June 4, 2009
The (re)release of sugar-sweetened beverages is well underway with the recent introduction of Throwback brands of Pepsi-Cola products, including Pepsi and Mountain Dew. As reported by Agweek, the push is on to define products made with refined sugar ingredients as the new natural. Meanwhile, nutrition experts are slugging out the health implications of consuming high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) vs. sucrose sugar from beets or sugar cane.
Many soft-drink manufacturers switched from sugar to corn sugar to sweeten their beverages in the 1980s because of its cost, ease of use and comparable taste. Recent studiesones that critics point out as flawedindicate HFCS can contribute to increased obesity and diabetes. The nutritional community is at odds over the metabolic differences of sugar consumption after a widely publicized study that claimed HFCS increases insulin resistance. However, the composition of HFCS and sugar are similarthey both consist of nearly half fructose and half glucose, although sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide that has the two sugars linked together, while in high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose and glucose are present as monosaccharides. Whats more, the high pH of most soft drinks causes the sucrose molecule to split into its component monosaccharides during storage.
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