Q. I've read about high fructose corn syrup. Are there foods in Australia using it and is it worse than sugar?
A. High fructose corn syrup or HFCS is a type of sweetener made from maize or corn. The starch is extracted from the maize and converted into fructose, a natural sugar that's also found in fruit.
In the US, HFCS is popular and is commonly used in soft drinks because it's less expensive than cane sugar, which is what we use in Australia. However nutritionists have some concerns that HFCS may not be good for us.
Emerging evidence suggests that it may increase the risk of the metabolic syndrome - a cluster of health problems including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity and high blood triglycerides.
It's thought that when the body turns HFCS into energy, it creates too-high levels of the unhealthy triglyceride fats in the process. So even though too much sugar is not good for us, the body seems to handle it better than HFCS.
Fortunately for our health, this sweetener is not used widely in Australia but be careful and read the labels on imported foods.