Clinical findings put the spotlight back on the quantity of sugars consumed, not the type
By Craig Weatherby
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made chemically, from corn.
Its low cost in the U.S., versus cane sugar, make it the top added sugar in many supermarket and takeout foods.
Foods that typically contain HFCS include breads, soda, dressings, sauces, frozen meals, desserts, pastries, canned foods, and condiments.
There are good reasons to prefer foods with added cane sugar instead of HFCS … see “Corn-Sweetened Sodas High in Pro-Aging Agent”.
And fructose has adverse effects on aspects of health … see “Does Fructose Fuel Cancer?”, and “Fructose May Promote Obesity & Inflammation”.
But cane sugar and HFCS are about equally abundant in fructose, with each sweetener being half glucose and half fructose (HFCS ranges from 45 to 55 percent fructose).
Importantly, the evidence to date shows that excess intake of either sweetener – cane sugar or HFCS – is equally likely to promote obesity, inflammation, and diabetes … see “Corn Syrup vs. Sugar in Weight Control” and “The Weight Gain Blame-Game”.
Since the beginning of 2012, a team from various Canadian universities and hospitals has been examining the effects of fructose on risk factors for diabetes.
Their findings make sense – given that fructose is metabolized differently from glucose – and undermine attempts to demonize this particular sugar.
Trials find fructose aids blood sugar control
A new review of the clinical evidence suggests that modest amounts of fructose may actually aid in blood sugar control.
“Over the last decade, there have been connections made between fructose intake and rates of obesity,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper, a senior author of the study. “However, this research suggests that the problem is likely one of overconsumption, not fructose.”
The study authors reviewed 18 trials with 209 participants who had Type 1 and 2 diabetes … and their analysis showed that modest fructose intake significantly improved patients’ blood sugar control.
Amazingly, the improvements in blood sugar control fell into the range seen with glitizars … the leading anti-diabetes drugs.
Even more promising, Sievenpiper said, is that small amounts of added fructose had no adverse effects on body weight, blood pressure, uric acid (gout) or cholesterol.
In all the trials they reviewed, participants were fed diets where fructose was incorporated or sprinkled on to test foods such as cereals or coffee.
Critically, the diets with fructose had the same amount of calories as the ones without. “Attention needs to go back where it belongs, which is on the concept of moderation,” said lead author Adrian Cozma.
“We’re seeing that there may be benefit if fructose wasn’t being consumed in such large amounts,” Cozma said. “All negative attention on fructose-related harm draws further away from the issue of eating too many calories.”
Although the results are encouraging, the authors warn that it’s important to be cautious because longer and larger studies are still needed.
Can Fructose Aid Blood-Sugar Control?