High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has taken a lot of flak lately, for being detrimental to human health. HFCS is, of course, the substance used as sweetener in soft drinks, and as consumption of soft drinks has increased, so has the consumption of HFCS. Critics say HFCS causes diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and perhaps certain types of cancer.
As an aside: what makes HFCS different from common sugar, is the percentage of its constituent compounds. Common sugar comprises Glucose and Fructose at a 50-50 ratio (the result being called sucrose); HFCS comprises 55% fructose to 45% glucose. (As used in most popular cases, including soft drinks. Apparently there are other products with other fractions of the two compounds.)
Well, those are some serious charges against HFCS, no?
Which is why, I was extremely surprised to find this, on Wikipedia:
Honey typically has a fructose/glucose ratio similar to HFCS 55 [55% fructose, as explained earlier], as well as containing some sucrose and other sugars. Like HFCS, honey contains water and has approximately 3 kcal per gram. Because of its similar sugar profile and lower price, HFCS has been used illegally to “stretch” honey. As a result, checks for adulteration of honey no longer test for higher-than-normal levels of sucrose, which HFCS does not contain, but instead test for minute quantities of proteins that can be used to differentiate between HFCS and honey.
And I thought honey was supposed to be a healthy source of sugar! If the principal component in both is the same, how is one healthy and the other cancer causing?
P.S.: I’ll probably go into more detail about possible adverse effects of too much fructose, based on some articles I read recently. I was just too surprised by this to not put it up!