I've been hearing a lot of talk that High Fructose Corn Syrup, now used as a sweetener in many foods, has much worse effects on your body that regular sucrose sugar. But I've had trouble finding any information on this topic from a reputable, scientific source. What is the difference in your body's biochemistry if you consume your sugar as fructose or sucrose? And is this difference serious enough that I should avoid foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Sucrose (table sugar) is broken down metabolically into fructose, and glucose. Fructose is transported from the small intestine to the liver where it is further broken down and takes part in various metabolic processes. 

High fructose corn syrup is similar to sucrose in sweetness, but the sweetness can be modified by changing the ratio of fructose to glucose. Fizzy drinks, for instance, tend to use corn syrup with 55% fructose, and 45% glucose. 

The reason that certain countries use corn syrup or cane sugar in their drinks is because of climate, and government intervention. The United States has a climate suited to growing corn, which is heavily subsidized by the US government, which also places tariffs on the import of other sweeteners like sucrose. Conversely many South American countries grow sugar cane and place a tax on the import of corn syrup. 

Scientific studies seem to show that while HFCS is identical to sucrose metabolically, there is a correlation between consumption and obesity. This is likely because the more calories a person consumes in general, the more likely they are to be obese.
Melanson et al. (2006) and Forshee et al. (2007) address questions about HFCS.

So HFCS probably isn't any more dangerous for you than other sweeteners. The best way to avoid  obesity is to limit caloric intake.

Last edited by Jonathan Max Berman (20th Apr 2010 12:58:38)