What's So Bad About High Fructose Corn Syrup?

By Joyce Hendley, M.S., May/June 2009

The truth behind the buzz about this controversial sweetener.

"Good article. It's unfortunate that some people refuse to see any other possible interpretations of facts besides what they have already chosen to believe. "

Is this suppose to be an informative article? Or just an infomercial for a highly processed substitute? I think a little more research needs to be done.


10/30/2009 - 5:20pm

I have a hard time believing that the previous commentator actually read the whole article. It clearly laid out the difference between HFCS and table sugar, as well as glucose & fructose. It reviewed several scientific studies and even a blurb on HFCS & IBS. I found it very useful and informative. Any added sugar is not good and whether is HFCS or table sugar is largely irrelevant. Thanks, EW.


11/07/2009 - 9:35am

One critical issue that the article does not address is the amount of HFCS in foods today. In the 1970s, the food industry developed the technology to cheaply produce HFCS (and farmers and the government found a market for the surplus corn produced as a result of government farm subsidies for cereal crops like corn). At that point, HFCS became a cheap ingredient - cheaper to make and to transport than cane sugar - that food manufacturers could use to increase the tastiness of their foods. Sugary, processed food became cheap, and thus readily available. (I have heard from sources in the food industry that the recipe for many sodas is 65 to 75% HFCS - imagine using that much sugar in a recipe!)

HFCS and sugar actually do have slightly different glucose-to-fructose ratios, and some researchers have suggested that the difference, although small in an absolute scale, may result in a significant impact on blood sugar levels when multiplied by the quantities that are now customarily consumed in a processed-food diet.

Ultimately, it's difficult to ignore that the increase in processed foods in the North American diet coincided with the sharp spike in obesity. While HFCS by itself may or may not directly cause obesity, it made huge amounts of processed food possible. In that sense, HFCS is undoubtedly a contributor to the obesity epidemic.

Alison Peck
Associate Professor
West Virginia University College of Law


12/29/2009 - 5:31pm

I stopped buying products containing HFC'S, about a year ago.
I have lost weight. "Eating Well".

My arthritis pain has also subsided, now taking fewer pain
meds. I attribute this to the loss of HFC'S in my diet. Do yourself a favor READ labels.

The attitude of the public about HFC'S has brought about change. As more and more companies have removed them from their products.

Makes you wonder!!!

Bev Wilson


01/25/2010 - 6:46pm

I found this to be a very informative and balanced article that clarified many questions I had about HFCS. I would like to have known more about how gluteraldehyde is used in HFCS production and not come in contact with the sugars.



02/12/2010 - 2:09pm

The URL below interests me greatly in connection with diet...and HOW THE BODY METABOLIZES sugars of allsorts. The video is long, but the core biochemistry starts about minute 45-48.

It's a discussion (including biochemistry), among other things, of the effects of ingesting sugar and fructose; describing how ethanol and fructose/alcohol are processed in the liver...and of where fructose lurks...and how they were introduced our food system.

I do not pretend to understand the biochemistry...but I believe I DO get the 'gist' of this doc's lecture...and it's more than the nature or characteristics of one sugar compared to another.

My ears perked up during the biochemistry discussion of uric acid/ureaa (I've only watched the video once so please excuse any misspellings or other naive misunderstandings).

Grateful for your information...happy to have this forum for discussion,


03/03/2010 - 11:37am

Wow! Ok. Who funded these studies...the HFCS Mafia? More research is definitely necessary as well as full disclosure of what stats were being looked at and which ones ignored. This just seems like a bunch of propaganda to me. Lots of glossy overviews and capitol letters, but not a lot in the way of substance. The chemicals and enzymes used to process these foods make them inherently unnatural, no matter what they have been able to bribe the FDA into believing. Combine this with the scathing report on stevia and agave and it's pure gold for the corn syrup industry. How much did they pay you for this Eating Well?


03/03/2010 - 1:29pm

While the ratios of glucose to fructose may be similar in sucrose and some types of HFCS, the chemical composition is not the same. Sucrose has its glucose and fructose linked via an alpha-glycoside bond, which releases energy when it is broken. This process alone would make it slightly harder to metabolize (or slower) than the simple sugars already broken down into monomers of HFCS. Also the glucose in potatoes shares this glycosidic linkage in the form of a glucose polymer called glycogen, which also would require more energy to break down than simply a bunch of glucose molecules bunched together.

Your equating of the process of making HFCS and refining sugar is also not really possible, as one changes the starting materials chemically (using enzymatic process), while the other changes them physically, by methods of separation. Sucrose does exist in raw sugar, only mixed with many other compounds, which must be filtered by various processes, so that the pure sucrose may then be recrystallized and form that nice white granular substance we all know and love (too much!)

One final point: I think the controversy concerning the use of the glutaraldehyde (and the assertion that it doesn't come into contact with the sugar) is use to its use as a fixing agent to render a glucose isomerase insoluble so that it doesn't come out of a processing column with the sugar that it is acting upon. See .


04/25/2010 - 12:35pm

I have actively tried to avoid HFCS after reading Michael Pollan's books. I agree that cutting back on all sugar is key, but HFCS is questionable from so many angles. Clearly, the HFCS industry lobby is buying ad space in "Eating Well". Your article was further discredited by the scientist who said that kids would be equally crazy/hyper at a party without sugar. LOL!!


04/28/2010 - 5:33pm

I believe, that because HFCS is so highly processed, in cannot be good for the human body. We are inundated with so many food products made from corn, it is no wonder people are having immune system reactions to it and all of the other 'food products' added to processed foods. Cheap food is killing us.

While we all need to eat less sugar, we should stick to those sweeteners that are as close to nature as possible.



07/08/2010 - 8:44pm

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