Forget bringing up politics or religion—if you want to get people worked up these days, just mention high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This pervasive liquid, widely used as a sweetener in processed foods since the '70s, has come under scrutiny in recent years as obesity and diabetes rates have been on the rise. Many think HFCS is a key factor. The ingredient has garnered such a bad reputation that some companies have started to switch up their recipes and tout HFCS-free offerings, like Hunt's ketchup and Gatorade. There's proposed legislation to ban it outright in a handful of states, including Florida and New York, and a Facebook group to ban HFCS has more than 139,000 fans.
But a growing contingent of scientists and nutrition experts say that there's virtually no difference between HFCS and what you have in your sugar bowl. We'll take a look at some of the lesser-known facts about the syrup in question and let you choose your side in the national debate.