What's really in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and how dangerous is it to your health?
While in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design Maya Weinstein pulled back the curtain on the product more American than Apple Pie. She dissected the recipe for HFCS and created it on her own.
RecipeIs it dangerous to your health? Check out this graph from The American Journal on Clinical Nutrition on the prevalence of obesity as it follows the introduction of HFCS in Americans diets.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: Ingredients
8 cups water
1 drop Sulfuric Acid
2 cups ground corn (Yellow Dent #2)
1 teaspoon Alpha Amylase
1 teaspoon Glucose Amylase
1 teaspoon Xylose
2 droppers Glucose Isomerase
The ground corn used is Yellow dent corn. Yellow Dent #2 refers to a type of corn known for its high starch content and heavy outer skin making it inedible to humans without extensive cooking and processing. Also known as field corn, Yellow Dent #2 is primarily grown as a feed for cattle, a base for ethanol and biodegradable plastics, as well as for processing into prepared foods.
Glucose Isomerase is a genetically engineered enzyme (Streptomyces) produced through the fermentation of microorganisms using a variety of bacteria. Glucose Isomerase converts starches into sugars by changing glucose into fructose. Glucose Isomerase was developed for the process of making high fructose corn syrup.
Sulfuric Acid A highly corrosive, strong mineral acid. A component in battery acid, drain cleaner, and lead batteries. Sulfuric Acid functions as a preservative in the procedure for making high fructose corn syrup.
Alpha Amylase is a bacterial enzyme similar to what our saliva produces to break down starches. Alpha Amylase is a starch-splitting enzyme used to separate sugar from starch and seperate sugar into shorter chain oligosaccharides.
Glucose Amylase is an industrial enzyme derived from a yeast or fungi. Glucose Amylase further catalyzes the breakdown of malto-oligosaccharides to glucose.
Xylose D Xylose is a five carbon sugar. Xylose is converted into D xylulose through the isomerization process of making high fructose corn syrup.