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What is High Fructose Corn Syrup?

I have been hearing all the buzz about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and just like everyone, believed what I see in the media. But then there are always conflicting advertisements made by the producers of HFCS to confuse the consumer. Amid the confusion I decided to read the facts and make my own decision.

I knew HFCS is not good for anyone's healthy and doctors have said it over and over again. It is absolutely not natural; natural product is the one you consume straight from nature, one that doesn't need to undergo any chemical procedure to transform it.When you eat any food that has HFCS you become hungry again within a very short time
because that is how it works, to make you hungry all the time. Eating anything that has HFCS is like taking empty calories and leads to obesity.

The producers and processing food companies in the US who use HFCS in everything they produce are in denial that it is one of the major causes of obesity. They say there is no solid evidence to prove it. They forgot back in the beginnings, HFCS was marketed as an appetizer to make you feel hungry and eat more. It’s like the tobacco companies when at first there was some research pointing that cigarettes are harmful, they were in total denial.

They say that it is not bad if taken in moderation. The problem is if you look at the processed food labels, 99% of them  has HFCS as an ingredient. How can it be eaten in moderation when it is in breakfast cereal you eat, the burger, processed meats, mayonnaise, ketchup, in your desert, in the pizza, baby formula, diet food, almost in everything you put in your mouth?

The latest advertisement for misguiding and confusing people says that the body cannot tell the difference between corn sugar and cane sugar. This is absolutely not true, the tongue cannot but the body tells us the difference very well. Look at the obese people in the US.

I was in Kenya when I saw an episode in Oprah about obesity and saw this lady sitting in the audience front row. She was not only fat but her stomach was actually on top of her thighs almost reaching her knees. We were first asking ourselves what was on her lap before realizing it was her stomach. We were all shocked, we have fat people in Kenya of course but we had never seen anyone so fat around the stomach area before. We were wondering what she had to eat to have so much fat around the stomach.

There is a popular fruit juice processing company in Kenya that markets its products as 100% natural, no added sugar or artificial ingredients. When I first bought the juice, I drunk directly from the package and was surprised how sweet it was. I asked myself how could it be so sweet without any added sugars? Now I'm cogitating whether they too use HFCS because it is marketed as a natural product.

Lets go back to science now.

How is High Fructose Corn Syrup produced?

Production of high fructose corn syrup is a bit complex. Cornstarch originally contains very long chemical chains of pure glucose, which must first be broken down into shorter chains called polysaccharides. This is accomplished by adding an enzyme called alpha-amylase, which is derived from a bacteria.

Once the cornstarch has been broken down, a second enzyme called glucoamylase is added to the vat. Glucoamylase is derived from a fungus called Aspergillus. The continued fermentation converts the slurry into almost pure glucose.

The third step  an enzyme called glucose-isomerase is added to the glucose. The enzyme converts the pure glucose into a combination of fructose and glucose, but not at the final percentages desired. A process called liquid chromatography essentially distills the syrup into 90% fructose. This concentrated fructose product is then blended back into the original mix to create the final 55% fructose, 45% glucose product called high fructose corn syrup.

Uses of High Fructose Corn Syrup

In baked goods, high fructose corn syrup gives a pleasing brown crust to breads and cakes, contributes fermentable sugars to yeast-raised products, reduces sugar crystallization during baking for soft-moist textures, and enhances flavors of fruit fillings.

In yogurt, high fructose corn syrup provides fermentable sugars, enhances fruit and spice flavors, controls moisture to prevent separation, and regulates tartness.

In spaghetti sauces, ketchup and condiments, high fructose corn syrup enhances flavor and balance (It replaces the “pinch of table sugar" grandma added to enhance spice flavors.) and balances the variable tartness of tomatoes.

In canned and frozen fruits, high fructose corn syrup protects the firm texture of canned fruits and reduces freezer burn in frozen fruits.

In beverages, high fructose corn syrup provides greater stability in acidic carbonated sodas than sucrose, so flavors remain consistent and stable over the entire shelf-life of the product.

In short HFCS is used as a sweetener and a preservative agent to prevent food from rotting.

Lets not forget that food is meant to rot, that is the way nature intended.

There are so many articles about HFCS online, you have to check them out yourself to become more informed.


Mercury found in HFCS



  1. Arnab Maity said...:

    Good amount of info about HFCS, thanks for sharing.You have a nice blog, waiting to see more stories of Kenya and Belize from you soon :)


  1. Dirishani said...:

    Thank you for the visit dear.

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