Wow, this is very bad news considering my complete and utter addiction to Coke. But Dr. Chi-Tang Ho, professor of food science at Rutgers University has uncovered evidence that our addiction to canned drinks is directly linked to diabetes because of the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.
In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable, the researcher notes.
So, I went shopping after I read this article with a renewed interest in avoiding products with high fructose corn syrup in them, and I could not believe how many of my every day items are on the list…
- Granola bars
- Salad dressing
- Pasta sauce
- Baked beans
- Candy bars
- Pop tarts
- Ice cream
- And the list goes on…
But I digress…
In addition to linking this sugar substitute to diabetes, Ho found that there are some ways to remove some of the harmful effects:
Ho and his associates also found that adding tea components to drinks containing HFCS may help lower the levels of reactive carbonyls. The scientists found that adding epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound in tea, significantly reduced the levels of reactive carbonyl species in a dose-dependent manner when added to the carbonated soft drinks studied. In some cases, the levels of reactive carbonyls were reduced by half, the researchers say.
“People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country,” says Ho. “It’s in way too many food and drink products and there’s growing evidence that it’s bad for you.” The tea-derived supplement provides a promising way to counter its potentially toxic effects, especially in children who consume a lot of carbonated beverages, he says.
In the future, food and drink manufacturers could reduce concerns about HFCS by adding more EGCG, using less HFCS, or replacing the syrup with alternatives such as regular table sugar, Ho and his associates say.
You can read the rest of the article here. But as for me I’ve been making a serious effort to curb my consumption of HFCS filled drinks and other products, so this only goes to reinforce that decision.
By the way, if you live in one of the southern states that has access to the Mexican bottled Coke, they use real sugar in it instead of fructose. So you may still get fat, but at least it would be a little less harmful. Also, I found that all of the products in my grocery store that were labeled as “organic” were HFCS free, so buy those when you can.