Fructose isn't as bad as we thought, researchers say
Health care experts have long thought that fructose is worse than glucose when it comes to contributing to obesity and diabetes.
Yet researchers from St. Michael's Hospital found that there is no benefit to replacing fructose, a simple sugar found in products that contain high-fructose corn syrup, with glucose, a sugar that is found in foods like corn, rice and wheat.
"Despite concerns about fructose's link to obesity, there is no justification to replace fructose with glucose because there is no evidence of net harm," said study author Dr. John Sievenpiper, a researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre of St. Michael's.
Consuption, rather than type, matters most
Dr. Sievenpiper also said that the amount of sugar consumed matters more than what type of sugar is eaten - this is the root problem of how sugar affects obesity.
"Overall, it's not about swapping fructose with glucose," he said. "Overeating, portion size and calories are what we should be refocusing on - they're our biggest problems."
The study compared the effects of both fructose and glucose against different health risk factors. While fructose may increase cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fat), it did not seem to affect insulin production more than glucose did.
Furthermore, fructose also seemed to show potential health benefits that glucose did not.
"In calorie-matched conditions, we found that fructose may actually be better at promoting healthy body weight, blood pressure and glycemic control than glucose," Dr. Sievenpiper said.
The main takeaway? We shouldn't be concerned about which types of sugar we're eating, but portion sizes and caloric consumption, the study concluded.
Dr. Sievenpiper's research is published in the journal Current Opinion in Lipidology.
Source: St. Michael's Hospital