News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Statement on University of Cincinnati Study on Mice Alleging Fructose-Sweetened Beverages Increase Body Fat
In response to “Consuming Fructose-sweetened Beverages Increases Body Adiposity in Mice,” a study published in the July issue of Obesity Research, Dr. Richard Adamson, vice president of scientific and technical affairs of The American Beverage Association, said:
“This study, which alleges that consumption of soft drinks and other beverages sweetened with fructose leads to increases in body adiposity, is seriously flawed. The findings are based on a small sample of nine mice that were administered each beverage, and the conclusion is only speculation.
One major flaw in the study is that the authors confuse high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with fructose. HFCS 42 or 55, the primary sweeteners used in the U.S., are not 100 percent fructose. They are either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose with the remaining percent mainly glucose. HFCS is very similar to the sucrose (table sugar) used in commercial beverages because sucrose in a soft drink, over time, inverts to 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The authors also fail to discuss the fact that glucose and fructose, whether from HFCS or sucrose, modulate the effects of each other on taste, insulin release and leptin levels.
It is important to note that although the authors extrapolate their findings to today’s soft drinks sweetened with HFCS, they did not administer any HFCS-sweetened soft drinks to the mice in the study. Instead, they tested a commercial soft drink sweetened with sucrose, a commercial diet soft drink, and a laboratory concoction sweetened with fructose. In their test, only the laboratory concoction sweetened with fructose increased body adiposity in mice. However, because HFCS is very similar to sucrose, it is likely that a test with a commercial soft drink sweetened with 42 or 55 percent HFCS would have given the same results as the commercial drink tested with sucrose. The authors also infer that the ‘dramatic rise in the prevalence of obesity in the United States and worldwide’ is due to increased fructose consumption, but they fail to discuss physical activity. Reduced energy expended as physical activity is known to be one of the major causes of obesity.
The authors also omit the fact that much of the world, apart from the U.S. and Canada, is also dealing with the complex problem of obesity, despite the fact that they use sucrose, not HFCS, as a sweetener.”
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.