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What is Corn Sugar?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Corn sugar is a natural sweetener that is made utilizing starch that is extracted from kernels of corn. The extracted cornstarch is then refined to create a solid sugar or to make another popular sweetening agent known as corn syrup. Both corn syrup and sugar are routinely used in many culinary recipes as well as in the creation of a number of mass produced food products.

The process for making corn sugar begins with the removal of starchy elements from the corn. The extracted elements are actually glucose, although the refining process will transform them into another form of sugar known as dextrose. With the production of syrup, the corn sugar becomes a high fructose corn syrup that is ideal for use in many commercial foods as both a flavor enhancer and as an ingredient that influences the final texture of the prepared food.

There are different types of sugar available today, each of them varying in texture and the level of sweetness that is provided by a measured amount of the refined product. In the case of corn sugar, this sugar product — slightly yellow and a little larger than most cane sugar products — does not provide the same level of sweetness as the more common granulated sugar. However, this type of sugar does help to provide slightly more bulk to various recipes, which sometimes makes it a better option than other sugars. Many experts agree that it provides a little more than half the sweetness provided by the same amount of white refined sugar.

Corn sugar also tends to be more easily digested than sugars made using sugarcane or beets. In terms of nutritional value, there is no clear indication that it provides any additional health benefits. Using corn sugar as a means of cutting the sweet taste in recipes is an excellent way to adapt dishes that require a specific amount of sugar for bulk purposes.

However, there is currently no definitive proof that using corn sugar instead of cane sugar provides any benefits to people who are in the early stages of diabetes and are attempting to control the condition with diet. Foods containing this material are still likely to cause unhealthy spikes in blood glucose levels and place additional strain on the body’s ability to process those higher levels of glucose efficiently.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon960617 — On Jul 11, 2014

Much ado about the health benefits/risks of HFCS, is moot when you realize that the real cause of people being hurt by it is in the fact that they themselves purchase the products containing it and eat it. If you do not want it, don't buy it!! Quit saying "the government" should do your job and make sure you can't eat it, and accept the responsibility to make sure that the foods you consume (either at home, or otherwise) do not contain it.

By anon325025 — On Mar 13, 2013

Listen up, as there seems to be some confusion: Corn sugar (dextrose) contains only glucose and not fructose. Table sugar (cane sugar) is sucrose, which contains both glucose and fructose. HFCS (Corn Syrup) is corn sugar which has been bonded to fructose - making its composition similar to table sugar but arguably less healthy.

By anon274612 — On Jun 12, 2012

You forgot to post the most important difference between corn syrup and HFCS. Corn syrup is glucose and HFCS is fructose. Glucose is processed by every organ in the body and fructose is only processed by the liver.

Consumption of HFCS overloads the liver, causing weight gain and a list of health conditions. Glucose, on the other hand, does not have any of the side effects caused by HFCS.

By anon259542 — On Apr 06, 2012

Will it ferment? Yes, 100 percent.

By anon250609 — On Feb 26, 2012

Obviously you aren't such a "wise" geek. High fructose corn syrup (the true name of corn sugar) does not behave like regular sugar in the body. It metabolizes through the back door of the liver, causes tremendous sugar spikes and can be fatal to a diabetic.

The worst thing it does, in my opinion, is turn off the signals in the brain that tell you that you're full. The corn refiners should be ashamed for trying to hide all the problems instead of searching for a safe product.

There's somebody they can't hide from and that's God. I pity them when they stand before Him and have to explain why they allowed a product they knew was harmful to be sold for consumption. For earthly wealth they have lost their souls.

By anon233078 — On Dec 04, 2011

I know all you guys commenting here know this. But I want to type it up so people can find this page easily in search engines.

Corn sugar is just another name for High Fructose Corn Syrup. Corn sugar is the same as HFCS. Corn sugar is unhealthy. Corn sugar destroys your liver. Corn sugar fattens your liver. The body can tell the difference between cane sugar and corn sugar. The name HFCS has a bad reputation, so now it is imposed on us with a new name, corn sugar. Sugar is sugar, not true.

By anon227942 — On Nov 06, 2011

Will it ferment?

By anon223184 — On Oct 18, 2011

Sugar is a generic term for a variety of compounds which includes but is not limited to glucose, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, and galactose. The only sugar that is used by the body directly is glucose bound with oxygen as glycogen. Any of the other sugars must be broken down to glucose first and then bound with oxygen so the body can burn it. That means fructose, which is mainly found in fruit and sucrose in cane sugar are just one more step away from being used by the body.

Starches are one further step away than sugars from being used as energy. But complex starches bound with chromium do much to prevent type II Diabetes. The chromium usually is in the bran of grains. Neurons, unlike muscle cells can not burn fat or catabolize and burn protein. But you are usually much better off using complex carbohydrates from whole grains which includes corn rather than sugars to feed your neurons.

Use all sugars sparingly or not at all to avoid Type II Diabetes.

By anon219941 — On Oct 04, 2011

"There is currently no definitive proof that using corn sugar instead of cane sugar..."

How they twist it from a cause of diabetes to "currently no benefits to diabetes sufferers" as if to imply that maybe in the future we might discover some, while sounding honest is a testament to the genius of whatever marketing firm came up with this. Disgusting.

By anon180637 — On May 26, 2011

Where is the FDA? No truth in advertising? There are many "sugars".

Only one is sucrose, only one is glucose, only one is fructose etc., etc. Ph.D in Physical Organic Chemistry

By anon167344 — On Apr 12, 2011

Corn acts the same as gluten in the body. So it is a far cry from sugar. We're talking about something that is changing the future of our children and grandchildren.

By anon164429 — On Mar 31, 2011

Since we know through independent scientific data, like that from Princeton University, that our bodies do know the difference between sugars by how they are processes and that all sugars are not the same the commercials for "corn sugar" need to be removed from TV. What happened to the truth in advertising laws?

By anon158225 — On Mar 06, 2011

Do you know that certain Blood types react negatively to Corn and Corn syrup? It contains lectin or other agglutinins, which are metabolic inhibitors. It contains a component which can modify known disease susceptibility.

Agglutinins stick to your vital organs like a glue and cover them up. If you do that on a regular basis, your body thinks that your organs are foreign invaders, and you can develop certain types of cancers and auto-immune disorders. The only blood type that can tolerate born and born products is blood type A, and only if you are a secreter. Type A non-secreters also cannot tolerate it.

By anon156923 — On Feb 28, 2011

Cane sugar can be broken down by every cell in your body (sucrose). HFCS (fructose)is only broken down by your liver, putting much more strain on it. Your body knows the difference.

Being natural is a joke also. HFCS goes through three chemical processes to be made. Its cheaper to make and use, plain and simple reason for it existing, nothing more. It's best to do without as much sugar as possible, but at least pick the lesser of the the two evils.

By anon153930 — On Feb 18, 2011

I suffered from arthritic conditions in my legs for over two years. As I was approaching the age of 50, my family doctor blamed my long distance running. And at that time, I agreed.

I decided to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and sugars to reduce weight. Within three days of stopping all consumption of HFCS, the stiffness in my legs disappeared. It's now seven years and I'm still pain free. Also, my triglycerides dropped from 170 to 50. Several attempts to return to HFCS brought back the arthritic condition. Say away from HFCS!

By anon153882 — On Feb 18, 2011

I agree that corn sugar/syrup is lethal over time to our bodies and our kids' health. How dare they try to shove this propaganda down our throats due to the greed and control of people? They are no better than the tobacco industry!

By anon148018 — On Jan 31, 2011

Sugars are different, and your body knows the difference. For example, lactose is a double sugar. Most non-white people cannot even digest it in adulthood.

Triple sugars (in beans) are not digestible by any human.

Fructose (corn syrup) is metabolized by the liver, turning it into fat.

In numerous university (animal) studies it was decidedly implicated both in obesity, and in high blood pressure.

The claim sugar is sugar, is a lie.

By anon146613 — On Jan 26, 2011

HFCS and sugar are not chemically the same and they are processed differently in the body. They may both make you fat but HFCS has other problems because fructose is absorbed through the liver. Sugar is bound together chemically, while HFCS is blended so it is not the same thing.

By anon141529 — On Jan 10, 2011

Your body actually doesn't know the difference between hfcs and cane sugar.

By anon131994 — On Dec 05, 2010

This article is very misleading. They want to change high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar due to the reputation it has.

If the body doesn't know the difference, then why are more and more people getting diabetes and are obese? Besides that, it's so processed that is void of any nutritional. Oh, let's not forget that most likely is GMO corn which is in 70 percent of the products found in supermarkets. I prefer to use organic raw brown sugar which is much more healthy. Don't be misled, people!

By anon127948 — On Nov 17, 2010

People need to take a stand against this crap. you know the only reason the changes the name to "corn sugar" is because people were on to them! and the commercials claiming HFCS is as safe as sugar make me want to puke.

By anon124909 — On Nov 07, 2010

@Anon110644: So don't eat HFCS. Why are you eating something you know does not agree with you? It's on the damn label, so read it. That is what it is there for.

Labels almost always have lots of hard-to-pronounce, polysyllabic substances, on them with names one is not familiar with. The burden is on you, the person who is voluntarily ingesting it, to look up what the substance is.

Consumers cannot hide behind a veil of ignorance, constantly crying that they don't know what an additive is, when it is very easy to research.

Would you perhaps like a 50 page book included with every single product, which gives a treatise on every ingredient? I bet some of you might. You are the ones who wants the product, so the burden is on you. Don't like it, don't buy it.

By anon119746 — On Oct 19, 2010

It seems the manufacturers want you to think that "corn sugar" is a safe product because it is "natural". However, it is metabolized solely by your liver, putting stress on that organ, especially if you eat a lot of processed foods, which are full of the HFCS or "corn sugar". It is a poison to your body, and you should stay away from it.

By anon113740 — On Sep 25, 2010

This is such a lie. Trying to cover it over with a cute name, where is the FDA? They are running this ad non stop today!

By anon113048 — On Sep 22, 2010

More deceptive advertising from these disgusting companies as their products are being exposed more and more. They are trying to rename the chemical aspartame into "aminosweet", as it sounds like amino acids, which are healthy, right?

Where is our pathetic government?- lying bloated in the corner from feeding on the money from these companies. Natural sugars are bad enough for your body, never mind this processed crap.

The stuff should be banned. It's only purpose is to gain extra profit for companies since corn is so heavily subsidized.

By anon110644 — On Sep 12, 2010

Watched a commercial yesterday, saying that your body won't know the difference between regular sugar and corn sugar. What a lie! My body knows when I have high fructose corn syrup. It will not let me sleep for 48 hours after I eat it!

By anon110618 — On Sep 12, 2010

I just saw that commercial, "sugar is sugar". That is infuriating! And of course, the spokesmodel is a healthy-looking "responsible mother", tossing her healthy looking kids into the air as if to say "hey look at me, I'm informed and I love my kids! I wouldn't do anything to predispose them to type II diabetes and obesity! Yay corn!"

This is so deceptive. Thanks, my country. I'm sure they got around it legally because technically, they are both sugars. But come on. This is just further proof that we are worth more to this country if we are sick and dying than living healthier, longer lives.

By anon109495 — On Sep 07, 2010

Have you seen the new television ad from the corn industry? They have stooped to an all new low - a commercial promoting HFCS saying "sugar is sugar" and directing people to the website. Puh-leaze! Sugar is not sugar. HFCS is the root of all evil. It takes the liver 40 times more work to digest than pure cane sugar. GMO food (thanks, Monsanto!) of all kinds is the root of all evil and the demise of America. Period. End of story.

By anon98300 — On Jul 22, 2010

cane sugar is preferred to increase the alcohol content when making wine as most yeast is glucophilic - it will utilize fructose but prefers glucose.

By anon90863 — On Jun 18, 2010

Do not buy corn sugar. It is bad. It is like eating two teaspoons of cane sugar when you eat one. It causes obesity and increases blood glucose. Only buy cane sugar (expensive because of our government's import tariffs).

By anon83806 — On May 12, 2010

You can get corn sugar from pretty much any homebrewing supply store.

By anon83569 — On May 11, 2010

This is probably very old post, but you can get corn sugar at a beer-making supply store - I buy it in five-pound bags at my local homebrewing shop.

By anon62498 — On Jan 27, 2010

Nice try! Unfortunately, the only corn sugar to be found in the American diet is of the high fructose variety.

By anon36964 — On Jul 15, 2009

where can you buy corn sugar? not our cub stores and not the the local co-op

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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