Soft Drinks Contain More Fructose Than Labels Disclose, Study


Soda drinkers might be consuming harmful sugar fructose in larger quantities than previously thought, according to a new study by the Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC).

For the study, the researchers examined the chemical composition of 34 popular beverages. They found that hugely popular soft drink beverages and juices sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew and Sprite hold 50 percent more fructose than glucose.

"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," Michael Goran, Ph.D., director of the CORC and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

"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."

The Corn Refiners Association has long claimed that HFCS is only slightly different from natural sugar (sucrose).

However, beverage analysis showed that the fructose to glucose ratio is actually 60:40, slightly higher than the equal proportions found in sucrose.

The analysis also found that beverage manufacturers including Pepsi Throwback, Sierra Mist, Gatorade and Mexican Coca-Cola do not disclose the exact fructose content on the labels.

For example: The label on Pepsi Throwback says that the beverage is made with real sugar (sucrose) when the analysis discovered more than 50 percent fructose content in the drinks.

The soda consumption has doubled in the last three decades in the United States. The growing incidence of diabetes and the obesity epidemic can be partly blamed on 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.

The finding is published in the journal Nutrition.

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