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TO THE EDITOR: In the response of Goran et al. (1) we appreciate acknowledgement that there is no longer a dispute regarding the sugar composition of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and that there were errors caused by the limitations of the method used in the study. It is important to note that the levels of saccharides in HFCS are not misrepresented and conform to the Food Chemical Codex specifications for High Fructose Syrups.

We believe that there is a simple mathematical error at the root of this issue. Both Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) 977.20 and AOAC 979.23 correctly measure the individual sugars in percentage by volume of the sample. They do not necessarily measure the percentage of individual sugars as a percentage of total sugars in the sample. Exclusion of the undetected 5% of maltose and degree of polymerization (DP3+) sugars typically present in HFCS 55 results in an overestimation of the fructose content of the ingredient syrup when calculated on a percent of total sugar basis. Thus, in our studies of 55% HFCS, the average fructose content was 55.9% on a percent of total sugars basis. However, it increased to 58% or greater when maltose and DP3+ sugars were excluded.

We would point out that the 65:35 fructose to glucose ratio referred to in the response implies that no other sugars are present. In their response, Goran et al. already acknowledged this not to be the case for beverage samples using HFCS. For a beverage sweetened with 55 HFCS, the proper ratio of sugars would be 55.6 fructose: 40.1 glucose: 4.3 maltose and higher sugars based on the average of our 55 HFCS analysis using a method which accounts for the higher sugars that are present.

We would agree that further study using appropriate methods is warranted. The flaws created in this study by the exclusion of maltose and higher sugars make it difficult to draw conclusions in the current form and we believe that the application of rigorous methodology that includes all the saccharides present will resolve the current uncertainties.

DISCLOSURE

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  2. DISCLOSURE
  3. References

The authors declared no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. DISCLOSURE
  3. References
  • 1
    Goran M, Ventura E, Davis J. Response to the “Letter to the editor by Larry Hobbs.” Obesity, this issue.