USC Study Says Juice And Soda Companies Are Lying About Fructose Levels
    By News Staff | June 4th 2014 09:48 AM | 12 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California say that though fructose is naturally found in numerous fruits and other products, it is not only harmful, the public is being lied to about it on labels.

    High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has long been a target for food activists. Though we live in a world where over 90% of added sugar is sucrose (table sugar), some believe HFCS in soda is causing American obesity. But it can only be American obesity, since much of the world does not use it in soda. 

    The HFCS disaccharide in common production contains 45 percent glucose (monosaccharide) and 55 percent fructose (an isomer of glucose - same chemical structure, different physical one) whereas white sugar is split about evenly, 50-50 between glucose and fructose. Corn syrup is 100 percent glucose. Some types of HFCS, such as in certain breads, are 58 percent glucose and only 42 percent fructose. The new analysis found a fructose to glucose ratio of 60:40, 10 percent higher than the claimed standard for HFCS and they believe that challenges the industry's claim that "sugar is sugar."

    "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., director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) and 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."

    Which is true, to a point. Pure fructose has been shown to cause metabolic upset at high concentrations, such as when it is the sole carbohydrate source, but such extreme carbohydrate diet studies were only useful for probing biochemical pathways, they had no relevance to the human diet or to current consumption. There has been no causal link between HFCS and obesity, though people in developed nations worldwide generally consume too much sugar. 

    The USC paper also claims product labels are lying about fructose content. Though the label says it is made with sucrose, their analysis of Pepsi Throwback found it contains more than 50 percent fructose. Sierra Mist, Gatorade and Mexican Coca-Cola also have higher concentrations of fructose than their labels. They can't prove it so they simply suggest these beverages might contain HFCS, which is not disclosed on their labels, but their message is clear.

    The first question that needs to be asked is, how old were these samples? The study just says they were chosen by popularity and purchased in East Los Angeles. After about 30 days, what will sucrose in soda revert to? Individual fructose and glucose. They had them analyzed for sugar composition in three different laboratories using three different methods, liquid chromatography, a metabolomics-type MET approach based on mass spectrometry with combined liquid and gas chromatography and gas chromatography. 

    But they found the results were consistent across the different methods and yielded an average sugar composition of 60 percent fructose and 40 percent glucose in beverages made with HFCS. Thus their claim that the added sugar is not even HFCS and that the labels are lying. 

    Mean sugar comparison of sodas across three independent methods. Panel A displays percent of total sugar shown to be free fructose in soda/sports drink products. The dashed line represents 55% fructose expected of HFCS-55. Panel B displays percent of total sugar shown to be free glucose in soda/sports drink products. The dashed line represents 42% glucose expected of HFCS-55. Bars represent methodology used to determine sugar profiles: LC=liquid chromatography, MET=metabolomics and GC=gas chromatography. Credit: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.04.003

    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. They believe HFCS specifically is the reason for that but estimates are that added sugars represent 16 percent of daily calories, so switching to sucrose would not help. Those 300-400 calories are still too much empty addition.

    "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.

    Critics will likely contend that since the funding source was the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation, a complementary medicine advocacy group founded by the controversial popularizer of the Atkins Diet, the results will need to be replicated with more control over the soda.

    But sodas may not be the biggest culprit anyway. Minute Maid and Juicy Juice 100% apple juices had Fructose:Glucose adjusted values of 67.1 and 67.3, respectively, the highest in the study, and and five other juices also had Fructose:Glucose adjusted values higher than 55. 

    Citation: Walker, R.W., Dumke, K.A., Goran, M. I. (2014). Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high fructose corn syrup. Nutrition . Published online June 3, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.04.003.
    Source: University of Southern California - Health Sciences


    This article rightly scrutinizes the findings of this study, and rightly points out: “there has been no causal link between HFCS and obesity.” This has been confirmed by the American Medical Association, in addition to other scientific research. We would also add that, despite its name, HFCS is not high in fructose. In fact, it’s so similar in structure to table sugar that our bodies process both the same. The prevailing takeaway here should be that sugars are sugars, and can be enjoyed in moderation as a part of a sensible diet.
    -American Beverage Association

    In my opinion:
    If its all the same, then why do people who are allergic to corn have reactions to HFCS.

    To anyone reading this, please do your own experiments--and give up the highly processed, chemically laden soft drinks--and see how much better you feel in a couple of months. Your health and the health of your children are at stake.

    The American Beverage Association will not be around when your health is threatened.

    Dr. Ricky at Science Based Cuisine took a closer look at the data and isn't a fan. They only examined 4 drinks with sucrose, for example, so the claim that they were not even sucrose because they had fructose - already in question because of the unknown manufacturing date - is hard to accept because of the small size. And the 60% fructose might not be that soda companies are trying to create a super-HFCS, it could just be statistical fluctuation.
    Seriously Hank,
    Do you really believe that sodas are a healthy drink? Whether they chose one--or a million--such drinks are chemically laden--highly "sugared" health killers.

    How many soft drinks do you consume in a day? Give them up and see how much better you feel in a couple of months. Just do your own experiments.

    I wonder, do you work for soda companies or the corn refiners?

    The great thing about comments like this is it typifies the rampant paranoia of anti-science people. I don't assume you are a paid shill for the same reason I do not assume you are a pickpocket; because only pickpockets assume everyone is out stealing wallets. So what does your immediate leap to 'that person must be bought off' say about you?

    Anyway, no, I don't even know the name of a corn refiner and soda companies do not advertise here, nor have I ever worked for one. It's silly that you have so little actual evidence that you have to revert to goofy name-calling to try and bolster your lack of an actual rational basis for your claims.

    I have zero problem with soda, just like I have no problem with vegetables and ice cream. I know what you do not; there is no miracle product for health and there is no magic bullet that can be banned. I don't do anything as a habit.

    Telling me, when you have zero qualifications to do so, that we would all 'feel' better if we adopt your lifestyle is a bizarre social authoritarianism I can't even imagine accepting. Yet if I ask you about politics, you would probably claim to be "liberal" and tolerant. You are a fundamentalist and intolerant of people who don't act like you. Coupled with a lack of any knowledge, that is dangerous.
    "But sodas may not be the biggest culprit anyway. Minute Maid and Juicy Juice 100% apple juices had Fructose:Glucose adjusted values of 67.1 and 67.3, respectively, the highest in the study, and and five other juices also had Fructose:Glucose adjusted values higher than 55. "

    Fruit juices are just as bad as these soft drinks, some even have more sugar in them and the worst type of sugar as well. This is why fruit juices are to be avoided. Fructose and other lab created sugar are hormone disruptive which lead to obesity. Fructose cause fatty liver disease in millions of children in America.

    Fructose and other lab created sugar are hormone disruptive which lead to obesity. Fructose cause fatty liver disease in millions of children in America.
    You realize fructose is in fruit, right? And honey is not actually bleached white table sugar, it is fructose?

    That second sentence you just made up. There is zero evidence for that - unless every study with gavage dosing and surfactants to inject impossible dietary levels of fructose into mice counts as science to you.
    Fructose in fruit and honey is not "manufactured" fructose like that of HFCS. Corn (including genetically altered frankencorn that is used to process HFCS for soft drinks) does not exist in nature--although Monsanto may create such beasts in the future. The safest bet is to not consume soft drinks. Such unhealthy chemically laden products offer no nutritional value to the human body.

    People must do their own science experiments--and give up soft drinks--and then see how much better they feel.

    How much of that artificial red drink (from the corn refiners' first commercials) do you drink and give to your children?

    Fructose in fruit and honey is not "manufactured" fructose like that of HFCS.
    You have already started from an unscientific assumption - you are basically claiming water I manufacture would be structurally different than water from a river. That is a naturalistic fallacy, though water I make myself would obviously be cleaner than water from a river.

    Fructose is fructose. There is zero chance - none, nil, nada - that your body can process fructose in honey differently than fructose in anything else.

    You know Frankenstein was not a GMO, right? He was a hybrid, which every anti-science environmental group says is perfectly okay. If Frankenstein had been a GMO, you would never know he was Frankenstein, and he wouldn't have gone all crazy, like hybrids and organic natural mutations do. Really, activists should stop putting Franken- in front of everything, it just shows they don't know what they are talking about.

    If you think self-experimentation and science by anecdote trumps controlled studies, okay, go for it in your own life. But you shouldn't go around preaching your religion to others.

    I am a health teacher, and I care about the health of my students.

    If caring about the health and well-being of others--especially children--is considered by you a religion--just like "sugar is sugar" is considered the religion of the corn refiners--then so be it.

    And if its a religion, then I'lurytactl pray for you--especially if you think that sodas are healthy.

    Have to go--have a client coming--and another one I have swayed over to my "health" religion. She doesn't drink soda anymore.

    Millions more to go! Hallelujah!

    This proves my point in my previous comment about why you assume everyone is a paid shill - you actually are the paid shill in this conversation and I am not. You are selling magic, I just talk about science. 

    Let me know when your lifestyle coaching survives double-blind clinical trials. Until then, just call it what it is - food religion.
    You are so right, John. Thank you for making that observation. Parents may be thinking that those manufactured "juices" are safe for their children. They are being duped by the sugar manufacturers--especially those sugars processed from genetically altered corn.