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Is There Glucose in Soda?

by John Brennan

Soft drinks are among the most popular beverages in America. In 2006, the New York Times reported that soda sales totaled more than 10 billion cases a year. Many sodas are sweetened with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup, both of which contain glucose.

Types

Historically, sucrose was added to most sodas and soft drinks, but it was supplanted by high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS) in the 1970s and 80s. HCFS is the most common sweetener in sodas and soft drinks today.

Identification

Sucrose is a disaccharide formed by a union of two simple sugars, glucose and fructose. Your digestive system splits the glucose and fructose, so when you consume sucrose you are in effect consuming glucose. HCFS, by contrast, is typically 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Effects

Sodas or soft drinks that are sweetened with sucrose, dextrose or HCFS contain glucose; diet sodas made with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, however, do not contain glucose.

Significance

Many researchers and public health officials have expressed concern that the popularity of sweetened beverages is contributing to the country's rising obesity levels. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 16 percent of the population is consuming as 25 percent or more of daily energy requirements in the form of sugared soft drinks.

Prevention/Solution

If you want to reduce your sugar intake, try choosing diet beverages or beverages flavored with artificial sweeteners rather than sugared drinks. However, as noted in a 2009 study in Diabetes Care, there is some evidence that these artificial sweeteners may still alter glucose metabolism by increasing the rate of glucose uptake in the intestine.

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About the Author

Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.