Fructose viewed as the principal driving force for diabetes

fructose1-150x150Another study has confirmed the metabolic damage caused by fructose. Diabetes is estimated to impact on approximately 29 million people in the US, with another 86 million suffering from pre-diabetes. Added sugars such as fructose have been directly linked to diabetes and pre-diabetes.“At current levels, added-sugar consumption, and added-fructose consumption in particular, are fueling a worsening epidemic of type 2 diabetes,” said lead author James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO. “Approximately 40% of U.S. adults already have some degree of  insulin resistance with projections that nearly the same percentage will eventually develop frank diabetes.”

Excess fructose consumption impacts negatively on overall metabolism and global insulin resistance. Other dietary sugars don’t appear to have the same negative effects. Indeed several clinical trials have shown that compared to glucose or starch, isocaloric exchange with fructose or sucrose leads to increases in fasting insulin, fasting glucose, and the insuling/glucose responses to a sucrose load. “This suggests that sucrose (in particular the fructose component) is more harmful compared to other carbohydrates,” said Dr. DiNicolantonio.

Recent studies indicate that replacing glucose-only starch with fructose-containing table sugar (sucrose) result in significant adverse metabolic effects. The adverse effects are dose dependent and increase with greater proportions of added fructose in the diet.

The researchers recommend limiting fructose to world health guidelines which specify that added sugars should make up no more than 10% of an entire day’s caloric intake, with a proposal to lower this level to 5% or less for optimal health. Although fructose is found naturally in fructose there are no negative effects associated with the natural version. Instead consuming fruits and vegetables protects against diabetes and broader cardiometabolic dysfunction.


James J. DiNicolantonio, James H. O’Keefe, Sean C. Lucan. Added Fructose: A Principal Driver of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Consequences. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.12.019

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