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Is Fructose Making you Fat?

A new study from researchers at the University of Texas has shown that fructose consumption may increase the production of fat in the body. This adds to the growing body of evidence that fructose may play a significant role in obesity.

Fructose is a simple sugar like glucose and sucrose. It is often used to sweeten food and drink products. One of the most popular forms of glucose is high fructose corn syrup, used regularly in soda and soft drinks.

In the Texas study, researchers recruited six healthy people (four men, two women) with an average age of 28. On three separate days, study participants were given a soft drink to consume in the morning.

On one day, the soft drink provided was sweetened with 100% glucose. Another day the drink was sweetened with 50% glucose and 50% fructose. The drink on the third day contained 25% glucose and 75% fructose.

The study was controlled and performed blind – so none of the participants new which soft drink they were consuming. They consumed the drink and four hours later ate a standardized lunch. Then they were tested for glucose and insulin levels and fat production.

Researchers found that immediately following the drinks, fat production increased from 7.8% in the 100% glucose group to 15.9% in the 50/50 group and 16.9% in the 25/75 group. In fact, fat production was about twice as fast in the fructose groups as in the glucose only group.

After lunch researchers observed that blood tryiglyceride levels were significantly higher in the groups that received soft drinks with fructose.

This study is one of many that indicate fructose may impact fat production and could be a significant contributor to obesity. Previous studies have shown that fructose intake causes spikes in blood sugar and can block insulin from regulating how the body uses and stores sugar.

Source: Journal of Nutrition
June 2008, Volume 138, Pages 1039-1046
"Dietary Sugars Stimulate Fatty Acid Synthesis in Adults"
Authors: E.J. Parks, L.E. Skokan, M.T. Timlin, C.S. Dingfelder
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