All sugars are not created equal when it comes to how our bodies metabolize the sweet stuff, according to a new study from the University of California at Davis.
In this the 10-week study, 17 overweight, middle-aged adults consumed a quarter of their calories from fructose-sweetened beverages (soft drinks) while another 15 subjects drank the same amount in glucose-sweetened beverages.
Both groups put on the same amount of weight.
People drinking the equivalent of about six cans of soft drinks a day in fructose became resistant to insulin and began showing signs of high blood cholesterol and high blood fats (triglycerides).
The findings suggest that fructose-sweetened beverages can interfere with how the body handles fat, leading to increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Fructose not worse than glucose if taken in moderation, says nutrition researcher Dr. David Jenkins, who was not involved in this study.
This study shows that in people who are already overweight and on a gaining trend, fructose drank in excess has a greater negative impact on heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk than glucose consumed in excess.
The long-term effects of fructose remain unclear, but it's clear that constant overconsumption of dietary sugars in any form can be harmful to health.
Nutrition experts say there's no need to ban the occasional high-fructose soft drink but sugary drinks in general should be consumed in moderation with water, lower-fat milk and 100% fruit juice being the healthier beverage choices.
This study was published in the April 21, 2009 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
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