More HFCS than you knew in beverages

HFCSinBeveragesSoda consumers may be getting a much higher dose of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) than they have been led to believe, according to a new study by the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

In the study, published in the journal Nutrition, researchers analyzed the chemical composition of 34 popular beverages and juices made with HFCS, such as Coa-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew and Sprite. All of them contain 50 percent more fructose than glucose, a blend that calls into question claims that sugar and HFCS are essentially the same. (Many of us have known for years that this claim is a lie, as HFCS is a chemicalized corn derivative that is difficult for the body to digest.)

Many soda consumers have switched to Mexican sodas, which are still sweetened with pure cane sugar (but that claim may now be in question). They are more expensive and certainly not the best health food, but most of us enjoy a soft drink now and then.

“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 Michael Goran, Ph.D, lead author of the study. “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.”

Goran’s team found that the label on Pepsi’s Throwback is made with real sugar (sucrose), but the team’s analysis demonstrated that it contains more than 50 percent fructose, as does Gatorade and many others. And, sadly, researchers also found a small amount of HFCS in Mexican soda.

Since Americans consume more HFCS per capita than any nation in the world (about 45 gallons annually), Goran said. “It is important for us to have a more accurate understanding of what we are drinking–including specific label information.”

It’s amazing how Big Food and the Standard American Diet are able to slip in more HFCS and other substances than you ever knew.



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