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Originally published January 30 2008

New Research Links High Fructose Corn Syrup to Diabetes in Children

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Consuming beverages containing high fructose corn syrup may increase the risk of developing diabetes, particularly among children, according to research presented at the 234th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers examined the chemical composition of 11 different beverages containing high fructose corn syrup. All of them were found to contain "astonishingly high" levels of reactive carbonyls, according to lead researcher Chi-Tang Ho.

Reactive carbonyls, associated with the "unbound" fructose and glucose molecules found in high fructose corn syrup, are a type of free radical that has been associated with diabetes. Levels of reactive carbonyls are unusually high in the blood of those with the disease, and are also linked with the occurrence of complications. Reactive carbonyls are also believed to cause tissue damage that may contribute to the development of the disease, especially in children.

In contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar or other sweeteners composed mostly of "bound," chemically stable sugars.

High fructose corn syrup is the most popular sweetener in many pre-packaged products because it has a sweetness similar to table sugar but is cheaper to produce, easier to transport, blends into other foods more easily and gives products a longer shelf life.

"People consume too much high-fructose corn syrup in this country," Ho said. "It's in way too many food and drink products, and there's growing evidence that it's bad for you."

The highest levels of reactive carbonyls were found in carbonated beverages, while the lowest were found in high fructose corn syrup-sweetened tea drinks.

The American Beverage Association disputed the link between high fructose corn syrup and diabetes, pointing out that reactive carbonyls are also found in orange juice and coffee. The association did not say how levels in those beverages compare to the levels found in the study. But industry critics are quick to point out the conflict of interest. "The American Beverage Association saying that high fructose corn syrup has no impact on diabetes is like Big Tobacco saying nicotine is not addictive," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, author of The Five Soft Drink Monsters, a book that teaches people how to kick the soft drink habit. "The enormous amount of evidence now linking high fructose corn syrup consumption with both diabetes and obesity is simply irrefutable."

The study was funded by the Center for Advanced Food Technology of Rutgers University.

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