Research conducted by the Childhood Obesity Research Centre at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, has found that fizzy drinks contain more fructose than people realise.
Coca Cola, Dr Pepper, Sprite and Mountain Dew contain almost 50% more fructose than glucose, and U.S researchers warn that the human body is not designed to cope with this combination of sugars.
Whilst glucose is converted into energy, fructose is digested by the liver, which turns the sugar into fat.
As a result, scientists are concerned that regular consumption of such drinks could lead to the development of serious illnesses, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.
The study – which was published in the online journal, Nutrition – involved the analysis of fructose to glucose ratio in 34 popular brands of sugary drinks.
Scientists found that beverages and juices made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) all contain a significantly higher ratio of fructose than glucose – an average ratio of 60:40.
In light of this new research, there are calls for improved labelling to warn customers of the varying sugars found in their drinks.
It has also raised concern that too many of us consider all sugars to be the same type of sugar – meaning we are unaware of potentially serious health consequences linked to consuming a combination of sugars.
Dr Michael Goran, who led the study, said: “We found what ends up being consumed in these beverages is neither natural sugar nor HFCS, but instead a fructose-intense concoction that could increase one’s risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.
“The human body isn’t designed to process this form of sugar at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat.”