Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Linked to Heart Disease

Some research have discovered that drinking large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, which has been used as a sweetener in many processed foods, may increase the risk of obesity and heart disease.  Recently, a controlled and randomized study suggested that drinks sweetened with fructose can lead to higher levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides among overweight test subjects.  In relation to this, drinks that are sweetened with glucose did not have such effects.

Bad cholesterol, also known as L.D.L., and triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

The study, which was published online on April 2009 in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, was initiated by a group of researchers at the University of California in Davis, wherein they assigned 32 overweight men and women (with an average age of 55) into groups consuming either fructose-sweetened or glucose sweetened drinks for 10 weeks.  The drinks, which were specially formulated for the study, contained only pure glucose and fructose.

Two weeks within the experiment, the test subjects lived in a clinical research center, wherein they consumed a balanced diet high in complex carbohydrates as well as undergone various blood tests and measured their body fat.  As the test subjects were released for the next two weeks, the subjects ate their usual diets plus the assigned sweetened drinks while visiting the testing center for more tests.  They returned to the clinic in the final two weeks of the study, consuming a high-carbohydrate diet while still drinking the sweetened beverages.

By the end of the study, the researchers found that the test subjects consuming fructose beverages had significant increase in triglycerides and L.D.L. in their blood stream compared to those consuming glucose-sweetened drinks.  And although both groups experienced moderate weight gain, the fructose drinkers collected more fat in their abdomen, which is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease.