When critics of "sugar" talk about its high or increased consumption, they are inaccurately and misleadingly lump natural sugar (from sugar cane and sugar beets) together with man-made sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup and all the other caloric sweeteners manufactured from starch.
But sugar isn't high-fructose corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup certainly isn’t sugar.
Sugar is a natural substance found in plants. Sugar, following its extraction principally from sugar beets and sugar cane, is the food ingredient consumers have trusted for eons. Whether still in a plant or in our sugar bowl, it is categorically the same. Sugar is a crystal made up of equal parts glucose and fructose bound together at the molecular level. Mother Nature has made it this way for thousands of years.
HFCS describes man-made variations of "free" fructose, glucose and other substances, with some formulations made up of as much as 90 percent fructose. It’s been this way since scientists in the late 20th century invented a way of transforming corn starch at the molecular level to synthesize a cheap, alternative sweetener.
These molecular differences between sugar and HFCS are biologically meaningful.