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Why High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is not the same as Table Sugar

Ordinary sugar is bad enough but High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) may be even worse.


You can see below that the chemical structure of Sucrose (table sugar) a disaccharide and Fructose and Glucose monosaccharides is different.


Regular sugar is not the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

  • Table sugar (Sucrose) bonds one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose together -- 50%glucose and 50%fructose. Sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is pure -- just sugar.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup is a blend of glucose and Fructose. (HFCS-42 is comprised of 42% fructose, 50% glucose, 8% highersaccharides. HFCS-55, is comprised of 55% fructose,40% glucose, and 5% higher saccharide.

"Whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar." Sweetsurpise.

This statement by Sweetsurprise is not true. The body handles fructose differently than it does sugar. They both will make you fat but HFCS is blended so the fructose is not digested in the same way as sugar which is glugose bonded to fructose. The body can indeed tell the difference.

More and more research is finding that High Fructose Corn Syrup HFCS may be harmful to our health. It may be responsible for the high rate of increase in metabolic diseases and diabetes both in children and adults. It is more than the calories which are in fact the same in HFCS as regular sugar. The ratio of fructose and glucose in table sugar is 50/50 but HFCS is not 50/50 and the chemical structure is different. HFCS is blended and that may well be the problem . Some research shows that Fructose is better assimilated by the body when it is bound together in sugar -- the ratio of sugar being 50/50. HFCS can be any ratio the manufactures want it to be.

The metabolization of fructose is very different from glucose. Glucose can be absorbed by any cell in the body. Fructose is metabolized in the liver and how it is introduced into the body affects the way it gets to the liver. How the liver handles the fructose is what initiates the metabolic problems and diseases. Therefore it may indeed be causing havoc on our health -- like cigarettes -- slow -- you do not see the results immediately and without research you may not even make the connection.

We must ask ourselves these questions:

  • Why have these metabolic diseases increased along with the increased use of HFCS?
  • Are carbonated soft drinks overloading our system with fructose in a form that our bodies cannot handle?
  • Why are so many children today developing Juvenile Diabetes?
  • Who eats the most "sugar" and drinks the most pop and sugary fruit drinks sweetened with HFCS? Children.

The industry says HFCS it is the same as table sugar, they say that being blended instead of bonded chemically like sucrose (table sugar) makes no difference because it is still glucose and fructose found in both table sugar and HFCS and as they say in the commercial on TV "the body can't tell the difference"

The HFCS Industry gives a number of reasons why food manufactures should use their products.

  • HFCS prolongs shelf life.
  • Improves texture (helps to maintain chewiness and moisture)
  • Flavor enhancer
  • Low freezing point -- it can be used straight from the freezer, saves time and money because it stays in a liquid state ready to pour.
  • Good for yeast products because of fermentability.
  • Much sweeter than table sugar.
  • Less expensive.

How can HFCS be the same as sugar if it can do all those things so much better than sugar? Correct me if I am wrong but if HFCS can do all that and sugar cannot then they must be quite different.

Since fructose is digested in the liver is it not worth looking at HFCS? Could it be that because fructose is blended and not bonded as in sugar it makes all the difference in the world. Metabolic diseases are on the rise just as the use of HFCS is on the rise.

New research studying the absorption of fructose in the liver shows how the complicated system may indeed be affected by overdosing on HFCS -- which by-the-way is in everything now, even Stove Top Stuffing.

Fructose does occur naturally in fruit, but when you eat fruit you get fiber that slows the digestion of the sugar and you get vitamins and minerals. High Fructose Corn Syrup is man made, highly refined, and when ingested in such large amounts, far greater than our bodies were designed to handle It is quite possible that the way the body processes Fructose causes metabolic diseases that were not expected or intended. Much of the research today is focusing on how the body metabolizes fructose whereas before comparing only calories showed little difference. The calories are not the important issue -- how fructose is metabolized is the issue and there in may be the problem. This HFCS may be the worst poison in our food in hundreds of years -- again not by intent. The Romans stored their wine in lead barrels are we any smarter?

Children are very vulnerable -- until new research is done and a better understanding of how stand alone fructose blended with stand alone glucose is metabolized by our bodies we should protect our children from the diseases they could develop by consuming to much Fructose.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is not made from corn syrup. It is fabricated from corn starch using enzymes and many different processes. Plain ordinary corn syrup has nothing to do with High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I would suggest that we all demand more research from non-industry researchers. HFCS is probably not harmful in small amounts but soda and fruit juice drinks are an overload on our bodies -- especially children.

There is so much more I could say but I want to get this article published. Research it for yourself. Pay attention to who did the research. I noticed that industry research is short term two or three days in the cases stated in Sweet Surprise (website) but studying the effects short term does not reveal long term effects and it does nothing to understand how fructose is metabolized. After all if you test a smoker for two or three days you are not going to see the real ill effects.

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Get back to regular sugar and avoid HFCS in drinks your children consume -- like Sunny Delight and other soft drinks -- this alone would do a lot to protect your children from overload. Read labels -- it is in everything, but there are some manufactures that do not use it.

No child should have to suffer any metabolic disease because he/she drinks pop. Avoid giving your children drinks with HFCS -- why take the risk?

In sucrose (plain table sugar) The Molecular formula combines Glucose and frutose together %50 glucose and %50 fructose. The fructose and glucose in High Fructose Corn Syrup are not bound together they are separate and the ratio can be whatever blend the manufacturer wants it to be. 


joyellen on September 03, 2014:

For those who think they are the same and that your body can't tell the difference. Well, mine can. My body does not have any trouble digesting table sugar. But when I consume anything that contains artificial sweeteners such as HFCS, sorbitol, manitol, and possibly a few others that end in -itol; it goes into overdrive. It doesn't matter how much I consume. My body will react to even the smallest amount by over producing digestive juice in an effort to digest what it can't digest. It literally sounds like a thunderstorm inside my abdomen and within an hour, I am running to the bathroom. This thunderstorm can last for hours depending on how much I consume. Artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and manitol are easy to avoid. However, HFCS is in everything. I tried ignoring the symptoms and ended up with Ulcerative Colitis. That was some 14 years ago right after I moved back to the United States from having lived overseas for 10 years. For the past seven or eight years, I have been making my meals from scratch. No more thunderstorms. No more running to the bathroom. No more UC flare ups. So either the body can tell the difference between two ingredients that have the same chemical composition, HFCS and table sugar do not have the same chemical composition, or there is something else in the stuff that contains HFCS that is not in the stuff that contains table sugar.

Byron on November 04, 2013:

About your earlier honey comments. First of all, you only find 95/5 HFCS in the laboratory. So I wouldn't only be surprised if you'd eaten it, I'd be shocked because it's not intended to be eaten and it's also incredibly expensive and hard to get (I mean, it's only used in experiments). It's actually closer to 45/55 which is about the same amount as honey. In fact, the range is typically between 42-45. Strip away the trace minerals in honey and honey and HFCS are the exact same chemically, in composition, and they are bonded in the exact same way. Not only that, there is not a single, no not one scientifically peer reviewed study that links HFCS to any disease unless say, you are eating exorbitant amounts of it. In which case eating the same amounts of table sugar will do the same things. Also, it is proven that HFCS and table sugar follow the exact same metabolic pathways (it's been well known since the 70's) and, btw, they react with the human body the exact same way as well.

As a scientist, I beg you to read peer reviewed scientific literature and not articles or mommy blogs. The people who write most of these articles don't even know how to read half the literature they study, so please. Trust a scientist, HFCS is the same as honey and to much of anything will obviously kill you, broccoli, apples, and water included.

Faye Mitchell (author) from Columbus, Ohio on September 19, 2013:

It is true I am not a scientist. I was researching Gout. I was not looking for information about HFCS. It was in this research I came across HFCS. I wish I did have more knowledge because the new research is very important for gout sufferers. I have read many articles on the lastest research done on gout and those articles led me to learn more about the metabolic problems of gout in relation to fructos and alcohol. I am a logical person and it seemed to me that if sugar and HFCS are different at the molecular level should we not look at how they are motabalized and could this affect the metabolic system and have a serious affect on gout and diebetes. It is a question.

Biochemist on September 19, 2013:

In order to write an article such as this wouldn't one think that they should have some formal scientific background on the subject? Reading numerous article can inform you, but you are not fully informed unless you understand the process by which both are broken down in the body in the molecular level. Just a thought, not trying to attack you or your article. Thanks

Informed Person on October 22, 2012:

I know this article and comments are 2 years old, but fructose in eventually converted into the same trioses that glucose is converted into. Fructolysis is a longer process than glycolysis, but the end result is the same and they both enter the gluconeogenic pathway for glucose or glycogen synthesis, or further catabolized to pyruvate.

Neither fructose nor sucrose (table sugar) result in an "insulin spike" comparative to that of glucose. They both are moderate GI carbs because the catabolism takes longer than glucose's catabolism.

Faye Mitchell (author) from Columbus, Ohio on March 25, 2012:

The ratio of sugar is 50/50 and it is chemicaly bound together. I said about the same as HFCS because the blend of HFCS can be any amount. Sugar is always 50/50 but HFCS can be 95/5 0r 45/55. That is part of the problem when comparing the two, they are not at all the same ecept in calories.

ericdb on March 21, 2012:

"The ratio of fructose and glucose in table sugar is about the same in HFCS but the chemical structure is different and may well be the problem ."

"Some research shows that Fructose is better assimilated by the body when it is bound together as in sugar -- the ratio being 50/50."

So which is it???

Faye Mitchell (author) from Columbus, Ohio on November 15, 2011:

Thank you Larry Fields for your comments. If soda used nine teaspoons of honey instead of HFCS then indeed honey would be just as harmful. We human beings were designed to get fructose from fruit. We were not designed to drink an overload in a glass of soda. Eating a teaspoon of honey is far different from drinking HFCS in Pop. Also we drink lots of juice which is natural fructose but it is more concentrated than we would find it in nature. Our bodies were designed to eat an apple not drink a large soda.

Larry Fields from Northern California on October 26, 2011:

There's speculation that impurities generated during the HFCS manufacturing process may be causing health problems. If not, then I'd expect honey to have the same putative problems as HFCS, unless there's some protective factor in the honey. Honey is basically glucose, fructose, water, and natural flavor.

Faye Mitchell (author) from Columbus, Ohio on May 15, 2010:

Thank you granny80 for stopping by. I appreciate your comments and you are right I read many articles pro and con. I am so concerned about children being poisoned by a "food" that is totally unnecessary.

granny80 on May 14, 2010:

A very enlighting article .after reading this I will go back to sugar and read all labels.No more soft drinks for me.You must have done a lot of research for this article.Very well done.Thank you

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