Guest Author - Jenny Vasquez
What is it?
Corn is milled to produce cornstarch. The cornstarch is processed to produce corn syrup. At this point, it is mostly glucose. Enzymes are added to the corn syrup, which changes some of the glucose to fructose. Essentially, High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sweetener derived from corn.
In 1957, Earl Kooi and Richard Marshal were credited to first producing High Fructose Corn Syrup. At that time, they were unable to mass-produce it. Today, Dr. Takasaki from Japan is credited for the creation and development of High Fructose Corn Syrup. He worked on the project from 1965 to 1970.
From 1975 to 1985, High Fructose Corn Syrup became widely used in the United States as a cheaper alternative to sugar. It replaced sugar in most processed foods and drinks.
Why is it Used?
In 1977, sugar quotas and sugar tariffs were imposed causing the price of sugar to skyrocket. Sugar remained relatively inexpensive in other countries. It is important to mention, corn is a product subsidized by the United States government, which keeps prices low. The increasing price of sugar prompted U.S. food producers to seek a lower priced alternative sweetener. High Fructose Corn Syrup is cheap compared to the price of sugar, so it became the most widely used alternative.
In 1984, Pepsi and Coca-Cola began using High Fructose Corn Syrup in their soft drink products. However, in many countries, these products are made with sugar. Many people in the United States will buy soda products produced in countries such as Mexico, because these products are made with sugar instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is used to reduce the cost for manufacturers of processed foods and drinks. This increases company profits and consumers get cheap food.
Many consumers were not aware that the products they purchased no longer contained sugar and contained High Fructose Corn Syrup. In the past ten years, many consumer groups have begun to question the use of this sugar substitute. Since then, the High Fructose Corn Syrup controversy exploded into mainstream America and caused concern in many foreign countries.