Intentional and Unlabeled Increase in Fructose

There has been an intentional, unlabeled increase in manufacturing fructose, which is having an impact on weight and leading to the obesity epidemic. Soda drinkers in particular are consuming more fructose than people realize.

Manufactured high-fructose corn syrup contains a ratio of 55:45 fructose to glucose. High-fructose corn syrup was invented in the early 1970s and began to replace regular sugar in prepared foods around 1975. The onset of the obesity epidemic coincides with the use of HFCS. Current sweetened beverages made with HFCS have a fructose-to-glucose ratio of approximately 60:40, containing 50% more fructose than glucose. According to the National Institute of Health, “Several major brands appear to be produced with HFCS that is 65% fructose. Finally, the sugar profile analyses detected forms of sugar that were inconsistent with what was listed on the food labels.”

The intentional and unlabeled increase in fructose seems strange. Sugar content varied widely from amounts stated on labels; on average, the drinks had 18% more fructose than expected. HFCS is supposed to be 55% fructose, as compared to the 50% in table sugar.

Most foods and drinks are supposed to be using HFCS that is 42% fructose, but many sodas and drinks were using HFCS with a far higher content. Beverages that contained 65% fructose were Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite. Beverages that contained 60% fructose were Dr. Pepper, Gatorade, and Arizona Iced Tea.

Americans drink about 50 gallons of soda every year (containing 34 pounds of sugar), and soda drinkers are consuming far more fructose than anyone realized. Fructose specifically activates the reward center. Could it be the sugar-sweetened beverage companies know that the reward system is activated by fructose, creating more compulsion to purchase? The incidental side effect is excessive fat accumulation in the liver, and our epidemic of NAFLD, metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Could the priming of the opioid epidemic also be associated?

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