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. "

Glossary of Sugars



A so-called “simple” sugar naturally found in all foods that have carbohydrate. Starch (e.g., in potatoes, pasta) is many glucose molecules linked together.



Another simple sugar, fructose is often called “fruit sugar” because it’s the main type of natural sugar in fruits (and honey).



A natural “complex” sugar that’s about half glucose, half fructose (two “simple sugars”); it’s extracted from sugar cane and sugar-beet plants and refined to make “table sugar.”

Corn syrup

Corn Syrup

A syrup used mostly in baking that’s virtually all glucose; it’s made by extracting and breaking down starch from corn into separate glucose molecules.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

First available in 1967 and used by commercial food manufacturers, it’s made by converting some of corn syrup’s glucose into fructose. High-fructose corn syrup is high in fructose only in relation to plain corn syrup; chemically, it’s very similar to sucrose: about 50/50 glucose and fructose.

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