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."
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