Diabetes MellitusDiet-NutritionHeart DiseaseObesity

Comparing fructose- and glucose-sweetened beverages

Overweight and obese subjects consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages, and researchers from the US and Japan compared the effects.

A new TV commercial in the US claims there’s no difference. Not so, according to these results. Here are the findings, and the potential significance of this research.

First, the details.

  • 32 overweight and obese adult men and women were observed for 10 weeks.
  • They drank beverages sweetened with glucose or fructose that accounted for 25% of their daily calorie intake.

And, the results.

  • Participants in both groups put on about the same amount of weight.
  • Fasting triglyceride blood levels increased 10% with glucose but not with fructose.
  • Changes recorded with fructose only
    • Increased belly fat
    • Production of fat by the liver
      • aka hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL)
    • Increased markers of altered lipid metabolism (eg, apoB, LDL [bad] cholesterol)
    • Increased concentrations of remnant-like particle–triglyceride and –cholesterol
      • Newly proposed risk factors for heart disease
    • Increased fasting blood sugar and insulin levels
    • Decreased insulin sensitivity

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Dietary fructose specifically increases DNL, promotes dyslipidemia, decreases insulin sensitivity, and increases visceral adiposity in overweight/obese adults.”

An accompanying editorial provides perspective. “While these symptoms are telltale signs of metabolic syndrome, which raises a person’s risk of heart attack, we still don’t know what the long term implications of fructose consumption on such a risk might be.”

4/23/09 20:30; JR updated 10/10/10 18:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.