HFCS-42 is a form of high fructose corn syrup that contains 42% fructose. It is produced from corn starch. It is the least sweet of the three commonly used formulations. Nevertheless it is still about 10% sweeter than sugar, this is because pure fructose is so sweet.
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A typical breakdown would be:
Over the past 30 years high fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar as the sweetener in soft drinks. In Japan it represents approx 25% of the sweeteners and in the EU it is hardly used at all. Because of subsidies and tariffs it is approx half the price of sugar in the USA, though the real cost of producing it is probably similar to sugar.
It was once thought of as been a better alternative to sugar. Recent studies, however, have shown it to be far more detrimental to health than ordinary sugar. In fact HFCS has now become somewhat of a dirty word, and it is likely that it will be gradually phased out as consumer resistance becomes greater. (Similar to hydrogenated fats and trans fats)
1. Ordinary sugar is made up of glucose and fructose linked by a bond called a glycosidic linkage. During digestion it is broken down into its component parts in a process called hydrolysis by the enzyme sucrase. This process is not required with HFCS as the sugars already free and unbound. This seems to effect the way the body reacts to it.
2. Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. This means that every potentially harmful molecule of fructose is paired with a molecule of glucose. For some reason this seems to somewhat negate the harmful effects of fructose. Most HFCS added to drinks and foods in the US is HFCS-55. It contains 55% fructose, 41% glucose and 4% other sugars. This means it has 14% fructose unpaired with any glucose, and this is significant. Any amount of fructose in this form is too much.
Fructose consumption does not cause an insulin response, as other types of sugars would. This may have a profound effect on appetite and may lead to overeating. Tests carried out by Princeton researchers on rodents showed a very significant difference between the addition of sugar or hfcs in the diet. The rats fed the hfcs seemed to develop an insatiable appetite and grew fat on their regular food. This did not happen with ordinary sugar. And the rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the USA have soared in the last 30 years since the introduction of HFCS. The super size portions now popular at the fast food chains could be a direct result of increased appetite caused by the consumption of HFCS.
When high fructose corn syrup hit the market its producers must have felt they had chosen a good name for their product, fructose was popular back then. Now,no doubt, they very much regret that choice. Recently, The Corn Refiners Association have applied for permission to change the the name to 'corn sugar' on food labels. Don't be too surprised if they get approval to do this, but don't be fooled either, it will be the same harmful product. Avoid it.
Taste: -------- Good