High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Sugar's Evil Twin

If you’re an avid soda drinker or you’ve noticed a strange ingredient on your loaf of bread, you might have a few questions. What is high-fructose corn syrup? Why was it first made? How is it made? Why is it bad for you? What are the consequences of consuming it in excessive amounts? If you have these questions, we have your answers.


How It’s Made and Why

High-fructose corn syrup (or HFCS for short) is derived from corn. It was first introduced in 1957, but didn’t gain traction in the American market until the late 1970s when the price of corn was low because of government subsidies. On the other hand, the cost of sugar was high. Therefore, it was cheaper to use a corn-derived recipe rather than spending the money to have sugar.

The process of making HFCS is turning corn into corn starch, then corn syrup, then using enzymes to convert some glucose into fructose. This makes the concoction taste sweeter and also increases the amount of fructose in the substance. We’ll talk about the dangers of excessive fructose intake later, but just know it’s not a good thing.

Products HFCS Is Found In

HFCS can sneak its way into your diet in a number of ways. Since the debate about whether or not high fructose corn syrup is healthy for you began, the industry has been altering the name of it slightly so you don’t get scared and run away when you see the words “high fructose corn syrup” on a bottle of soda. Just read your nutrition label and look out for these culprits:

- fruit fructose

- maize syrup

- glucose syrup

- crystalline fructose

High fructose corn syrup is very common in processed foods such as soda, cereals, and even bread! In fact, many foods you would consider “healthy” are made with high fructose corn syrup.

Why HFCS Is Bad For You