According to research sited in the most recent NUTRITION ACTION HEALTHLETTER, 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugars are what the average American consumes daily. The majority of this sugar is in the form of high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar, both of which are about 50% fructose. That amount of sugar is equal to 350 to 440 calories that provide nothing nutritionally.
Studies indicate that excess calories in the form of sugary food and drinks tend to cause weight gain in the form of visceral fat. Visceral fat (fat which accumulates around the organs) is associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease than fat below the skin (subcutaneous fat). Accumulated fat in the liver appears to be the precursor to insulin resistance which is the first step towards diabetes.
Studies point to the fructose component of most added sugars as the culprit leading to liver, muscle, and visceral fat. With only a few exceptions, most sweeteners contain 50% fructose. This includes any form of sugar, honey, orange and grape juices. Apple juice contains even more fructose (66%). It is important for the public to realize that the sugars in juices are natural, but it is still sugar in the form of fructose.
Bottom line: Get out of the habit of drinking sweetened beverages, including juice. Eat fruit rather than drink juice. The fiber in the whole fruit changes the way the body absorbs fructose so that it is not as harmful.