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Consumer Benefits And Controversy Of High Fructose Corn Syrup

1790 words - 7 pages

The Bittersweet Truth to High Fructose Corn Syrup

This paper is about high fructose corn syrup, a widely used sweetener made from corn. It discusses the history behind it and explains the process through which it is made and why it is used so widely. It also discusses the link between high fructose corn syrup and obesity. This research paper provides and in-depth explanation of the consumer advantages of high fructose corn syrup as well as the controversy behind its labeling as natural.

Most people cannot resist the sweet taste of candy, cookies, cake, or anything else you can think of. The majority of Americans have plenty of these products in their pantries, ready to be eaten. These people think that they are just eating junk food full of sugar, but almost everything that is sweet that you buy at the supermarket is chock full of something even worse, high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is extremely soluble and mixes well in many foods. A lot of companies are willing to use it because it is cheap to produce in large quantities, unbelievably sweet and tasty, and extremely easy to store. There is a lot of controversy over high fructose corn syrup because of its questionable health effects, taste, and labeling as a natural ingredient. Even though high fructose corn syrup is a relatively recent development in food products around the world, there is a lot of history behind how it is made and why it is used in such a variety of edible goods.
A scientist named Yoshiyuki Matsuoka-Naoi Takasaki patented high fructose corn syrup in 1971 while working for a government-affiliated laboratory in a large city in Japan. But it wasn't until 2001, shortly after the United States of America Surgeon General, Dr. David M. Satcher, issued a landmark report on obesity, that the controversy over the substance soon began. Warning that America's health was at risk because of all of these new substances in food could reverse many health gains achieved in recent decades, the startling news report prompted scientists into new research pertaining to the causes of obesity. The process through which high fructose corn syrup is made is quite complex. “Specialized enzymes turn the majority of the glucose molecules that are found in corn into fructose, which makes the substance substantially sweeter” (Guggenheim 148). This ninety percent fructose syrup mixture is then combined with regular corn syrup, which is one hundred percent glucose molecules, to get the right percentage and balance of fructose and glucose. The final product is a translucent and clear liquid with high viscosity that is roughly as sweet as sugar. “The name high fructose corn syrup is misleading because it is high in fructose only in relation to regular corn syrup, but not to sugar” (“High Fructose Corn Syrup Facts”). The version of high fructose corn syrup used in carbonated beverages and other sweetened drinks consists of fifty-five percent fructose and forty-five...

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