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In a recent chemical analysis of eleven carbonated soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), researchers from Rutgers University found very high levels of reactive carbonyls.
Reactive carbonyls, which have been linked to tissue damage and complications of diabetes, are elevated in the blood of people with diabetes. A single can of soda, however, has five times that concentration of reactive carbonyls. Old-fashioned table sugar, on the other hand, has no reactive carbonyls because its fructose and glucose molecules are "bound" and therefore stable, unlike the "unbound" molecules of HFCS.
According to lead researcher Chi-Tang Ho, PhD, carbonation increases the amount of reactive carbonyls in sodas containing HFCS. Non-carbonated beverages containing HFCS had only one-third as many reactive carbonyls as carbonated beverages. Oddly, adding an ingredient found in tea called epigallocatechine gallate (EGCG) lowers the level of reactive carbonyls. When enough EGCG was added to carbonated drinks containing HFCS, reactive carbonyls were reduced by half.
In response to Dr. Ho, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, the American Beverage Association called it a stretch of the imagination to extrapolate his lab analysis to the occurrence of diabetes in humans.
Source: EurekAlert; American Beverage Association; American Chemical Society
Editors Note: With kids getting type 2 diabetes in record numbers, isn't it time to lobby the soda companies to remove HFCS from all drinks (and foods)?