Many people know that high fructose corn syrup can be bad for the ability to control your appetite and can almost “trick” you into eating more. I’ve often suggested that you avoid foods where HFCS is within the first 5 ingredients. Today’s guest post by Michael Shaw looks at a play on words with this substance that you should be aware of.
Apparently the words “high fructose corn syrup” tend to be sending the wrong message. At least it appears that the folks in the corn industry think they’re sending the wrong message- they seem to think that it’s scaring people away, and so figured they better change the term to something friendlier-sounding. It’s been widely reported (here’s one example) that the Corn Refiners Association has been attempting to do a re-haul on the name of their most notorious product – high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – by changing it to “corn sugar,” through advertising and other promotion.
Whatever you call it, high fructose corn syrup is still a refined sugar
Somewhat amusingly, a group of non-corn sugar producing organizations is suing the Corn Refiners Association, Cargill, and Archer-Daniels-Midland for false advertising, essentially saying that HFCS is not sugar, and shouldn’t be allowed to call itself sugar. How ironic is that? I guess the sugar community feels it has a reputation to defend.
Is it justified in doing so? Technically speaking, the answer is definitely yes: HFCS is made from processed corn, while sugar is made from processed sugar cane or sugar beet. The other major difference is that HFCS is made up of 55% fructose and 45% sucrose, while sugar, such as granulated sugar – to take the most common and widely used form of it – is made up of 50% fructose and 50% sucrose. Since fructose has been taking more of a hit from experts of late as being the most devious of sugar forms, one could conclude that HFCS’s extra 5% of fructose therefore makes it clearly the lesser sweetener, but the 5% is really pretty minor in the scheme of things.
As much as experts have been speaking the ills of fructose, there’s also been a lot written about daily consumption amounts: that you should limit your intake of sugar to X number of grams per day. That’s a sensible goal to keep in mind, though really what it points to is the importance of portion sizes. In order to keep our energy at levels high and our metabolism at peak performance, we want to minimize our consumption of sugars by paying attention to how much we use, whether in packaged products or as an additive.
It’s hard to avoid eating cereals without any added sugars, presuming you like variety, but aim to keep the numbers down to no more than 5 grams of sugar for a 30 gram serving, or no more than 10 grams per 60 gram serving. But also know your limitations: if you have any kind of sugar sensitivities, you will have to go with the boring, no-sugar cereals, whether oatmeal or puffed wheat, rice, or millet. If you replace the sugar-based foods currently in your diet with unrefined sugar alternatives, such as fruits, dried fruits, and sweeteners like pure Stevia (not the version in packets) and raw, unprocessed honey (and only in very modest quantities), you will inevitably notice improvements in your weight and possibly your energy levels too. The lesson here is simply that, whether sugar, syrup, or whatever else it may be called…it’s best to keep it to a minimum.
photo: Stock Xchg / Muffet1