(NaturalHealth365) Concerned about the ubiquitous presence of high fructose corn syrup in sodas? With each American drinking an average of 45 gallons of soda per year, we are the world’s leading consumers of this fattening sweetener. Now, it turns out we aren’t getting the full story — according to new research released by the Childhood Obesity Research Center, sodas contain even more fructose sugar than advertised.
In a study conducted at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and published in the June 2014 edition of Nutrition, researchers conducted an analysis of 34 commercial beverages, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist and Sprite. And what they found surprised them: the fructose content in the drinks was 50 percent higher than the glucose content.
So what’s the significance of this finding?
The analysis is revealing because it challenges the claim made by the Corn Refiners Association — which represents producers of high fructose corn syrup products — that sugar and HFCS are essentially the same substance.
The team used three different laboratories, and three different methods to arrive at their findings. All yielded consistent results across the board: the average sugar composition in popular beverages made with high fructose corn syrup is 60 percent fructose and 40 percent glucose.
The danger of too much fructose in soda
With all the different types of sugars, it sometimes seems you need a scorecard to keep the players straight. Natural sugar, also known as sucrose, is made up of half fructose and half glucose. Fructose and glucose are broken down differently in the body — in contrast to glucose, which provides fuel for the body, fructose is processed in the liver, where it is converted to fat.
Lead researcher and study author Michael Goran said that the “fructose-intense concoction” used to sweeten sodas is far from “natural sugar,” and increases the risk of diabetes, liver disease and heart disease.
Researchers discover deceptive labels on popular beverages
Pepsi Throwback – the beverage’s name seems designed to hearken back to more authentic, wholesome times – makes the claim that it is made with “real sugar.” Yet the label shows it contains more than 50 percent fructose.
Sierra Mist and Gatorade also have more fructose than indicated on their labels.
To the researchers, this raises the strong possibility that the beverages are really made with HFCS, whether listed on the label or not. The team called for specific label information that would detail the types of sugars used.
Not all researchers agree as to fructose dangers
Although many experts feel that high fructose corn syrup is a significant health threat, not all researchers agree that the substance should be demonized. In a study conducted by researchers in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital and published in February 2014 in Current Opinion in Lipidology, researchers found that — when all things were equal, in calorie-matched conditions – fructose was no more likely than glucose to contribute to obesity.
Lead researcher, Dr. John Sievenpiper, advised against merely swapping fructose for glucose, and noted that avoiding overeating by controlling portion size and calories is of much more significance when it comes to preventing obesity. Of course, there’s no mention that HFCS is derived from genetically engineered corn – which also contributes to all kinds of digestive health problems.
The consumption of HFCS has doubled over the last three decades – and, in this 30-year span, we have also seen a tripling of the incidence of diabetes. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control reports that one in three adult Americans is currently obese, with nearly one in five children obese as well – a condition which many experts say is directly linked to consumption of sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Enough is enough – mislabeling labeling of HFCS products does no favors to a population already struggling with diabetes, heart disease and body weight issues. It’s time for producers of soft drinks to list the true contents clearly and honestly.
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