News Release

Isoglucose and sucrose

Isoglucose and sucrose (household sugar) can be assessed similarly in terms of the potential to damage health

Peer-Reviewed Publication

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Isoglucose, also known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is used in the food industry as a substance to sweeten processed foods such as soft drinks, creams, cakes, confectionery, yogurts etc. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has been asked by various parties whether these sweeteners, which contain a high proportion of the free monosaccharide (simple sugar) fructose, pose a particular risk to health as compared to other sweeteners such as sucrose (household sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar).

Isoglucose contains variable amounts of the simple sugars glucose and fructose in unconnected forms. This means that the two sugars are present as monosaccharides. In comparison, sucrose also contains glucose and fructose, but in this case the sugars are present in a connected form in a ratio of exactly one-to-one as a disaccharide. In the variants of isoglucose that are frequently used at the present time, the two monomers glucose and fructose are present in roughly comparable amounts; with respect to the fructose level, the difference as compared to sucrose is relatively low. In this case, it can be expected that there are no differences or no significant differences between isoglucose and sucrose from a nutritional perspective and that their health assessments are thus also similar. However, the prerequisite for this is that the intake level of added sugars does not increase significantly overall. If isoglucose variants with a significantly higher proportion of fructose are to be added to processed foods, it must be pointed out that the consumption of high amounts of fructose can have adverse effects on the metabolism. In concrete terms, it can contribute to metabolic syndrome as well as lipometabolic disorders, fatty liver, obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2. In addition, there are known intolerances to fructose.

It is considered scientifically proven that regular excessive consumption of sugar added to foods (including added fructose) is detrimental to health and should be reduced. Consumers should ensure that their daily intake of added sugar does not exceed 10 % of their total daily intake of energy from food, including beverages. The consumption of added sugar should be even lower if possible. Therefore, an adult with energy requirements of approximately 2000 kilocalories should not consume more than 6 - 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day from all food, including beverages.


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