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High Fructose Corn Syrup

What Is High Fructose Corn Syrup?



High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn found in thousands of foods and beverages on grocery store shelves throughout the United States. HFCS is composed of either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose, with the remaining sugars being primarily glucose and higher sugars. 

In terms of composition, HFCS is nearly identical to table sugar (sucrose), which is composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. Glucose is one of the simplest forms of sugar that serves as a building block for most carbohydrates. Fructose is a simple sugar commonly found in fruits and honey.

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup the same as other sweeteners?

Science tells us that there is little difference between HFCS and any other caloric sweetener. It adds calories in the same way that sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrate or agave nectar adds calories. In fact, they all contribute to the same number of calories per gram.

There is consensus in the scientific community, among people educated on sweeteners and their nutrition, that HFCS and sucrose are metabolically equivalent and that all sweeteners should be consumed in moderation. (Source: Best Food Facts)

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup a natural product?

HFCS is not as processed as people think, nor is “normal sugar” – or sucrose – as clean as people think. Both of these are derived from botanical sources. Sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets while HFCS comes from corn. 

The FDA issued a letter a couple years ago, stating that HFCS is a natural product. They looked at the manufacturing process that’s used, and recognized that the process and steps really did not differ much from the processing that takes place with normal sugar. This allows HFCS to be classified under the FDA’s definition for natural. (Source: Best Food Facts)

What does High Fructose Corn Syrup Mean to Iowa's Economy?

The corn refining industry has created 2,600 jobs in Iowa with the potential for more jobs to be created. As a result, Iowa workers will receive $170 million in salaries from these positions – which are considered to be high paying. There has been $1.9 billion worth of value added to the 163 million bushels of Iowa corn used to make HFCS.

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