Characteristics of High-Fructose Corn Syrup

HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup) is called isoglucose in England and glucose-fructose in Canada, and was first introduced to the food and beverage industry in the late 1960s (HFCS-42 in 1967) and 1970s (HFCS-55 in 1977) to improve stability and functionality of various foods and beverages. HFCS usage underwent rapid growth during the 1980s, especially in beverage applications.

By the 1990s, HFCS was well established as a stable, domestic sweetener in the United States, where its use is second only to sucrose.

HFCS provides better flavor enhancement, stability, freshness, texture, color, pourability, and consistency in foods in comparison to sucrose. The development of these inexpensive, sweet corn-based syrups made it profitable to replace sucrose (sugar) and simple sugars with HFCS in human diet.

High fructose corn syrup is a clear, sweet, low-viscosity liquid. It is very similar to sucrose (table sugar) and honey in composition, sweetness, calories and metabolism. HFCS is composed of either 42% or 55% fructose, with the remaining sugars being primarily glucose and small amounts of higher sugars.

It is high in the simple sugar fructose which differentiates it from ordinary (dextrose) corn syrup. HFCS is hygroscopic (attracts moisture) and, thus, must currently be sold in syrup form.

It has a low potential for crystallization, often a problem in products with high solids and high sucrose or dextrose content.

HFCS contains amounts of riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The moisture content of this syrup is between 23% and 29%.

HFCS has many functional properties that improve foods and beverages. It provides energy, sweetness and moisture, and it enhances flavor and stability. HFCS enhances fruit and spice flavors, prolongs product freshness, aids in fermentation, provides product stability, and promotes cooked flavors and surface browning in baked goods.
Characteristics of High-Fructose Corn Syrup

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