Corn syrup is used abundantly in our food industry.
You’ve probably seen it as an ingredient on many products at the grocery store. You can actually buy corn syrup as a product for your recipes. But what exactly is it?
1. Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener derived from corn starch (or maize).
2. Corn starch is used extensively in processed foods and drinks because it is less expensive than sugar, doesn’t crystallize as easily, adds flavor and softens the texture of food.
3. Light corn syrup has been processed to remove all color and doesn’t contain much flavor, while dark corn syrup has had caramel color and molasses added to it.
4. Corn syrup is NOT THE SAME AS from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The vilified HFCS is is derived from corn syrup that is processed with enzymes to create a sweeter syrup with a higher percentage of fructose.
5. Corn syrup is made of sugar and oligosaccharides. Both are carbohydrates. Another carbohydrate, by the way, is starch.When we refer to “sugar”, we mean one of the most simple forms of a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates can be “complex”, such as starch, or “simple”, such as table sugar (sucrose).
6. Oligosaccharides, which make up about 50% of corn syrup, are a form of carbohydrate that is almost as simple as sugar, but have a few more molecules attached to them. So they are a little more complex, but not enough to be called a starch.
7. The more simple a carbohydrate, the quicker your body absorbs it, causing your “blood sugars” to rise up very quickly, but then drop just as fast. This will make you feel hungry pretty quickly after you’ve eaten something with a high sugar content. Ideally, we want to consume more of the complex carbohydrates, giving us blood sugar levels that don’t fluctuate as much throughout the day.
8. While corn syrup doesn’t have the bad rap of HFCS, it is still loaded with sugar! If corn syrup is listed as one of the top ingredients in a food product, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of it.