I continue to do research on HFCS and found this interesting tidbit at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI is pretty reputable as an advocate for nutrition and health. They put out an excellent newsletter.
Anyway, this is what they had to say about HFCS:
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Sweetener: Soft drinks, other processed foods.
Our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has soared since around 1980. That’s because this sweet syrupy liquid is cheaper and easier for some companies to use than sugar. HFCS has been blamed by a few people for the obesity epidemic, because rates of obesity have climbed right along with HFCS consumption. But that’s an urban myth. There isn’t a shred of evidence that HFCS is any more harmful than sugar. We’re consuming way too much of both.
Some people think that HFCS is mostly fructose, and fructose probably does play a role in obesity. However, HFCS, on average, is about half fructose and half glucose—exactly the same as ordinary table sugar, sucrose, when sucrose is metabolized by the body. When sugar is (or, as is generally the case, was) used in soft drinks, much of it was broken down to glucose and fructose right in the bottle. If the big soda companies weren’t using HFCS, they’d be using regular sugar, and the extra cost would only be a couple of cents per can, a difference that likely would have little effect on consumption.
HFCS starts out as cornstarch. Companies use enzymes or acids to break down the starch into its glucose subunits. Then other enzymes convert different proportions of the glucose to fructose. The resulting syrups contain as much as 90 percent fructose, but most HFCS is 42 percent or 55 percent fructose. In 2005, about 77 pounds of corn sweeteners, mostly HFCS, and 63 pounds cane and beet sugar were produced per capita (U.S.). A total of 142 pounds of all caloric sweeteners, down from the 1999 high of 151 pounds, was produced per person. (Production does not equal actual consumption, because some sugars, or the products in which they are used, are lost or discarded in the distribution chain.)
Which reiterates something else I read:
In the same article, Walter Willets, chair of the nutrition department of the Harvard School of Public Health, is quoted as saying, "There's no substantial evidence to support the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is somehow responsible for obesity …. If there was no high-fructose corn syrup, I don't think we would see a change in anything important." Thus he personally seems to believe that high-fructose corn syrup is no worse than other sugars. Willets also recommends drinking water over soft drinks containing sugars or high-fructose corn syrup.
He’s another trustworthy expert in the world of nutrition.
It's another one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't — what do we believe anymore? I guess I will just continue down the path of avoiding HFCSs, and just sugar in general. *sigh*