Monday, October 1, 2012

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I am confused about high fructose corn syrup? Do you think it is a good sweetener?

No, I do not think that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a healthy sweetener. From my perspective, a "good sweetener" would have to meet the same type of standards that are used to evaluate other foods. It would have to be minimally processed and very close in composition to the whole, natural food from which it was produced. Unfortunately, high-fructose corn syrup fails miserably on all counts. Although its starting point might be whole, natural grains of corn (I use the word "might" here since a large amount of non-organic corn has been genetically engineered), that corn must first be milled and processed into corn starch. That corn starch must then be treated with a series of enzymes that help trigger the conversion of starch to sugars, including glucose and fructose. Once this processing is completed, you end up with a product that contains fewer than 20 micrograms per tablespoon of any vitamin or any mineral! HFCS is therefore the opposite of a whole, natural food. It's highly processed and cannot offer balanced nourishment in any respect.
Just how problematic is HFCS in the diet of an average U.S. adult? There is a reasonable amount of evidence linking increased intake of HCFS with increased risk of obesity, risk of type 2 diabetes, and also with changes in insulin secretion and leptin production that might help to explain these increased disease risks. Use of corn syrup as a sweetener has increased dramatically in the U.S., particularly following the development of high-fructose versions of this sweetener that brought its fructose content up to 90% of total sugars. On a percentage calories basis, the average U.S. citizen now consumes about 10% of all calories from HFCS. This amount represents 220 calories, or 55 grams, or nearly 3 tablespoons of HFCS each and every day.
On our website we feature some healthy sweetener alternatives to HFCS. These include honey, cane juice, maple syrup, and blackstrap molasses. You can find links to the write-ups on these sweeteners at

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