The United States produces almost 42 percent of the world's corn (also called maize), and by that number alone is the largest crop produced by American farmers.
If that's not enough, the total amount of corn that is produced is almost twice as much as any other crop in the United States. It's no wonder that you find it used for several purposes, such a the preparation of corn oil, starches and ethanols, and most recently – its use in the production of most processed foods as a sweetener.
While corn oil is prepared from corn germ, pure corn syrup is produced from the starch of corn. As for high fructose corn syrup, a number of these corn syrups go through enzymatic processing in which the glucose is converted to fructose. Finally, corn syrup that contains 100 % glucose is added to the mixture.
With a composition of 24 % water and the rest being sugar, this breakup is based on the recommendation of the USDA to reach a desired level of sweetness as well.
The best part about using high fructose corn syrup is due to the fact that it is available in abundance in the United States in its "natural" form and costs very little to produce.
Even though this is general procedure by which high fructose corn syrup is produced, there are certain varieties that are used for both processed foods and beverages such as HFCS 42, 55 and 90.
It's the balance of glucose and fructose that is in each mixture. For example, HFCS 42 has 42% fructose present, and so on and so forth.
HFCS 42 is particularly used for baked goods while HFCS 55 is used for soft drinks. HFCS 90 is used for special purposes but mostly to mix the varieties of HFCS 42 with 55.
However, it's no all rainbows and sunshine, as health experts are saying that HFCS (which is just as sweet as table sugar) can affect one's health adversely, thanks to its presence of almost every processed product that you will get off the shelves of a supermarket in the United States.
And there are those who beg to differ… well, you can't expect the USDA or the companies of these products to say nothing about it, now can you?
Yet most consumers don't know which side to take in this highly-polarised debate…
High Fructose Corn Syrup – Pros & Cons
So, is high fructose corn syrup harmful or not?
In order to answer this question, several studies have been conducted, of which a UCLA and Princeton study both arrived at the conclusion that there aren't any pros for the consumer when it comes to high fructose corn syrup as there are possibilities of increasing weight as well as hurt one's memory and cognitive ability.
So, even if you think that there's nothing wrong with high fructose corn syrup, it's still a good idea to read up on these studies.
And considering the fact that the average American eats almost 40 pounds of this stuff every year… it's time to watch what you eat… in more ways than one.
If you can't stop eating foods that use HFCS as a sweetener, at least attempt to reduce your intake, if you can.