With little fanfare, and even less scrutiny, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was introduced into the food supply decades ago. It is now commonly found in an astounding array of popular food and beverage products. Sweetened, carbonated soft drinks are considered by many to be the worst offenders. Food manufacturers embraced HFCS wholeheartedly because it is substantially cheaper than sucrose (table sugar) and mixes well with a variety of products, including beverages, baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, and dairy products. In fact, between 1970 and 1990, the annual intake of HFCS increased by more than 1,000%, greatly exceeding the change in intake of any other food or food group. High-fructose corn syrup is now the primary caloric sweetener added to soft drinks in the United States, and comprises more than 40% of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages
While it is derived from a natural source, HFCS is essentially an unnatural product, in the sense that for most of human history we consumed no more than about 15 grams of fructose per day (approximately one-half ounce), mostly from fruits and vegetables. In contrast, daily consumption in 1997 was estimated to have increased to 81 grams (nearly three ounces) per day. For the first time in history, humans are consuming fructose at extraordinarily high levels.
NEXT: The Dangers of Fructose