High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the most frequently used substitute for sugar used in food and beverage products such as breads, cereals, soft drinks and juices. Since the domestic price of sucrose in the United States is higher than in other countries and corn production is subsidized by the government, food manufacturers find it more cost effective to use HFCS as a sweetener.
The process of making high fructose corn syrup starts with corn starch. This is then converted into syrup which is almost completely composed of glucose. Through the action of certain enzymes, some of the glucose is turned into fructose. This stage usually involves fermentation via microorganisms.
There are various levels of fructose concentration that can be achieved. “HFCS 42” for example means that the resulting syrup is 42% fructose with the rest being made up of glucose and water. This can be further processed to come up with HFCS 90.
Just like most highly refined carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup provides nothing else other than empty calories.
Keep reading to learn about the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup and to understand why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that you avoid it.