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Corn Syrup – How bad is it actually?

Posted by Arun Kumar S on

corn syrup is bad

“You use corn syrup in your bars!!!? Why not something healthy like honey?” - we have fielded this question 13,382 times in our short existence (past 1.5 years). For most customers, HFCS/Corn syrup are the same and honey is the perfect godsend. A lemon tea sweetened with a couple of spoonfuls (8g) is the day starter for most.

The answer to our customers – yes we use corn syrup in our bars, not HFCS and the overall sugar content of our 20g protein content bars is just about 6g. And FYI.. honey isn't any healthier than corn syrup and is in fact pretty close to HFCS in molecular structure.

Honey demystified

Honey is 82% sugar rest being water. Of this 82%, approx 42% is glucose and rest 50% is fructose. HFCS is roughly 55% fructose and 42% glucose. There are the trace amount of sucrose in both. So chemically and nutritionally they are very much the same. There is a lot of misconception floating around that 'HFCS' is the cause of diabetes, heart diseases etc. when in fact it is the fructose which is the main culprit. Meaning honey is not far behind the curve.

Regular corn syrup as used in our bars is 100% glucose.

HFCS – History

HFCS came into existence in the late 1960s. The growing demand for sugar confectionery prompted manufacturers to create HFCS to cut down costs and increase profits (HFCS is sweeter than table sugar so you can use lesser quantity of HFCS to substitute sugar in your recipe and it can be processed from corn, a subsidized crop in the US). It was considered a win for all until sugars in general and fructose, in particular, became a health concern only in the late 90s.

Why is Fructose bad?

Our body metabolizes glucose and fructose in the different fashion. While glucose is directly dumped into our bloodstream, fructose gets absorbed in the small intestine and then sent to the liver for further processing before it gets into the blood stream. Excessive fructose puts pressure on your liver and gets converted to belly fat and increases blood cholesterol levels which are a risk marker for a variety of ailments. Glucose, on the other hand, is not advisable for diabetic individuals and the fat gained through excessive glucose consumption is subcutaneous (under the skin).

Verdict:

All sugars are bad. Keep the sugar intake in your diet minimal. And limit your fructose intake only to whole food sources like fruits which give you additional micro-nutrients as well. Do not get carried away with food manufacturers trying to peddle brown sugar, agave syrup, rice syrup etc as “healthy substitute” for your sweetener needs. Read your food labels carefully.

So what's the game with HYP Bars?

We are working on options to further cut down the sugar content of our 20g bars. We will not use fructose in any form in our bars and are actively working on some soluble fiber syrups as the replacement within the purview of Indian food safety laws.


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