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Effects of Fructose and Glucose Metabolism on Atherosclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and Obesity

New evidence suggests particular sugar combination may be harmful for the body…

One of the main source of energy is sugar. A high intake of sugar is causing a rise in diet-induced health problems such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The main components of sugar are fructose and glucose. These two sugars can be present either alone or in combination (a 50:50 mixture) in foods. It is important to understand the effects of fructose in combination with glucose and alone. Previous studies have suggested that fructose is beneficial in glycemic control. However, other studies claim fructose can be more harmful than other sugars. The significant impact on health remains controversial.

The purpose of this study is to define the body’s fructose management and to deliberate the role of fructose as a risk factor for atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The design of the study was acquired from a nonsystematic search of the databases PubMed and Web of Science. The search included various combinations of keywords that related to the purpose of the present study. All the papers that were included in this study contained relevant results that presented and discussed statistically significant data.

One paper showed that consumption of 50 grams of fructose led to malabsorption in over 50% of the study population. The information may be inaccurate due to variation in the absorption capacity for fructose. The participants consumed fructose and glucose, which made it problematic to evaluate the effects. Another paper showed that large consumption of fructose and glucose can increase de novo lipogenesis, which alters blood lipid profile. This led to metabolic changes in the liver.

To conclude, the present study did indicate that the normal intake of fructose is not associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. However, in combination with glucose, it has a negative health effects with de novo lipogenesis. This could lead to further complications such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity in the future.

Practice Pearls:

  • The average daily consumption of fructose should be 50-60 grams per day.
  • Negative health outcomes such as atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity could potentially be associated with increased intake of fructose and glucose.
  • The combination of fructose and glucose is associated with increased negative health outcome due to increase de novo lipogenesis.

Kolderup A, Svihus B. Fructose Metabolism and Relation to Atherosclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and Obesity. J Nutr Metab. 2015;2015:823081.