In regards to my review of Jones Soda Cream Soda (Pure Cane Soda Version), I received an e-mail from reader “Ali” in regards to my “inquiring minds want to know” plea for clarification on the whole “inverted cane sugar” situation with Jones Soda.
With her permission (and degree in biology with a minor in chemistry), I’d like to share this explanation:
Your post compared HFCS with pure cane sugar, but I think there was still confusion about the differences. HFCS is produced from pure corn syrup by an enzymatic process which converts some of the glucose molecules that corn plants produce (their form of sugar) into fructose molecules (a different form of sugar).
Most HFCS’s are actually a mixture of pure corn syrup (100% glucose) and HFCS, and the percentages of each vary depending on the desired use of the mixture. Sugar cane plants produce a different kind of sugar than corn does, namely sucrose. The difference is that glucose is a single 6-carbon ring, while sucrose is actually made up of two rings, one 6-carbon ring and one 5-carbon ring.
Your explanation of “inverted cane sugar” is on the money, and so your question about whether inverted cane sugar is better than HFCS is a valid one. The truth is, both fructose (the 5-carbon sugar) and glucose (the 6-carbon sugar) are cyclic hydrocarbons, and as a result, your body breaks them down in similar processes.
However, the sugar molecules that the human body manufactures for energy by its own processes (from things like the carbs we eat) are always glucose. Therefore, in humans, the metabolic path that breaks down glucose is more efficient than the one that breaks down fructose. Also, if I had to venture a guess, the Jones Soda people may have a few environmentally friendly types in their organization who understand that our addiction to all things corn is not healthy for our bodies, our economy, or our environment
Thanks again for the additional explanation, “Ali”!