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Commercial Baking & High Fructose Corn Syrup

Fact or Fiction?
 
There"s been public uproar for several years in the U.S. about the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in everything from bread to soda pop. The concern is so widespread that bread manufacturers that do not use HFCS put a "Does Not Contain HFCS- label on their packaging and boost sales. The debate grew when a Rutgers study showed that HFCS may increase the risk of diabetes. But HFCS is more economical and sweeter than regular table sugar, so manufacturers are reluctant to give it up altogether.
 
A supplement report in the Journal of Nutrition encourages the scientific community and the general public to stop demonizing high fructose corn syrup as the culprit of obesity, and to rethink the myths about high fructose corn syrup's impact on the American diet. 
 
According to Suzanne P. Murphy, Ph.D., R.D., research professor at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, •&[high fructose corn syrup] and sucrose [sugar] are similar and one is not 'better or worse' than the other&it does not appear to be practical to base dietary guidance on selecting or avoiding these specific types of sweeteners.•
 
High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Fructose
 
Misunderstanding about high fructose corn syrup has been triggered in part by erroneous links to research that tested high levels of pure fructose, and then generalized those results to high fructose corn syrup.  Studies testing pure fructose at levels not seen in the typical diet are deceptive in terms of understanding the metabolism of high fructose corn syrup.  High fructose corn syrup never contains fructose alone.  Rather, just like sugar, high fructose corn syrup consists of roughly equivalent amounts of fructose and glucose.
 
Excess Calories, Not HFCS, the Cause of Obesity
 
Fructose-containing sweeteners- such as sugar, invert sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrates and high fructose corn syrup-are essentially identical in composition, calories and metabolism. Replacing high fructose corn syrup in foods with other fructose-containing sweeteners will provide neither improved nutrition nor a resolution to the obesity crisis.  •In light of similarities in composition, sweetness, energy content, processing and metabolism, claims that such sweetener substitutions bring nutritional benefit to children and their families appear disingenuous and misleading,• concluded John S. White, Ph.D., caloric sweetener expert and president of White Technical Research.
 
Although medical experts attest to the safety of HFCS, it is the public that will ultimately decide if it should be given a second chance. Its reputation may be permanently tarnished, as questions linger about its manmade composition. Many Americans are clamoring for goods that are low in artificial additives and have pronounceable, simple ingredients. HFCS does not have that "from the earth- image, so the main market for it will be consumers who don"t care about or read ingredient labels.

By Adam Herschkowitz
Get Baker Jobs, Contributing Editor

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