High-fructose corn syrup or table sugar: For better health, avoid too much of either

High-fructose corn syrup isn’t necessarily worse for us than table sugar, but there is just too much of it in our food supply, says Harvard School of Public Health nutrition expert Frank Hu.

In an April 30, 2012 Q & A with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, noted that the two sweeteners are not so different chemically. High-fructose corn syrup, which comes from corn, is roughly 55 percent fructose and 40 percent glucose, plus other minor sugars and other ingredients. Table sugar, called sucrose, is made from sugar cane or beets and is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. While high-fructose corn syrup often gets blamed for the nation’s obesity epidemic, “we should worry about sugar in general,” Hu said.

But “because it’s cheap, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has gone up so much in recent decades and has become one of the main sources of calories in our diet,” Hu said.

Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article

Learn more

Daily sugar-sweetened drink may increase heart disease risk in men (HSPH news)

Sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome (HSPH release)

High-fructose corn syrup and health (HSPH Nutrition Source)