SCIENCE! Sugar vs. High Fructose Corn Syrup

After checking out a recent episode of Skeptoid regarding the health risks (or lack thereof) of high fructose corn syrup, it occurred to me to question my own taste preferences. Can I actually taste the difference between sugar and high fructose corn syrup in cola? To answer my own question, I setup a blindfolded triangle test between Pepsi and Pepsi Throwback as well as Coke and “Mexican” Coke. The results might surprise you. Some of them surprised me.

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By | 2017-09-24T23:01:03+00:00 July 22nd, 2009|Stimuli|9 Comments


  1. PhantomV48 July 22, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I wonder, were the drink super straight out of the fridge cold? or even all the same temperature?
    Unless I’m fooling myself what you taste can change depending on what temperature the drinks are. I believe you taste more when the drinks are room temp, as opposed to ice-cold.
    Again, that might all be in my head.

  2. Widge July 22, 2009 at 3:43 am

    Phan: They were all pulled straight from the fridge and poured. And they had been in the fridge for at least 24 hours so they had achieved the same temperature, roughly.

  3. RoxofSpazhouse July 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

    There is also a difference in taste between, plastic containers, cans, and glass. So were all the drinks compared all from glass bottles or was it a mix and match?

  4. Wolven July 22, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Yeah, I’ve long noted that the only real difference i can Taste, between Cane Sugar Coke and regular Coke is that the regular has a SLIGHTLY more syrupy end note.

    In terms of feel? I can drink more Cane Sugar beverages before I start to feel “over-sugared” and generally gross.

  5. Cosette July 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    The Pepsi all came out of cans, but the U.S. Coke was in plastic, the Mexican Coke in glass.

  6. Steve July 22, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Also wondering if it was harder to tell with Coke since it’s not “as” sweet in the first place. The reason I always prefered Coke over Pepsi was Pepsi tastes like drinking pure sugar.

    Without sounding to precious about soda pop. Coke has more subtle notes that don’t just scream “LOOK SUGAR!!!!!” when I drink it. That extra bit of something might mask the HFCS taste a bit more.

    It’s an idea anyway.

  7. Dom July 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Somewhere back in the timeline, 17 year old me is crying tears of joy. Back when I was telling everyone only Coke from a glass bottle tasted “right”, plastic being the worst cans somewhere in the middle. Whenever I visited another country, I rated the taste of the Coke, the difference in Europe is mostly the water that is being used, they all (or most) use sugar to sweeten it.

    The best Coke I ever drank came from a vending machine in England. All the bottles were past their due date, I drank the machine empty and had to settle for Sprite during for the last few days. I barely slept that week. Good times.

  8. magnus July 28, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    we dump some HFCS into mexico so some mexican coke is make with HFCS from the USA so it a flip on what version you get if you compare to to canadana coke you get a true result

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