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Bad news for the soft drink industry and especially children who consume sodas sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Beverages, especially sodas sweetened with HFCS are loaded with undesirable, highly unstable free radical generators known as reactive carbonyls. These dangerous substances have a toxic effect on our cells causing tissue damage. This is due to the unbound fructose and glucose found in HFCS. By contrast, the fructose and glucose in table sugar are bound and reactive carbonyls are not present; this sweetener is chemically stable.
HFCS has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers and it is added to most processed foods including breads, fruit juices, sodas, baked goods, and condiments. Manufacturers use it mostly because it is cheaper than table sugar, but also because it is sweeter and blends into beverages easier than table sugar. Research shows that HFCS does not contribute to satiety, and it increases a dangerous type of belly fat known as VAT fat that invades organs such as your liver; this fat releases inflammatory hormones and decreases insulin sensitivity and increases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Scientists have shown that reactive carbonyls trigger cellular damage that increases the risk of developing diabetes. In fact, reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of diabetics and they contribute to the disastrous organ damage and dangerous complications seen in diabetics. Indeed, diabetes takes a good 8 years off of your lifespan and decades off of your healthspan. A single can of soda sweetened with HFCS contains about 5 times the level of reactive carbonyls that is found in the blood of adult patients with diabetes.
The researchers go on to say that their studies show Green Teas strongest polyphenol known as EGCG mitigates these effects to a good extent. When the scientists from Rutgers University added EGCG to the sodas, it significantly lowered the level of reactive carbonyls and the more EGCG added the lower the level of the destructive carbonyls eventually cutting the level of reactive carbonyls in half; this is referred to as a dose-dependent manner where the more a good thing is added, the lower the level of a bad thing. Obviously you are just better off without HFCS. The study was presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society on August 23rd. Predictably the American Beverage Association refutes these findings.