High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener used in many processed foods. HFCS was first introduced into the food industry in the 1950’s and became popularized during the 1970’s. Today it is found in everything from soft drinks to granola bars, fruit juice concentrate, jams and jellies, ice cream toppings, baked goods, candies and even some alcoholic beverages such as beer.
The main ingredient in HFCS is a molecule called glucose. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate consisting of two monosaccharides linked together with one or more disaccharide units.
The most common form of glucose is sucrose, which consists of three sugars joined together in a chain. Other forms include dextrose and maltose. Sucrose contains no calories; however, other forms do contain calories because they are metabolized differently by the body. For example, dextrose contains four times as much energy per gram than sucrose. Maltose contains twice as much energy per gram as sucrose.
In addition to its use in foods, HFCS is also added to gasoline and diesel fuel in order to increase octane levels and reduce emissions of harmful gases like carbon monoxide. It is also used in the manufacturing of drugs, adhesives, and various other industrial products.
There are two main types of HFCS, which are commonly known as HFCS-42 and HFCS-55. The numbers denote the amount of fructose each contains as a percentage.
HFCS-42 consists of 42% fructose, while HFCS-55 consists of 55% fructose. The remaining percentage of each is made up of glucose.
The most commonly used HFCS is HFCS-55, which is mainly used in soft drinks, but it is also used in other products as well, such as candy, cereal and jams. The sweeter HFCS-42 is used primarily in processed foods like breads and yogurts because it blends into the flavor of the food better than HFCS-55.
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