Sugar debate: Fructose may be healthy after all

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Diabetes mellitus Fructose

Sugar debate: Fructose may be healthy after all
A new review of the scientific evidence suggests that fructose may not be as bad as some research has suggested, and may even provide some health benefits.

The review – published in Diabetes Care – ​analysed 18 studies that assessed the effect of fructose consumption on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, finding that overall fructose significantly improved blood sugar control.

Even more promising, the researchers add is that benefits were seen without adverse effects on body weight, blood pressure, uric acid (gout) or cholesterol.

"Over the last decade, there have been connections made between fructose intake and rates of obesity,"​ said Dr. John Sievenpiper, senior author of the study. "However, this research suggests that the problem is likely one of overconsumption, not fructose."

Study details

The review analysed data from 209 participants with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes from 18 separate trials.

In all trials included in the review participants were fed diets where fructose was incorporated or sprinkled on to test foods such as cereals or coffee.

The diets with fructose had the same amount of calories as the ones without.

Sievenpiper and his colleagues revealed that the overall analysis showed fructose to significantly improve blood sugar control – to an equivalent level of what can be achieved with an oral antidiabetic drug, they said.

"We're seeing that there may be benefit if fructose wasn't being consumed in such large amounts,"​ noted Adrian Cozma – who led the research. "All negative attention on fructose-related harm draws further away from the issue of eating too many calories."

"Attention needs to go back where it belongs, which is on the concept of moderation,"​ he argued.

Source: Diabetes Care
Volume 35, Number 7, Pages 1611-1620, doi: 10.2337/dc12-0073
“Effect of Fructose on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials”
Authors: A.I. Cozma, J.L. Sievenpiper, R. J. de Souza, L. Chiavaroli, V. Ha, et al

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fructose not HFCS

Posted by abby,

Please make the distinction for the general public because it may confuse many people that your talking about fructose not HFCS. Thanks

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Editor comment

Posted by Caroline Scott-Thomas,

@Bruce Penner
You're right that there has been a lot of fuss about HFCS, but the main debate in the scientific community has mainly focused on fructose in recent years.
See these previous articles:

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Sugar Debate: Fructose may be healthy after all

Posted by Bruce Penner,

To: Nathan Gray
You should have done a little research. High Fructose Corn Sirup (a mixture of fructose and glucose) is what the fuss is all about lately, not 100% pure fructose.
The sugar fructose is what the study led by Dr. Sievenpiper reviews. 100% pure fructose has long been recognized by international diabetic groups as being a good alternative sweetener for diabetics, as the study suggests.

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