There is no metabolic benefit in replacing fructose with glucose in commercially prepared foods, according to a new research review led by Dr John Sievenpiper. The findings, published in Current Opinion in Lipidology, show that when portion sizes and calories are the same, fructose does not cause any more harm than glucose.
Fructose is the sugar most commonly blamed for obesity. Using data from previous research trials, Sievenpiper and his team compared the effects of fructose and glucose against several health risk factors, finding that consuming fructose may increase total cholesterol and postprandial triglycerides, but that fructose did not appear to affect insulin production, other fat levels in the bloodstream or markers of fatty liver disease any more than glucose did. In fact, fructose showed potential benefits over glucose in some key risk factor categories. The review pooled data from 20 controlled feeding trials involving 344 participants, all of which investigated the effect of fructose in or on cardiometabolic endpoints. Both sucrose (table sugar) and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) contain roughly equal amounts of both fructose and glucose. Fructose along with glucose is also found in honey, fruits and some vegetables.
Sievenpiper commented that overconsumption, rather than a particular type of sugar, was likely to be one of the leading causes of obesity. He summarises by saying: “Overall, it’s not about swapping fructose with glucose. Overeating, portion size and calories are what we should be refocusing on – they’re our biggest problems.”