One of the great debates when it comes to healthy foods is whether high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is actually better for you than natural sugars. There are certainly advocates on both sides of the argument, but the truth is that the debate has gone on for decades since the introduction of HFCS.
Essentially, the ones who promote HFCS will state that since it comes from corn that it is a natural product and just as good as sugar without some of the issues associated with that product. However, the other side claims that sugar is sugar when it is processed no matter the source and that it has the same effects.
What is true is that there are both positive and negative effects from using HFCS in your diet over natural sugar.
The Pros of High Fructose Corn Syrup
There are a number of advantages to using HFCS in your diet as opposed to processed sugar. Keep in mind that this is not about natural sugar that you find in many fruits and vegetables which is considered to be superior to its processed counterparts.
While research has shown roughly the same level of sweetness as provided by HFCS to the same amount of processed sugar, consumers seem to prefer HFCS. This may be due to the fact that it tastes sweeter than processed sugar in many different types of foods and beverages.
HFCS last longer in foods and beverages compared to its sugar counterparts, making it a better preservative so that the food or beverage itself lasts longer on the shelf. For many food manufacturers as well as consumers who store food at home, this is an important consideration.
Compared to actual sugar, HFCS is less expensive overall due to the current manufacturing process. It’s one reason why HFCS consumption has increased over the years when compared to sugars from cane and beets.
The Cons of High Fructose Corn Syrup
However, despite all the advantages that high fructose corn syrup brings, there are considerable disadvantages as well.
Increase in Cholesterol & Fat:
No matter its form, sugar is a source of energy that the body will use and when there is too much it stores the remainder as fat. This process means that you will produce more LDL or “bad” cholesterol as well.
Less Satiation of Hunger:
While HFCS makes food taste sweeter, the hunger is not as satisfied as it were with sugar from beets or cane. This means that people stay satisfied for shorter periods of time and eat more frequently.
Since HFCS comes from corn, farmers often use pesticides to help them grow the product more rapidly as well as keep away the insects and pests. The result is that the by-product may be less healthy than sugar which comes from cane or beets which generally do not need the amount of pesticides that corn requires.
Overall, high fructose corn syrup has its disadvantages, but is so prevalent that people who are dieting must take into account where it is present so that they can correctly plan their meals so they can lose weight.