Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | February 17, 2009

Environmental lawyer Sanders says new study links fructose sweeten drinks to increased triglycerides in obese people.

Drinking fructose-sweetened beverages with meals may cause bigger rises in blood levels of triglycerides in obese people after the meal according to a newly published study.  Researchers from the Monell Center in Philadelphia report that obese people who drank a fructose-sweetened beverage with a meal had triglyceride levels almost 200 percent higher than obese people who drank a glucose-sweetened beverage with a meal.


The Monell study, published online by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, involved 17 obese men and women. The volunteers consumed two meals on different occasions. On both occasions they consumed a meal and a sweetened beverage. While the meals were the same on both occasions, the beverages were different, with one beverage sweetened by glucose, and the second by fructose.


The researchers found that, while the triglyceride levels did increase in all of the subjects, consumption of the fructose-sweetened beverages resulted in a total amount of triglycerides almost 200 per cent higher over a 24-hour period than consumption of the glucose-sweetened beverages.  The researchers also report that the effect was especially pronounced in insulin-resistant subjects, who already had increased triglyceride levels.


The researchers noted that future work would seek to determine the quantities of fructose necessary to cause the triglyceride increase when it is combined with glucose in beverages, potentially making a truly relevant link between experimental and commercially-available HFCS-sweetened beverages. Additional studies will also explore the metabolic and health effects of long-term fructose intake, said the researchers.


Triglycerides are manufactured by the body from dietary fat and function as fat transporters. While normal levels of triglycerides are essential for good health, increased levels have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  

While the research may, on first glance, is more bad news for soft drinks sweetened by high fructose corn syrup (“HFCS”), the researchers note that they used pure fructose, and this sugar is typically is not used alone as a sweetener. Fructose, also referred to as fruit sugar is a simple monosaccharide.  HFCS in soft drinks and other sweetened beverages is often linked in medical studies to obesity.  Some scientists also claim that the human body processes HFCS differently than other sugars due to the fructose content, leading to greater fat storage. That essentially means, if you drink too many drinks with HFCS you will become FAT, which isn’t exactly rocket science or a deep stretch of the old noggin.


Despite growing public perception and scientific evidence, industry associations like the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) repeatedly claim there is no scientific evidence to suggest that HFCS is uniquely responsible for people becoming obese.  Indeed, the CRA has stated in the past that HFCS is not just fructose.  Indeed, HFCS consists of 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose.  

CRA’s denials do not make HFCS necessarily good for you or lessen the growing scientific and medial concerns over human health problems associated with use of this product in our food supply.   Perhaps a better solution is for Congress to tax HFCS-containing products based on the amount of HFCS in each serving to help cover national health care costs related to obesity in America. 


Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Rapid Electronic Publication, available online 10 February 2009, doi:doi:10.1210/jc.2008-2192
“Endocrine and metabolic effects of consuming fructose- and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals in obese men and women: influence of insulin resistance on plasma triglyceride responses”
Authors: K.L. Teff, J. Grudziak, R.R. Townsend, T.N. Dunn, R.W. Grant, S.H. Adams, N.L. Keim, B.P. Cummings, K.L. Stanhope, P.J. Havel


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