High Fructose Corn Syrup Explained
I shall now do a magic trick: calling upon my knowledge of chemistry from a previous life to reveal the deep, dark secrets of HFCS.
This is ordinary white, table sugar you stir into your morning coffee. It consists of one piece of glucose and one piece of fructose stuck together at the molecular level.
This type of sugar is also known as “fruit sugar”. This is rather a misnomer, as fruit & honey & maple syrup tend to be a mix of sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
This one is also known as “dextrose”. If glucose sounds familiar, yes it is the same stuff hospitals use for glucose drips.
Huh? This is what fructose and glucose are, in the sense that your body absorbs them directly into your bloodstream. Sucrose, however, must be split into the 2 parts by yur digestive system before they can be absorbed by your gut.
This stuff, Karo Syrup for example that you buy in the grocery store, is dextrose/glucose. You cannot buy fructose, unless you go to a health food store: you get it powdered, and it will cost 2x or 3x of corn syrup or white sugar. Why health food stores? Because it supposedly is what you can only find in fruit, it used to thought of as healthier than regular white sugar or traditional corn syrup.
You can take cornstarch in a huge factory, and use an enzyme to convert it into “sugar”. The term “high” is rather misleading, as this type of sugar can have differing % of fructose, depending on the industrial chemical process you use. It is used in soda pop, as it costs (I think) on the order of 50%-75% of regular white sugar. You cannot buy this type of sugar in grocery stores.
CALORIES IS CALORIES
OK, by now, your head is spinning with all the different types of “sugar”. That is the point. Once you eat them in whatever form, you body metabolizes them in exactly the same way. The only determining factor is the total calorie count.
HFCS IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH
True, but so is regular white sugar. The reason our children are obese is not because of HFCS, but because 2 middle-schoolers are splitting a 2 liter soda pop on their way home. If all pop used white sugar instead of HFCS, our youngsters would be just as fat.
WARREN BUFFETT IS CORRECT
Being a major KO stockholder, he made a perceptive observation. The consumption of pop is not down because they are concerned about obesity: diet sodas are down even more. They are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners, not their waistlines.
This concludes today's lecture. Do not forget the quiz on Friday about sugar.