Corn Syrup Solids

This ingredient tends to create confusion--is it corn syrup, or a solid? What, exactly, does it mean in terms of how this ingredient will affect your body? Let’s find out.

What Is It?

Corn syrup solids [1] is a convoluted way to say glucose. After all, your body treats it the same way as glucose and when you look at how it’s made you’ll get the idea. You start with liquid corn starch.

Then you add the enzymes amylase and glucoamylase which are used to convert the starches in your mix into pure glucose. This is the corn syrup we’re familiar with. From here it can go in two directions in terms of processing: if you add fructose to this syrup you end up with high fructose corn syrup.

If you dehydrate the syrup until it becomes less than 10 percent liquid, you’ve got corn syrup solids. Starting to sound a whole lot like sugar, huh? You’re not wrong; in order for the end product of this process to be labelled as corn syrup solids, it must be tested to contain at least 88 percent glucose by weight.

What Is Its Biological Role?

While the name refers to the more wholesome origins of this ingredient, corn syrup solids is for all intents and purposes, glucose [2]. Glucose is a monosaccharide, or simple sugar, meaning your body can digest it very easily.

It is not bonded to any other type of sugar, so soon as it make its way into your stomach after eating, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and be put to work. The speed with which it is absorbed also means that consuming glucose causes a significant spike in blood sugar levels, which can be a problem for diabetics.

Once the glucose make it into the bloodstream, it needs to cross through our cell’s membranes in order to be converted into ATP, our body’s essential form of energy. This need causes the release of insulin into our blood.

Think of insulin like a taxi driver; its entire purpose is to escort the glucose molecules through the cell barrier. The completion of this process will, in turn, lower blood glucose levels, depleting the body of energy. The exception here is if you consume more glucose than your body can readily use to produce ATP.

In this case, the extra gets converted into glycogen, a form of energy meant for long-term storage. Glycogen is stored in the body’s adipose tissues, or fat cells.

How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

Consume a product made with corn syrup solids after or during an endurance-based workout would give the body a very quickly accessible boost in energy.

However, corn syrup solids are found in foods that would otherwise not be considered healthy, and so regular use or over usage may not be a good source of glucose for athletes who are trying to slim down or maintain their target weight.

What Foods Contain It?

Corn syrup solids were created as a food additive to be used as a sweetener in processed foods where liquid sweeteners or crystalline sucrose (table sugar) would be impractical.

Corn syrup solids have been hydrolyzed, meaning they will dissolve quickly and easily into water. As such, they are popular ingredients in products like powdered drink mixes, baby formula, baking mixes, and coffee creamers.

How Much Of It Do You Need?

While your body does need glucose in order to function properly, corn syrup solids are by no means the only source. The best advice would be to consume it in moderation [3] and focus on meeting your nutritional needs with a wholesome, varied diet consisting largely of whole foods.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

Due to the speed with which glucose is absorbed by the body, consuming very large amounts of corn syrup solids at one time can cause significant spike in blood sugar.

If your blood sugar levels become high enough you can suffer from excessive thirst, tiredness, and blurred vision. Left untreated this can be fatal. Repeating this pattern over time can put you at risk for type II diabetes as you stress your pancreas, and puts you at greater risk for obesity as well.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Corn syrup solids are not considered a necessary part of a healthy diet. If you were to avoid consuming this ingredient, you would not experience any negative effects.

This ingredient is another clever way to use corn. Unfortunately, due to the way it is processed, it contains little to none of the nutritional value that corn offers. As always, the decision to include or exclude this ingredient when it comes to your diet is dependent upon your fitness goals and lifestyle.


[1] Reference. What Are Corn Syrup Solids?, 2017.

[2] Ann, Melodie. How Is Glucose Absorbed By The Body?, 2015.

[3] Cox,Lauren. Why Is Too Much Sugar Bad For You?, 2012.