Why is corn syrup in everything?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “why is corn syrup in everything,” and discuss why the US adds corn syrup to everything and is corn syrup sweeter than sugar?
Why is corn syrup in everything?
Because it is cheaper compared to other sweeteners.
Because corn syrup is a cheap sweetener that’s easy to produce and has a long, stable shelf life, most processed foods, from bread to cookies to sauces, contain some kind of sweetener. And corn syrup is one of the cheapest and most efficient.
It’s important to note that not all kinds of corn syrup are created equal. High-fructose corn syrup, which is the version that’s been getting bad press, is generally created from genetically modified corn instead of traditional hybridization. If you’re concerned about GMOs, opt for products that contain other sweeteners instead.
Why does the US add corn syrup to everything?
The reason why corn syrup is added to everything in the U.S. is that it is a cheap sweetener and preservative.
Corn syrup has been a mainstay in the American diet since the 1800s, and it’s often chosen by food manufacturers over sugar because of its low cost, resistance to crystallization, and high sweetness.
However, there are growing concerns that corn syrup may be linked to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues when consumed in large amounts, which is very easy to do given how prevalent it is in the American diet.
The Corn Refiners Association claims high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is no different from sugar and can be used interchangeably in recipes. However, studies have found that HFCS may cause more weight gain than sugar:
- Other studies indicate that HFCS consumption is positively correlated with obesity rates.
- Though further research is needed to understand the exact nature of this correlation.
- Moreover, recent findings suggest that HFCS may also have an impact on gut bacteria, which may explain its link to obesity as well as other health problems such as inflammation and insulin resistance.
Corn syrup is derived from the starch in corn (maize), and it’s made by breaking down the starch into sugars, which creates a thick liquid that is about half as sweet as sugar. It’s also a humectant, which means it absorbs moisture, making it an effective preservative.
Corn syrup can be used in place of sugar anytime you need something sweet or sticky, like in candy and baked goods, but it’s real superpower lies in how well it preserves products, which makes it a great addition to things like salad dressings and canned fruit, too.
If you’d like to limit your consumption of corn syrup (or any added sweeteners), opt for products that contain no more than 10 grams of sugars per serving.
Is corn syrup sweeter than sugar?
It’s a common question: is corn syrup sweeter than sugar? The short answer is “no.” But it’s not that simple. First, let’s get some definitions out of the way.
Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made by breaking down cornstarch into glucose molecules. It can be used as a substitute for sugar.
Sugar is a granulated sweetener made from sugarcane or sugar beets. There are many types of sugar, including brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar).
There are two main types of corn syrup: light and high-fructose. These differ in the amount of fructose they contain.
High-fructose corn syrup contains more fructose than light does and thus has a higher overall sweetness. Light corn syrup contains fewer fructose molecules and has a lower sweetness level. Both types have about half the amount of sweetness as white table sugar or sucrose (sugar).
What is high fructose corn syrup used for?
While high fructose corn syrup is an ingredient in many foods, it doesn’t have a specific use. It’s used to sweeten foods and beverages. High fructose corn syrup has become a common ingredient because of its low price compared to other sweeteners.
High fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch. To make it, the starch must be broken down into glucose molecules. The glucose molecules are then changed into fructose molecules (high fructose corn syrup is a combination of glucose and fructose).
It wasn’t until the 1970s that high fructose corn syrup was introduced widely into the food supply. It was developed in response to the sugar shortage of the 1960s and ’70s, which was caused by a freeze that damaged sugar cane crops in Florida, as well as a labor dispute on Hawaii’s sugar plantations, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
High fructose corn syrup has been controversial, with some research linking it to health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Other FAQs about Corn that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “why is corn syrup in everything,” and other questions related to the subject, such as why the US adds corn syrup to everything and is corn syrup sweeter than sugar?