Corn Syrup & "Corn Syrup Solids"

Give me the straight dope on “corn syrup solids”. (Google either tells me where I can buy it for food processing or scientific stuff that’s over my head about changing molecules and other stuff.)

What are corn syrup solids? Is this something I want to be eating? My husband tends to pick up a lot of processed foods (yuckorama) at the grocery store, and we’re guilty of both relying on insta-crap to round out meals. Stuff like instant mashed potatoes, boxed stuffing, ready-made soups, and so on.

So I am trying to eat better yet again, and was perusing the ingredients listed on stuff in our kitchen cupboards. There are “corn syrup solids” in all three foodstuffs, the potatoes, the stuffing, and it’s the second ingredient in the packet of cup-a-soup I have stashed in desk drawer at work for emergency food purposes.

Why are ‘they’ putting something sweet (I presume) into normally savoury dishes? Is it a conspiracy to make us all even fatter, and ‘hooked’ on processed crapola? Do ‘corn syrup solids’ and related corn sugar/syrup really actually make you feel less full and more inclined to overeat because there’s no satiety involved in their consumption? (A co-worker’s statement, which I am dubious of.)

Despite being dubious about the last, I’d like to know more about “corn syrup solids”, why they’re there, and what they do to me when I eat them.

I’m thinking I shouldn’t be eating them. (I should be eating lean protein, some complex carbohydrates, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, I’m thinking.)

In plain language, corn syrup solids are essentially concentrated corn syrup and are, indeed, a sweetener.

Do ‘corn syrup solids’ and related corn sugar/syrup really actually make you feel less full and more inclined to overeat because there’s no satiety involved in their consumption? (A co-worker’s statement, which I am dubious of.)

Urban legend. No studies support this idea and I know of at least one that refutes it. The Wikipedia entry for HFCS has more details if you’re interested.

Despite being dubious about the last, I’d like to know more about “corn syrup solids”, why they’re there, and what they do to me when I eat them.

Corn syrup solids are basically dextrose, which is a sugar. Empty calories for the most part. You can get really deep into this sort of discussion and there are legitimate uses for high glycemic carbohydrates, but for the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations, sugars are about taste, not nutrition.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m extremely health and nutrition conscious and I occasionally eat sweets as a treat and never sweat it. We all have to decide for ourselves how to spend our calorie budgets (assuming you care about that sort of thing).
*
I’m thinking I shouldn’t be eating them.*

They’re only found in processed foods and for my money (literally and figuratively) processed foods are not as good a choice for nutrition as fresh foods but this sort of thing is highly personal. I know a few health nuts (and yes, I consider myself a health nut) who are total food nazis and I find them annoying. What you eat is your choice and I applaud your desire to educate yourself about those choices.

I should be eating lean protein, some complex carbohydrates, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, I’m thinking.

“Complex carbohydrates” is an outmoded idea. Current nutrition science focuses on glycemic index and glycemic load.

Don’t forget the unsaturated fats. Fats are essential to good nutrition and good health. Hormone health in particular is sensitive to fat intake.

“You are what you eat” is literally true and good nutrition is the conerstone of continued good health. Proper nutrition becomes especially important as you age. I know people in their 80’s that look like they’re in their fifties and are more vital and active than some people I know in their forties. These amazing oldsters all have two things in common… good nutrition and daily vigorous exercise. The choice is yours and it sounds to me like you’re on the right track.

Thanks, daffyduck.

I’ve always wondered exactly how the food processors pulled that off, getting the USDA to let them call their non-cane sugars by other names. Consumers can look at the labels of stuff in the grocery store, and they can say, “yup, no sugar in this one!” There’s nothing bad about corn syrup or high fructose corn sweetener, but why can’t they call a sugar a sugar?

Most things made from corn are not even slightly harmful to you. Corn oil is good, but if it’s hydrogenated, that makes it a trans fat. That’s not good. Many whiskeys are made from a mix of grains including corn. Whiskey is delightful, but imprudent use of it can be hazardous.

I was shocked when I started reading labels of canned goods - I hardly ever buy super-processed foods. When I get canned or frozen foods, it’s because the fresh stuff is too expensive or out of season or whatever. I was suprised as hell to read that corn syrup is in a lot of the tomatoes you buy canned! However, if you scooch on over to that weird organic food aisle, you can get better tasting canned tomatoes with far fewer additives. I love Muir Glen, personally. Just a bit of advice. Frankly, I’m shocked at how many foods have some sort of corn syrup in them that don’t seem to need it.

Thanks, daffy, that’s very helpful, and the kind of information I was looking for. I’ll check out what’s to be found out about glycemic index and glycemic load, too.

Frankly, I’m shocked at how many foods have some sort of corn syrup in them that don’t seem to need it.

That’s what gets me, too. Why in blue blazes would I want corn syrup in soup? Potatoes?

Time to be cooking from scratch, even if I’m tired and grumpy after a long day at work. “Empty calories” is the last thing I need.

I’m telling you, Muir Glen tomatoes. The labels read “Tomatoes, water, salt.” Unless you get the no salt added ones, where they say “Tomatoes, water.” The kicker is, they taste better! (And absolutely taste better than those things the grocery store has the nerve to call fresh tomatoes.) I reccommend them, and the store brand frozen veggies that are just that veggie on the ingredients list. You don’t want the ones with sauce.

Corn syrup is also used to create a viscous texture in many processed foods. Look at fat free salad dressing some time; corn syrup is almost always always the first ingredient. By adding salt, vinegar and savory spices, the sweetness is less detectable, and you never even know you are eating gobs of sugar.

I’m looking at a can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes right now. Ingredients: tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, citric acid, and calcium chloride. No corn syrup, or corn sweetener. Hunt’s Tomato Sauce: tomato puree (tomato paste, water), water, less than 2% of salt, citric acid, spice, tomato fiber, natural flavor. No corn syrup or corn sweetener.

I can’t recall the brands I was looking at, but I believe I needed diced tomatoes and found several cans with corn syrup listed. Next time I’m at the grocery store I’ll report.

Classico Alfredo and Roasted Garlic jarred sauce. (My husband wants some pasta with chicken, peppers, mushrooms and creamy not tomato-y sauce for dinner tomorrow.) Sure enough, **corn syrup solids **make yet another appearance.

My tomato paste and tomato sauce are okay, though.

Just a note that a sweetener in tomato products might not only add the perception that the tomatoes are riper and more flavorful, but it also tends to cut the acidity and make heartburn less likely. My mother used to add sugar to her tomato-based sauces to make them easier on my dad, and I do in my own for my husband’s comfort. That being said, I personally think people should add their own sweetener or not as preferred, but suspect that companies’ lines of reasoning fall along the general path of “people like sweeter food better, plus people won’t want to eat something that gives them heartburn, so add some cheap corn derivatives and it’s win-win.”

Ferret Herder has hit the nail right on the nose*. There’s a traditional piece of grandma advice for a mom whose children won’t eat certain foods, “Add sugar.” A lot of kids learned to like veggies because Mama made them sweet. As an adult, did you ever taste kid-targeted products like Spaghetti-Os? They’re really really sweet.

*:wink:

I make my own convenience food by cooking on the weekends and freezing meal sized portions. I’m sure I have at least 20 meals in my freezer right now. Pot roast, barbequed chicken, ham steaks, carnitas, beef stew, chili, split pea soup, etc. I prepare my salad greens on the weekend too, so I always have salad greens in the fridge ready to be thrown in a bowl. On a weekday, I can slam together a very tasty and nutritious meal in about five minutes. My gf is always bringing friends over with her and they’re always amazed that I can whip up a four course meal without advanced notice in the time it takes them to have a glass of wine.

I do the same thing. If you haven’t invested in a vacuum sealer like a Foodsaver, check it out. Makes packaging portions a snap, and it keeps way longer than tupperware or plastic bags.

Adding sugar may make foods taste less acidic, but I don’t think it’s going to be doing anything to the actual chemical property of acidity. I wonder what, if any, is the science behind the idea of adding sugar to reduce heartburn…

Remember this: Sugar by any other name is still sugar!

My can of soup for lunch today has “Modified corn starch.” Is that anything like Corn Syrup Solids?

Not so much as salty! Spaghetti-Os smell more salty than pure NaCl, they must have discovered some uber-salt flavoring to put in them :slight_smile: