High Fructose Corn Syrup
White crystals or powder.
Sugars are used as sweeteners, as thickeners, and as structural
elements in foods.
Table sugar is sucrose. It is made from two simpler
sugars called glucose and fructose. Glucose
is sometimes called dextrose.
Glucose is a little less sweet than sucrose, and fructose is
a sweeter than sucrose. When sucrose is heated in the presence
of an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice), it breaks down
into glucose and fructose, and the resulting syrup is sweeter
than sucrose. The syrup is called "invert sugar".
Simple sugars can join to form long chains. Glucose units can
chain up to form amylose,
the starch in corn, or
the molecule that forms the structure of plants.
Amylose can be broken down into its simple glucose units using
enzymes. The result is called "corn syrup". Processing it some
more using enzymes that convert glucose into fructose, yields
"high fructose corn syrup". The mixture of glucose and fructose
is similar to that in sucrose and invert sugar, and it is sweeter
than plain corn syrup.
There are many different types of simple sugars, and they can
combine into many more types of complex sugars. The backbone
of DNA is a chain made of sugars.