Is sugar healthier than high fructose corn syrup?

It depends what you mean when you say "sugar". Most lay people would mean common white table sugar, or sucrose. If this is the case you are referring to a compound that is a 1:1 ratio of a glucose, fructose combination. High Fructose Corn Syrup comes in two common varieties, either 55% fructose 45% glucose or 42% fructose and 58% glucose. Either way, you are looking at percentages that are very similar to table sugar and treated by the body in almost the same pathways for processing. Glucose is not the issue, however elevated levels of fructose have recently been linked to higher levels of obesity and diabetes, as the body metabolizes it more like fat. This issue is created from both sources. The natural fructose in fruit is counterbalanced by fiber but this is generally not present in foods with high fructose corn syrup. For this reason the blood sugar level goes much higher, especially if drinking high fructose corn syrup. This can lead to obesity, diabetes and poor digestion.

In summary, they are both equally poison to the system in large quantities such as is normal to the American diet and will over prolonged periods of time lead to deleterious health effects.

"Editorial Note: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) plays a leading role in the epidemic of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes sweeping across the post industrial world. Read how eating fructose sweetened foods rapidly produces a chain reaction of events in the body to result in out-of-control lipids, blood sugar and metabolic diseases like diabetes, atherosclerosis and similar conditions. Together with eating foods that are high in long-chain omega-6 vegetable oils, trans fats from processed foods, and saturated fats from farm-raised grain fed red meats and dairy, eating HFCS high fructose corn syrups is one of the major factors killing most people who die from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, or a host of other diseases that have been proven to be associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. This excellent study from scientists working in Canada details the high fructose problem facing anyone eating today's common high sugar, low fiber, low antioxidant, high fat diet."

Authors: Heather Basciano, Lisa Federico and Khosrow Adeli of the Clinical Biochemistry Division, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Published in the journal: "Nutrition & Metabolism", February 21, 2005.