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High Fructose Corn Syrup – Scapegoat or Viable Suspect

EDITORIAL – THIS ARTICLE IS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR

There are over 4200 documented uses for corn.

Those uses include everything from chewing gum to uses in disposable diapers.

Scientists have been very innovative in their manipulation of foods, and corn is one item whose secrets seem to continue to be revealed in the products in which it is used.

Through creative scientific procedures it can be mixed, extracted, reacted, broken down, recombined, split, heated, fermented, ground, pressed, baked, metabolized, “enzymed” and popped into just about anything you can think of in food and consumer products.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is just another a-maize-ing product produced from corn.

Through an enzymatic process, corn is broken down to its basic sugar components to essentially form a crystalline powder whose sweetness mimics cane sugar.

My goal is not to demonize the nutritional benefits or lack of nutritional benefits of HFCS, but to share with you the true reason for its use and over use in today’s diet.

The scientific studies and opinions on HFCS and how it adversely contributes to the diets of Americans are as varied as political platforms on the left and right. Depending on which side of the argument you may find yourself as to the contribution of HFCS to obesity, diabetes, and a host of other maladies, and whether you consider it natural or un-natural there is one major aspect consumers should know about HFCS.

IT IS CHEAPER THAN SUGAR!

All food companies are in the business of making money.

Their goals include finding ways to increase profits on food.

HFCS gave food companies an opportunity to decrease the cost of sweetness in products since it is less than half the price of real sugar.

By decreasing costs they made certain types of foods cheaper, affordable, and more plentiful to the consumer.

The glut of HFCS laden products grew exponentially in everything that called for sweetness in the recipe.

Barbecue sauces, salad dressings, candy, sodas, juices, chips, breads, and thousands upon thousands of food products followed to compete and sell in the marketplace.

Has HFCS contributed to obesity?

Yes it has, yes it has, and if you did not understand that, yes it has.

Because HFCS laden foods containing the non-nutritional calories found in the foods were cheap and plentiful they are economical to purchase, easy to eat, marginally palatable (the author’s opinion), and plentiful on store shelves.

HFCS has been a major contributor to the increase in sugar consumption in the United States.

HFCS’ taste is not as clean and pleasant a taste as real sugar, it is more acidic, and does not work exactly like sugar in all food recipes.

Food companies have taught the consumer that it is the less than perfect sweet acidic taste that we, as consumers, are addicted to and crave.

It is present in the foods and beverages we now consume in mass quantities without regard for what it and other ingredients do to our bodies and our health.

Here is an earth shaker, in my opinion, inexpensive and plentiful sugar would have contributed to the same medical epidemics we attribute to HFCS.

The flavor would have been more pleasant, but the results would have been the same.

Ultimately, the American insatiable appetite, and quest for profits have led to the current crisis of obesity in our country, in which HFCS has been and continues to be an active participant.

About The Author

 

Jon Searles

Food Science and Technology

Jon Searles is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Science in Food Science and Technology.

Jon held management positions in the food industry for over 26 years. His experience includes overseeing construction of new production facilities, remodeling of existing facilities, and expanding capabilities of companies in the food industry. He has extensive experience in food packaging and machinery as well as government regulations and food industry standards.

Recently, he co-owned and operated a successful New England bakery operation which sold in 2011.

Over the years Jon has helped to develop and promote new products in the food industry. Jon currently assists small food manufacturers and start-ups that need assistance with issues as they relate to food manufacturing.

 

There are over 4200 documented uses for corn.  Those uses include everything from chewing gum to uses in disposable diapers.   Scientists have been very innovative in their manipulation of foods, and corn is one item whose secrets seem to continue to be revealed in the products in which it is used.  Through creative scientific procedures it can be mixed, extracted, reacted, broken down, recombined, split, heated, fermented, ground, pressed, baked, metabolized, “enzymed” and popped into just about anything you can think of in food and consumer products. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is just another a-maize-ing product produced from corn.    Through an enzymatic process, corn is broken down to its basic sugar components to essentially form a crystalline powder whose sweetness mimics cane sugar.  My goal is not to demonize the nutritional benefits or lack of nutritional benefits of HFCS, but to share with you the true reason for its use and over use in today’s diet.

The scientific studies and opinions on HFCS and how it adversely contributes to the diets of Americans are as varied as political platforms on the left and right.  Depending on which side of the argument you may find yourself as to the contribution of HFCS to obesity, diabetes, and a host of other maladies, and whether you consider it natural or un-natural there is one major aspect consumers should know about HFCS.  IT IS CHEAPER THAN SUGAR!

All food companies are in the business of making money.  Their goals include finding ways to increase profits on food.  HFCS gave food companies and opportunity to decrease the cost of sweetness in products since it is less than half the price of real sugar.  By decreasing costs they made certain types of foods cheaper, affordable, and more plentiful to the consumer.    The glut of HFCS laden products grew exponentially in everything that called for sweetness in the recipe.  Barbecue sauces, salad dressings, candy, sodas, juices, chips, breads, and thousands upon thousands of food products followed to compete and sell in the marketplace. 

Has HFCS contributed to obesity?  Yes it has, yes it has, and if you did not understand that, yes it has.  Because HFCS laden foods containing the non-nutritional calories found in the foods were cheap and plentiful they are economical to purchase, easy to eat, marginally palatable (the author’s opinion), and plentiful on store shelves.   HFCS has been a major contributor to the increase in sugar consumption in the United States.

HFCS taste is not as clean and pleasant a taste as real sugar, it is more acidic, and does not work exactly like sugar in all food recipes.  Food companies have taught the consumer that it is the less than perfect sweet acidic taste that we, as consumers, are addicted to and crave.  It is present in the food and beverages we now consume in mass quantities without regard for what it and other ingredients do to our bodies and our health.

Here is an earth shaker, inexpensive and plentiful sugar would have contributed to the same medical epidemics we attribute to HFCS.  The flavor would have been more pleasant, but the results would have been the same.  Ultimately, the American insatiable appetite, and quest for profits have led to the current crisis of obesity in our country in which HFCS has been and continues to be an active participant.