Sugar-like Substances


Last week I picked up a granola bar off the counter at work.  It’s from a brand associated with healthy products.  Since I’ve been paying special attention to my sugar intake, I looked at the ingredient list; the second ingredient is high maltose corn syrup.  I had never heard of High Maltose Corn Syrup, so I was curious.  What I understand is that it’s a blend of glucose (corn syrup), maltose, and fructose.  And though it’s not as sweet as HFCS, it’s sweet enough to be used as a sweetener in food production.

It’s important to remember that most food manufacturers are in business to make money.  Not to help us be healthy, to tell us the truth, or to provide the most nutritional product.  They want to make a profit.  They also have teams of people dedicated to monitoring media attention.  Where sugar is concerned, corn syrup is cheaper than cane sugar, so it makes economical sense to use it.  And when High Fructose Corn Syrup gets a (in my opinion, well-deserved) bad rap, it makes economical sense to find an inexpensive alternative like High Maltose Corn Syrup.

There is significantly less information available about High Maltose Corn Syrup than HFCS, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Sucrose (table sugar) is equal amounts of glucose and fructose in a chemical bond.  The body breaks down the bond during digestion, using insulin.
  • Corn syrup is not naturally very sweet, so it’s necessary to add in other sugars to make it a viable food sweetener.  Enter fructose and maltose.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup is also glucose and fructose, but not in equal amounts, and not bonded.  The body still uses insulin, but because of the lack of chemical bond, digestion is not required, potentially causing blood sugar spikes, damage to the liver and digestive tract.  There’s a concise explanation in #2 of this post.
  • Chemically-altered substances, like pharmaceuticals, often have negative side effects on the body.  Drugs have labels that list negative side effects, but HFCS does not.
  • The more natural food I eat, the better I feel.

As always, do your own research from as many reliable sources as possible.


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