There is a debate that has been waging for some time in America: which is worse, high fructose corn syrup or sugar? The answer is not clear. Some scientists say one is no worse than the other, other researchers say their studies prove that high fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar.
But that's really not the question we should be asking. The bigger question is, how can we stop consuming EITHER of these awful foods?
While the question of which is worse, high fructose corn syrup or sugar, has yet to be answered definitively, here is one thing that is certain: both are bad for you. Is it really so important to figure out which is the lesser of the two evils?
What we need to keep in mind is that we should not be eating EITHER! It reminds me of the debate, which is worse, regular or menthol cigarettes? We should be avoiding both. Like the plague.
The truth is, comparing high fructose corn syrup and sugar is like comparing apples to oranges. They are very different. The key difference is that high fructose corn syrup is in EVERYTHING. Sugar is not.
High fructose corn syrup is a food manufacturer's dream come true. It's much, much better than sugar from their point of view because, it's very cheap, way cheaper than sugar. By adding high fructose corn syrup to their foods they can stretch the expensive part of a product. In other words, high fructose corn syrup acts as a filler.
High fructose corn syrup is also a food preservative. Sugar is not. When food processors add high fructose corn syrup to a product, it increases that product's shelf life, therefore making it much more marketable.
High fructose corn syrup improves the texture of a product. Unlike the sandy, gritty mouth-feel of granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup is liquidy smooth. Food manufacturers are keenly aware of the importance of texture when it comes to selling a product. Consumers care just as much about the way a food feels as they're eating it, as the way it smells, looks, and tastes.
So high fructose corn syrup improves the marketability of a product in a far superior manner than sugar ever could.
Now let's look at the similarities. Both high fructose corn syrup and sugar taste great. When you add either of them, that is to say when you add the taste of sweet to a product, people like it more than its less-sweet version, and will eat more of it. Both high fructose corn syrup are addictive. The more you eat, the more you want, and the more it takes for you to feel satisfied.
In fact, many true sugar/HFCS addicts NEVER feel satisfied because of the very nature of the products. This is much like some of the hard drugs, like cocaine and prescription pain-killers....they never satisfy.
The real issue is this: high fructose may or may not be worse than sugar. But we eat so much more of it than sugar. That's the problem. The quantity of it that we eat.
Hypothetically, what if we took all the high fructose corn syrup out of everything that it's currently in...the sodas, the bread, the pasta sauce, the yogurt, the snack foods, the cereals, and so on. Then what if we replaced it with the same amount of sugar. Would we be any better off? I doubt it. We'd still be consuming astounding amounts, which is destructive to every facet of our health.
Of course we will never know the answer to that question because food manufacturers would never pump the same quantity of real sugar into their products that they do high fructose corn syrup because of the reasons I listed above. It would diminish their profits.
We demonize high fructose corn syrup, and rightly so. But not because it's worse for us than sugar, because it's in everything and we eat way, way, way to much of it.
However, let's not forget that we should demonize sugar, too. It's extrodinarily harmful to our bodies also. We just eat far less of it than HFCS because sugar is so much more expensive.
How much is the right amount of high fructose corn syrup we should consume? ZERO.
How much is the right amount of sugar we should consume? ZERO.