High Fructose Corn Syrup Part 2 Manufacturing HFCS

To better understand the effects of high fructose corn syrup on our bodies let’s take a look at how a whole food like corn becomes corn syrup.

Manufacturers developed the process for making corn syrup back in the 1960s. Basically soaking the corn kernels in warm water with sulfur dioxide softens them facilitating the process of separating the starch, hull, protein and oil. After removing the oil the resultant cornstarch is washed.

Cornstarch contains amylose which is simply a long chain of glucose molecules. By adding an enzyme called amylase these long chains are broken into glucose molecules. This process results in regular corn syrup which contains only glucose molecules.

But regular corn syrup is not as sweet as sucrose commonly known as table sugar. So invertase, another enzyme is added to the mixture to convert about half of the glucose into fructose. This step results in high fructose corn syrup which is sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). This syrup then undergoes evaporation to create the consistency that makes it easier to ship.

Manufacturers developed HFCS-42 which contains 42% fructose in 1967 and HFCS-55 containing 55% fructose in 1977. The food companies jumped on the bandwagon with this new substance sweeter than table sugar. It became the sweetener of choice.

Of all the caloric sweeteners available in 1970 HFCS represented only 1% of the market. But in the 1980s HFCS rapidly replaced other caloric sweeteners. By the year 2000 it claimed 42% of the caloric sweetener market.

So you will find HFCS everywhere in processed foods. Read the labels of all the processed food that you buy. You will find HFCS in carbonated beverages, fruit drinks, baked goods, many cereals, canned fruits, jams and jellies, yogurt and dairy desserts.

About two thirds of the HFCS produced in the United States goes into the production of sweet drinks such as carbonated soft drinks and fruit drinks.

Now to return to our question from part one of this high fructose corn syrup series of articles:

Remember that the corn industry got a lot of flak for calling high fructose corn syrup “natural”. Therefore, the industry wanted to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar”.

Why? According to the CRA’s Audrain Erickson, “Consumers need to know what is in their foods and where their foods come from and we want to be clear with them.”

After reviewing the process of converting corn to high fructose corn syrup, what do you think now? Is “corn sugar” a legitimate description of high fructose corn syrup?

From a chemical standpoint high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are remarkably the same, each containing approximately 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

So from that standpoint “corn sugar” could be a legitimate description of high fructose corn syrup.

In part three of high fructose corn syrup we will take a look at the differences between HF CS and sucrose (table sugar) and how they are metabolized differently in the body.


Dr. Jo

If you missed the first article on HFCS, you can find it here:

HFCS Part 1

And find the following articles about HFCS here:

HFCS Part 3

HFCS Part 4

About Dr. Jo

Dr. JoDr. Jo delights in sharing the message of health. She believes disease is optional if you know how to take care of yourself. And she’s a great coach to help you reverse or prevent disease.

So she writes this blog to keep you up to date with information that may undermine your health if you are not aware of it. She also provides tips on healthy living, how to reverse degenerative diseases, delicious recipes, and ways to enjoyably change your habits to healthy ones.

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