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Corn Syrup vs. High-Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Corn Sugar

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Figuring out the difference between corn syrup and hfcs A lot of people ask me the difference between corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup and whether they are the same thing, so I thought I would write a quick blog post about it.

They are not the same thing at all. And to make things even more confusing, the name “corn sugar” is about to be thrown into the mix. So here is a quick breakdown of each of them.

Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is extracted from corn starch and is made into glucose. Some recipes call for corn syrup as a sweetener and it is sold in grocery stores, often under the brand name Karo.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: HFCS goes through additional processing. Three different types of enzymes are added, one after the other, to change the corn starch into first glucose and then into fructose. Additional glucose is then added to THAT to finally create high-fructose corn syrup.

Corn Sugar: Just a new name for High-Fructose Corn Syrup that the Corn Refiner’s Association is trying to get the FDA to approve for food labeling.

So, hopefully not TOO confusing. Corn Syrup – syrup which has undergone an extraction process from corn starch. High-Fructose Corn Syrup – syrup which has been extracted from corn starch, then processed again to turn it into fructose, then has the final whammy of adding yet more glucose to it. Corn Sugar – just another name for HFCS!


Your no-high fructose corn syrup blogger,

[Sources: & Wikipedia]


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  1. Gerri Cassidy says:

    So glad I came across this website.I have been trying lately to avoid hfcs. reading every label is time consuming. I have been calling companies to tell them I will buy competitors products without hfcs.

  2. Victoria says:

    Exactly sugar is not at all like corn syrup. My now two year old is allergic to 17 foods an Corn is one of them. So tell me corn syrup san HFSC r the same are so clearly wrong. Makes me very mad. So just this alone because they put all that in everything makes it even harder to buy foods for him, as all nuts, eggs, soy an corn are his worst allergies an still many more so try to find foods my so can eat is a task! I wish they would stop putting this stuff in foods I’d rather see real sugar than this .

  3. It took us over a year of pain to discover my daughter can not tolerate HFCS. or fruit of any kind. She has IBS and gastroparesis. Ketchup, yogurt,chips, cereal, It seems everything is infiltrated with HFCS. She has learned to read labels and is totally proactive in her own health at such a young age. She doesn’t like hurting. For some reason, regular sugar or brown sugar doesn’t bother her. So yes HFCS is different!

    • Trader Joe’s Ketchup is HFCS free with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners, and it’s delicious. 🙂

  4. NOTHING that is liquid in form should be called sugar. Sugar is a crystal, not a liquid or gelatin.. This attempt to use “Corn Sugar” is a clear attempt to pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of the health conscious public. It is deceptive.

  5. Carrie R Clark says:

    I completely agree. HFCS is, along with hydrogenated oils/partially hydrogenated oils/trans fats, the worst thing you can put into your body! I am still learning to read all my labels before buying, and did not realize it was even in ketchup. ANYWAY, back to the reason I posted. The commercials, especially as I learn more and more, infuriate me. How is that NOT false advertising??? And, if the government has spent so much and taken the time to subsidized the corn industry, are they turning a blind eye to these false claims. How is this legal???

  6. Sarah L. says:

    Yes, I was looking at my bottle of corn syrup just now and it contains HFCS. That’s disappointing. I was going to make ketchup from scratch to avoid that. Guess I’ll just find a recipe that doesn’t call for corn syrup.

    • FYI, just last week I bought a bottle of Hentz ketchup and on the front of their label it proudly reads “NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP”. Glad to see that some companies are listening to their customers and are removing it from their products… so no need to make your own ketchup… Hentz has done it for us!!

    • Arlene Paxton says:

      Heinz Ketchup that is organic does not contain any HFC at all. Of course, it is more expensive, but so worth it!

  7. I keep seeing those commercials that say corn sugar is the same a s cane sugar and it makes me mad. Maybe the body’s receptor signals react the same to both. They are similar BUT THAT is NOT the deception! They are trying to imply that High fructose corn syrup is the same. So all the items that are sweetened these days HAVE High Fructose corn syrup. The body Cannot digest HFCS anywhere as easily as cane sugar, SO that is why people get overweight and diabetes all the time now. I wish the government would force them to disclose that information! Processing make HFCS almost undigestable.

  8. The Karo company says that they removed all HFCS from their product over 1 year ago that would be between 2008 & 2009. It now contains not corn sugar but corn syrup which is not at all like HFCS. Corn syrup is extracted from corn starch and is a simple sugar glucose sans enzymatic process of adding fructose and more glucose.

  9. Cynthia1770 says:

    Hi Sherry,
    I have some interesting news for you.
    The Karo Corn Syrup that is sold today is adulterated with HFCS.
    My bottle of Karo (which is approximately 25 years old) says, “glucose syrup”.
    Now the Karo Corn Syrup label says that it’s only 15% corn syrup and is extended with HFCS. Is nothing sacred.
    Also, go to ADM’s website
    They make three grades of HFCS,
    Cornsweeet 42,
    Cornsweet 55, used for soda
    Cornsweet 90, intensely sweet, used for low-cal products.
    The numbers reflect the % fructose.
    Don’t you just love it when Audrae Erickson has the gall to say that
    HFCS has no more fructose than sucrose or other sweeteners?
    What about C-90 with 90% fructose :10 % glucose.
    Take care,
    Trying to get the HFCS-out,
    Cynthia Papierniak, M.S.

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