Soda Has Even More Sugar Than You Think

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 04:42 PM

By Nick Tate

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Attention, soda drinkers. A new study has found many sweetened drinks may contain much more harmful sugar fructose than the labels reveal.
 
The study — conducted by the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California — found that 34 popular beverages tested contained 50 percent more high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) than glucose, a blend that calls into question claims that sugar and HFCS are essentially the same.
 
The drinks tested in the study, published online in the journal Nutrition, included Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew, and Sprite.
 
"We found what ends up being consumed in these beverages is neither natural sugar nor HFCS, but instead a fructose-intense concoction that could increase one's risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease," said lead researcher Michael Goran, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center. "The human body isn't designed to process this form of sugar at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat."

ALERT: Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. New Strategies Show How.
 
The Corn Refiners Association, a trade group representing HFCS producers, has argued that fructose is only negligibly different than natural sugar (sucrose), which is made up of equal parts of fructose and glucose. Goran's analysis of beverages made with HFCS, however, showed a fructose to glucose ratio of 60:40 — considerably higher than the equal proportions found in sucrose and challenging the industry's claim that "sugar is sugar."
 
The research also shows that the ingredients on some product labels underestimate their fructose content. For example, Goran's team found that the label on Pepsi Throwback indicates it is made with real sugar (sucrose) yet the analysis demonstrated that it contains more than 50 percent fructose. Sierra Mist, Gatorade, and Mexican Coca-Cola also have higher concentrations of fructose than implied by their label. This suggests that these beverages might contain HFCS, which is not disclosed on their labels.
 
The researchers purchased the beverages and had them analyzed for sugar composition in three different laboratories using three different methods.
 
Americans consume more HFCS per capita than any other nation and consumption has doubled over the last three decades. Diabetes rates have tripled in the same period, with many experts linking that increase to sodas, sports drinks, and energy drinks.
 
"Given that Americans drink 45 gallons of soda a year, it's important for us to have a more accurate understanding of what we're actually drinking, including specific label information on the types of sugars," said Goran.
 
ALERT: Reverse Type 2 Diabetes. New Strategies Show How.

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