Sugar content of popular sweetened beverages based on objective laboratory analysis: focus on fructose content

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):868-74. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.255. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


The consumption of fructose, largely in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has risen over the past several decades and is thought to contribute negatively to metabolic health. However, the fructose content of foods and beverages produced with HFCS is not disclosed and estimates of fructose content are based on the common assumption that the HFCS used contains 55% fructose. The objective of this study was to conduct an objective laboratory analysis of the sugar content and composition in popular sugar-sweetened beverages with a particular focus on fructose content. Twenty-three sugar-sweetened beverages along with four standard solutions were analyzed for sugar profiles using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in an independent, certified laboratory. Total sugar content was calculated as well as percent fructose in the beverages that use HFCS as the sole source of fructose. Results showed that the total sugar content of the beverages ranged from 85 to 128% of what was listed on the food label. The mean fructose content in the HFCS used was 59% (range 47-65%) and several major brands appear to be produced with HFCS that is 65% fructose. Finally, the sugar profile analyses detected forms of sugar that were inconsistent with what was listed on the food labels. This analysis revealed significant deviations in sugar amount and composition relative to disclosures from producers. In addition, the tendency for use of HFCS that is higher in fructose could be contributing to higher fructose consumption than would otherwise be assumed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Energy Intake
  • Fructose / analysis*
  • Glucose / analysis
  • Obesity
  • Sweetening Agents / analysis*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Fructose
  • Glucose