by Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager
High fructose corn syrup is glucose – fructose corn syrup that is a popular sweetening ingredient in sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, baked goods, and other processed foods. It is produced by taking corn syrups and, through an enzymatic process, converting some of their glucose into fructose to produce the desired sweetness. High fructose corn syrup is one of many sweeteners that have replaced sucrose (table sugar) in the food industry. This is due to the high cost of imported table sugar compared to the low cost of corn in the U.S.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration classifies High Fructose Corn Syrup as “generally regarded as safe”. But, is it?
Although high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar, some people have concerns about how high-fructose corn syrup is processed. They believe that your body reacts differently to high-fructose corn syrup than to other types of sugar. But research about high-fructose corn syrup does not yet draw any conclusions. We do know that eating too much of any type of sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — can lead to health problems such as weight gain, dental cavities, and increased triglyceride levels.
Women should eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar and men no more than 9 teaspoons per day. A 12 ounce can of soda is equal to 10 teaspoons of sugar
So, it is important to eat a healthy diet with a variety of foods. Any added sugar needs to be consumed in moderation. To eat less sugar, try to
• Avoid sugary, nondiet sodas. Drink water or other unsweetened beverages instead.
• Choose breakfast cereals carefully. Skip the non-nutritious, sugary and frosted cereals.
• Eat fewer processed and packaged foods, such as cookies, cakes, and some microwaveable meals.
• Snack on vegetables, fruit, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, nuts, and low-fat, low-calorie yogurt.
• Check the ingredient label. Sugars and sweeteners should not be one of the first few ingredients.