What Are the Benefits of Pure Cane Sugar Over High Fructose Corn Syrup?

By: David Marcheschi

We all enjoy our beverages on daily basis whether its a soda, energy drink or some new functional beverage. While most of us do not check the ingredient list to see what sweeteners are used in our favorite drink, maybe we should. Do all natural drinks only use pure cane sugar? Is high fructose corn syrup really that bad? While the debate between the type of sweeteners has increased as to their safety we should start by understanding their differences and/or similarities?
Pure Cane Sugar
All natural sugar, or unrefined sugar, is one of the healthier options for use in sweetened beverages. Although it contains very little nutritional value, it comes without the harmful potential side effects of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners because it is generally unprocessed and left as close to its natural state as possible. There are also usually not additional chemicals added. Pure, unrefined cane sugar is brown in color and can often be found in health food stores. Fortunately, due to growing concerns about refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, its popularity is growing and chain grocery stores are beginning to stock natural sugars alongside the more traditional refined varieties.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Uses and Misinformation
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is essentially corn syrups that have undergone processing to increase their fructose content to make them sweeter. This way, less goes a lot further, which makes HFCS a more affordable sweetener than sugar; and especially Pure Cane Sugar. These processing methods also give High Fructose Corn Syrup a longer shelf life than sugar, which is a great bonus to manufacturers.
When reading labels, youll find High Fructose Corn Syrup in many different products from things like soft drinks that you expect to contain sweeteners, to other products like iced tea and juices where its presence might surprise you. And, if you look closely at the labels, youll also notice that sometimes, products that claim to be All Natural have HFCS hidden in the ingredient list, which makes them not really all that Natural after all.
There have been some studies that show that High Fructose Corn Syrup is a big contributor to the obesity epidemic because it is processed differently by the body than other sweeteners like table sugar and Pure Cane Sugar. Some studies have also shown that the way in which HFCS is processed leads the body to produce more fat and also masks the bodys sensation of fullness, so people ingest more than they need to. In addition, it has been theorized that because High Fructose Corn Syrup is hidden in so many different products, we all unknowingly over-consume it.
Of course there are other studies saying that HFCS is just the same as table sugar in the effect it has on the body and doesnt contribute to obesity any more than sugar. And again, it is important to remember that sweeteners overall, whether its High Fructose Corn Syrup, Pure Cane Sugar, or any other sweetener, arent the best for your body, especially in large amounts. After all, The World Health Organization recommends that only 10% of your daily calories come from sugar. Based on the average 2,000 calorie diet, thats only 50 grams of sugar per day you should be ingesting, and less is preferable!
Acesulfame Potassium
Ace-K, also known as acesulfame potassium, is an calorie free sweetener that is often found in diet soft drinks and other beverages. Ace-K fits into the same category as other non-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame. They all contain no calories and no fat, making them appealing for dieters and diabetics.
In many products, like soft drinks, Ace K is used along with other 0 calorie sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame because the blend of these sweeteners makes a more palatable taste than any one of them used alone.
Ace K can also enable people to enjoy beverages without the threat of tooth decay as well as offering those with diabetes a way to enjoy sodas and other sweetened drinks without negative effects.
Although the debate rages on concerning the safety, taste and consumption of sweeteners of all kinds; they each have one thing in common. No sweetener should be used in very high quantities, whether alone or when found in sodas and food items. Until more conclusive studies have been performed, every sweetener can pose certain disadvantages and advantages to different consumers.

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