What is Crystalline Fructose?

The use of sweeteners in food and drinks has been a major health issue especially in recent years.  High fructose corn syrup is panned for its concentrated sugar content, while artificial sweeteners has worried some consumer as they might increase the risk of certain cancers.

Nowadays, some drinks from carbonated beverages, flavored waters, and even "health drinks," use crystalline fructose, which is just like high fructose corn syrup.  However, while high fructose corn syrup consists of 55% fructose and 45% glucose, its crystallized form is close to 100% pure fructose.  This makes it 20% sweeter than table sugar and even high fructose corn syrup.

However, contrary to popular belief, crystalline fructose has several benefits that make it more advantageous compared to high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners.  For one, food companies can use fewer amounts of crystalline fructose to achieve the same sweet taste, thus saving money and even carbohydrate contribution.

Crystalline fructose is also easily combined with other sweeteners and starches to improve cake height in baked goods.  It also provides better surface browning as well as gives off a pleasant aroma during baking.  This type of fructose also has a low glycemic index of 22, compared to 62 in high fructose corn syrup and 55 in honey.

Overall, consumers should not be afraid about the presence of crystalline fructose in their food and drinks.  However, before complaining about why such sweetener is included in this and that food product, ask yourself if it is worth consuming such products rather than going for the more natural juices such as lemon and orange, or having a bowl of oatmeal or any whole grain cereal.