What is Corn Syrup?
Corn syrup is a common sweetener that is obtained by the breaking down of cornstarch either by heating it with a diluted acid or an enzyme. There are mainly two types of corn syrup:
- Light corn syrup: It is lighter in texture, moderately sweet, and seasoned with vanilla and salt.
- Dark corn syrup: It is darker and brownish, or caramel textured. This texture is achieved through the addition of molasses to the corn syrup. It is thicker in texture and sweeter than light corn syrup.
Commercial Corn Syrup
The commercially used corn syrup is called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and is different from that found in grocery stores. It is obtained by the addition of D-xylose isomerase enzyme to the cornstarch. The addition of the isomerase enzyme converts the glucose in corn starch into fructose.
Corn Syrup is used in the production of several grocery items, including baked goods like pastries, biscuits, bread, and cookies; jams and jellies; beverages like soft drinks and fruit juices; and flavoured yoghurts, milk, and ice cream. Some other food items which contain HFCS are sauces, condiments, cereals, and canned and ready-to-eat foods. So we see that a lot of processed foods contain HFCS because it not only acts as a sweetening agent but also as a preservative—HFCS acts as a humectant (an agent which helps retain the moisture in packaged food and prevents it from drying out).