Researcher doubts link between fructose and diabetes

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Geoffrey Livesey, director of UK consultancy firm Independent Nutrition Logic, says most studies linking fructose to diabetes have been in animals and not humans
Geoffrey Livesey, director of UK consultancy firm Independent Nutrition Logic, says most studies linking fructose to diabetes have been in animals and not humans

Related tags Fructose corn syrup Glucose Sugar High-fructose corn syrup

The link between fructose and diabetes is too weak to warrant governmental intervention, according to a UK-based researcher.

Worries have been mounting among some researchers that fructose-containing sugars such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup, lead to accumulation of fat in the liver and ultimately type 2 diabetes.

No government action needed, says Livesey

Writing in the Nutrition Bulletin​, Geoffrey Livesey, director of UK consultancy firm Independent Nutrition Logic rejected this claim.

“Considering all the evidence, the association between fructose in drinks and type-2 diabetes has been deemed limited and too unreliable to merit governmental action via various agencies in the USA”

He said that many scientists and nutritionists who had attended the 2012 American Society for Nutrition meeting and had dismissed the adverse claims made about fructose.

“The main reason behind this decision was that many of the studies were conducted in animals or in humans using doses of fructose far in excess of usual intakes among consumers.”

Most tests on animals

Fructose, which is naturally present in fruits, is often added to sports drinks and confectionery.

According to Livesey, most of the negative side effects of fructose have been observed in studies on laboratory animals using excessive doses of fructose.

“These findings have not been reproduced in human studies at doses consistent with habitual diets,”​ he said, adding that those studies that did analyze the effect of fructose in humans were limited to trials of excessive consumption over a short period.

High threshold

“It is possible that fructose intake needs to reach a threshold in excess of 17% of the energy requirements before liver fat begins to accumulate. This is an amount much greater than the 99th​ percentile for total fructose consumption per person from all ingested sugar sources in the UK,”​ he continued.

He added that the cause of increased bodyweight from heavy fructose consumption was the high energy content. Consequently, studies comparing monosaccharide fructose or other other fructose containing sugars with other carbohydrates had revealed no significant differences on effect on bodyweight.

Source:
Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 38, issue 3
DOI: 10.1111/nbu.12045
'Is there really a link between diabetes and the ingestion of fructose?'
Author: G Livesey 

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