What’s the difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar?
Chemically they are both about 50-50 fructose and sucrose. But high-fructose corn syrup got a bad name from the muckraking Left and thus has led to some amusing nonsense. WSJ:
Matt Gordon, the chef and owner of Urban Solace, a modern-American restaurant in San Diego, spent months of work and $15,000 making sure the restaurant’s sodas, cocktail mixers, ice cream and sauces all contained the same ingredient: sugar.
A growing number of restaurants across the country are retooling recipes to replace ingredients containing high-fructose corn syrup with other sweeteners including honey, agave nectar, golden syrup and palm sugar.
Mr. Gordon’s restaurant, Jason’s Deli, a 228-unit chain of casual restaurants; Lukshon, a high-end Asian restaurant in Los Angeles, and Guanajuato, a Mexican restaurant in Glencoe, Ill., have spent months or even years sourcing alternatives or demanding that their suppliers reformulate products to replace high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, with sugar.
It’s happening at the same time that some packaged-food companies are bowing to consumer concerns about HFCS and replacing the sweetener with sugar. In the last two years, brands from Wheat Thins to Pepsi have introduced new recipes or products with sugar instead of HFCS.
For chefs and restaurateurs, ridding menus of HFCS is part of a larger effort to create a cuisine that appears more wholesome and hand-crafted. HFCS is anathema to this image. Many chefs are also convinced that HFCS is less healthy than sugar, though mainstream scientists say that HFCS and sugar have the same impact on health.
Last year, when Mr. Gordon decided to eject HFCS from the restaurant, his first target was Heinz ketchup. Though Heinz has “a taste like no other,” in the size Mr. Gordon’s restaurant purchases, it contains HFCS. (The brand recently rolled out a consumer-sized variety made with sugar.)
He opted for an organic ketchup that costs $2 more for each three-quarter of a gallon container. Yet Mr. Gordon didn’t like the taste. For “more bite and sweetness,” he added cider vinegar, brown sugar and other ingredients.
“It’s so hard. It’s in everything,” says Gavin Stephenson, executive chef at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, who says he was surprised to realize that even the oyster crackers the hotel bought contained HFCS. To avoid commercial products that contain HFCS, Mr. Stephenson has begun making some items, such as breakfast cereal, from scratch…