High Fructose Corn Syrup Vs. Sugar

In possibly the sweetest debate this side of Candyland, it’s coming down to the nitty-gritty: high fructose corn syrup, or sugar?

According to OUKosher.org, “high fructose corn syrup made up… about 56% of the sweeteners that Americans consumed in 1997.” That was 12 years ago. Is a new pattern emerging, in favor of sugar?

This is an especially interesting question as we approach Passover. Generally, high fructose corn syrup is treated as a no-no chametz ingredient, come Passover. This discounts some popular foods during the eight days, including sodas and ketchup… unless it is known that the particular high fructose corn syrup used is a kosher-made variety.

Beyond the Passover debate, some circles have declared that drinks sweetened with real sugar, rather than the less expensive and plentiful sweetener of choice, corn syrup, are actually tastier. Some argue that the Mexican-made Coca Cola, said to be made with sugar rather than American-made Coca Cola, made with HFCS, is better. And now even Snapple is switching over, which, according to the New York Times, is at least part of the reason that some flavors of the drink are now lower in calories.  Stay tuned, sugar and high fructose corn syrup fans!

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2 Responses to “High Fructose Corn Syrup Vs. Sugar”

  1. Preston Neal Says:

    Thanks for posting! I for one am a big fan of real sugar in my soft drinks (though the caffeine is still not so good for me). When I was in Israel, I loved drinking Coca-Cola out of a GLASS bottle with REAL sugar…mmmm. Michael Pollan, in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” has a great description of how HFCS came to replace cane sugar in American sweets.

  2. Ilana Says:

    Has it really come to this? There are much less refined, much healthier sweet alternatives to both sugar and HFCS. To name a few: agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, brown rice syrup, stevia (a no calorie option), and even evaporated cane juice is slightly better than sugar. Rather than expecting processed food manufacturers to keep our health interests in mind, which they won’t, why not just skip processed foods and make your own, healthier sweet treats at home? For Passover, that’s a guaranteed way to avoid chametz.

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