Difference between: corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup

There’s no doubt that high fructose corn syrup has a bad reputation these days, but what about regular corn syrup? Let’s find out the difference.


  • Corn syrup: syrup prepared from corn.
  • High fructose corn syrup: corn syrup to which enzymes have been added to change some of the glucose to fructose, making the product sweeter than regular corn syrup.

Both corn syrup and HFCS:

  • Are made from corn starch.
  • Are used in liquid form.
  • Retain moisture better than other sugars.
  • Are often used in processed foods to replace sugar.
  • Are cheaper than sugar (sucrose). 
  • Are difficult for your body to digest.

Corn syrup:

  • Is made of glucose, dextrose, and maltose.
  • Contains no fructose.
  • Originates from a powder.
  • Is added to products like envelopes for a slightly sweetened taste.
  • Is not sweet enough to flavor sodas, and other products that utilize HFCS.


  • Was created in 1967.
  • Is made by converting glucose in corn syrup into fructose with the addition of enzymes.
  • Is typically 55% fructose and 42% glucose.
  • Is significantly sweeter than corn syrup.
  • Has possibly been linked to obesity; research is ongoing.
  • Is possibly treated differently by the body compared to other sugars; again, research is still ongoing.
  • Is used in many processed foods (more than corn sugar) because it extends the shelf life.

So then, high fructose corn syrup is corn syrup that has been fiddled with – a lot. It’s sweeter than corn syrup, which is why it’s used more in processed foods like soft drinks.

Both corn syrup and HFCS are inexpensive forms of sugar. And as we all know, sugar should be consumed in moderation, regardless of what configuration.

Also, it’s worth noting that all corn syrup you purchase in the grocery store is not necessarily HFCS free – simply read the ingredient list if this concerns you. The Karo brand of corn syrup no longer contains HFCS.