affect appetite. Fructose adds to overeating because it does not trigger chemical messengers that tell the brain the stomach is full and no longer hungry, like food and drinks that contain regular refined sugar do.”

aidje's avatar

I see that my post has been “removed by Fluther moderators.” I didn’t realize that suggesting a Google search would touch a nerve like that. I retract my prior suggestion. Ask anything. If it’s Googleable, I’ll try to just ignore it. Or I’ll give my opinion or something, since that’s not on Google. Sorry to have disrupted the thread. Back to our regular scheduled programming.

aidje's avatar

I hate HFCS. Tastes nasty. I always get the product with real sugar if there’s an option for it.

La_chica_gomela's avatar


it doesn’t seem like “ask google” would be:
* Duplicate
* Spam
* Obscene
* Dumb
* Full of lies

One would hope that google wouldn’t be dumb or full of lies, but i suppose one never knows ;)

jvgr's avatar

I think all the fuss about specific food ingredients is a bit over-hyped. Eating well balanced meals and keeping things in moderation is the goal. This means knowing what is in the pre-packaged foods you buy. HFCS is also used as a processing aid and product stabilizer. If you are one who subsists on a diet of prepared food, you will be eating a lot of stuff that isn’t related to nutrition and will likely have an excess of some food compounds.
(ie; HFCS isn’t the problem, managing intake is the problem)

Since it slightly came to the fore, the whole concept of chemicals is a bit over wrought as well. Yes, sucrose is a naturally occurring food ingredient, but it is also a chemical compound with the molecular formula of: C12H22O11. It could be created in a factory with chemical reactions and would be identical to the natural product. The only reason it isn’t man-made is because it is cheaper to obtain it from sugar cane and sugar beets.

eager_to_know's avatar

Thank you for your feedback. I’m a moderator on another forum so I understand the process. I guess none of you are the right people to ask this question to… I mean at the end of the day I should be talking to doctors. And really… even then it is up to me to just read and form my own opinions based upon what is written. I only posted here thinking it might be a good place to get another opinion. Thanks for all the good feedback.

robmandu's avatar

@shilolo is a real doctor.

@Marina is real smart.

But on this topic, I think you’ll be lucky if you can find any forum where there is no debate regarding this topic.

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