High-Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar

You've probably seen those commercials boasting that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) isn't as bad for you as you think, since it's made from all-natural corn. It's misleading though because just like refined white sugar, HFCS is a highly processed sweetener. Both sugar and HFCS provide zero nutrition and loads of empty calories.


Check out the chart below to see how the two compare.

Calories Carbs (g) Sugars (g)
1 tbsp. white sugar 46 12 12
1 tbsp. high-fructose corn syrup 53 14.4 5

To find out if one is healthier than the other read more.

HFCS is more processed and it's cheaper than sugar so it's added to more foods. The campaign that's in favor of HFCS says it's OK to eat in moderation, but since it's found in so many foods, it's tough to avoid. HFCS also affects the hunger hormone in your body known as leptin, which creates an increase in your appetite and causes people who eat foods with HFCS to overeat. So the concept of self-control is thrown out the window.

The bottom line is that your body processes both sugar and HFCS in the same way, and eating either can lead to obesity and diabetes. That means neither is healthier than the other. That's not to say you should ban all foods from your diet that contain sugar or HFCS, but try to eat less than 40 to 45 grams of added sugar a day. Read labels and look for the names sugar, HFCS, as well as this list of sugars.

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