High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup is a commonly used artificial sweetener in foods. High-fructose corn syrup is a hydrolyzed version of ordinary corn syrup, which is produced via a steeping process. It is so widely used because it is both economically favorable and it helps to preserve food for extended periods of time. However, the drawbacks of high-fructose corn syrup include issues like potential obesity, diabetes, loss of liver function, malnutrition, and cancer. The fact that the producers of high-fructose corn syrup can deceive people that HFCS is harmless makes matters worse.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an artificial sweetener commonly used in the United States. As its name implies, this sweetener is derived from agricultural corn. All high fructose corn syrups are corn syrups whose fructose content has been increased via enzymatic processes and then mixed with pure corn syrup. There are several different formulations of high-fructose corn syrup. The product sold in the United States (HFCS #2) has the following composition: moisture, 29%; dry substance, 71% D.S.; dextrose, 50% D.S.; ash, 0.03 D.S.; and nitrogen, 0.002% D.S. The amounts of dextrose, fructose, and other saccharides may vary slightly in HFCS #3, but the analysis is fairly consistent. HFCS #1 hasn’t been commercially sold specifically for consumer consumption in the U.S. for many years. Instead, it is used by food producers in their products.
The process by which high fructose corn syrup is made is complicated. To start, ordinary corn syrup must be obtained. Then, enzymatic processes increase its original sweetness. To produce the basic un-enhanced corn syrup, wet milling is a commonly used technique. Wet-milling includes three main steps: steeping, milling, and recovery. In the process of steeping, about 2,000 – 6,000 bu of cleaned, shelled corn kernels are placed in large steeping tanks made of wood or steel. As corn will naturally ferment, it is bathed in water containing sulfur dioxide. The water is kept at an elevated temperature at about 120 Fahrenheit for the 40 hour duration of the steeping process. George Inglett indicates that during that time, the corn absorbs water, swelling to its maximum size, and starches are “loosened from the protein matrix” (79). Soluble components in the corn are also removed during steeping. The steepwater is often recovered, allowed to ferment, and used to make antibiotics in its fermented form. The second major step is milling. After the steepwater is drained, the kernels are sent to degerminating mills. Here, the kernels are torn apart and the oil-containing germ is freed in centrifuges. The oil-containing germs are ground to separate the starch and gluten from the coarser particles. These two elements are separated with centrifuges, and the extraction of water completes the process of recovery. Finally, the starch and gluten are refined to make pure corn syrup. By extracting different portions...