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31-07-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Fructose consumption may increase heart disease risk


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MedWire News: Consuming large amounts of fructose significantly increases the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in young adults, study findings suggest.

Specifically, concentrations of triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and apolipoprotein (apo)B increased among individuals who consumed fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for 2 weeks at 25% of their daily calorie requirement, but not in those who consumed comparable amounts of glucose for the same time period.

"The current results provide evidence that [added] sugar consumption at this level [25%] increases risk factors for CVD within 2 weeks… thus providing direct experimental support for the epidemiological evidence linking sugar consumption with dyslipidemia and CVD," remark the researchers.

The American Heart Association Nutrition Committee recommends that men and women consume no more than 150 and 100 kcal of added sugar, respectively, per day. In contrast, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests a maximal daily added sugar intake of 25% or less of total energy. "This equates to differences between the two guidelines of 400 kcal per day for women consuming 2000 kcal per day and 525 kcal per day for men consuming 2500 kcal per day," comments the team.

To address this discrepancy, Kimber Stanhope (University of California, Davis, USA) and colleagues compared the effects of consuming glucose, fructose, or HFCS at 25% of recommended daily energy requirements for two weeks, on CVD risk factors.

The team included 48 men and women in their study, aged between 18 and 40 years. All participants were asked to follow their usual diets for 2 weeks, along with three servings per day of glucose, fructose, or HFCS-sweetened beverages (n=16/group). Individuals were instructed not to consume other sugar-containing drinks, including fruit juice, during the study period.

As reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the researchers found that, compared with baseline levels, individuals consuming fructose and HFCS-sweetened drinks had increased concentrations of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and apoB after 2 weeks. This was not the case in the glucose group, however.

Indeed, the 24-hour triglyceride area under the curve (AUC) increased by a significant 4.7 and 1.8 mmol/l (415.95 and 159.30 mg/dl) for the fructose and HFCS groups, respectively, whereas in the glucose group the AUC decreased by a nonsignificant 1.9 mmol/l (168.15 mg/dl).

Fasting LDL and apoB concentrations increased by a significant 0.29 (11.20 mg/dl) and 0.093 mmol/l in the fructose group, respectively, and 0.42 (16.22 mg/dl) and 0.12 mmol/l in the HFCS group. The corresponding levels increased by a nonsignificant 0.012 (0.46 mg/dl) and 0.0097 mmol/l in the glucose group.

The researchers conclude, therefore, that the maximal upper limit of 25% of total energy requirements from added sugar suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 "may need to be re-evaluated."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers