On nutrition labels, sugar is just sugar. But when it comes to how the body metabolizes that sugar, there are two very different molecules that make up what we think of as table sugar. There’s glucose, the more easily metabolized of the two that provides most of the body’s energy, and fructose, which can only be processed in the liver and is associated with Type 2 diabetes and obesity. But that’s not to say you should swear off sugar entirely. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is fine — it’s the large amount that’s problematic. And according to a new study published in the journal Nutrition, we may be consuming more fructose than we bargained for when we drink sweetened beverages.
“The human body isn’t designed to process this form of sugar at such high levels,” the study’s main researcher Michael Goran, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, said in a statement. “Unlike glucose, which serves as fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat, which increases risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.”
Take a look below for the not-so-sweet truth about your favorite soft drinks.