Is Fructose the Cause of Obesity?

Mainly because of its low cost, HFCS [high fructose corn syrup] consumption replaced approximately one-third of the total sugar consumption in the USA between 1970 and 2000, paralleling to some extent the increasing prevalence of obesity during this period. Consequently, HFCS has been a particular focus of possible blame for the obesity epidemic. However, HFCS consumption has remained very low in other parts of the world where obesity has also increased, and the most commonly used form of HFCS contains about 55% fructose, 42% glucose, and 3% other sugars, and hence is associated with similar total fructose and glucose intakes as with sugar. Furthermore, sucrose is hydrolyzed in the gut and absorbed into the blood as free glucose and fructose, so one would expect HFCS and sucrose to have the same metabolic consequences. In short, there is currently no evidence to support the hypothesis that HFCS makes a significant contribution to metabolic disease independently of the rise in total fructose consumption.

 

Given the substantial consumption of fructose in our diet, mainly from sweetened beverages, sweet snacks, and cereal products with added sugar, and the fact that fructose is an entirely dispensable nutrient, it appears sound to limit consumption of sugar as part of any weight loss program and in individuals at high risk of developing metabolic diseases. There is no evidence, however, that fructose is the sole, or even the main factor in the development of these diseases…

— Luc Tappy in BMC Biology, May 21, 2012 (the article is a review of fructose metabolism and potential adverse effects of high consumption)

PS: Luc Tappy believes that excessive calorie consumption is an important cause of overweight and obesity.

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2 responses to “Is Fructose the Cause of Obesity?

  1. George Henderson

    Without sugar in the diet, we would amost all still be eating 2 or 3 times a day. Quite apart from the health effects of sugar itself, the fact is that sugar has made possible what can be demonstrated to be the unhealthy pattern of grazing, snacking, sipping, constant feeding and night starvation.
    Whereas other foods can be fitted into this pattern, such as processed starches (sandwiches, potato crisps), alcohol, or dried fruit, it is sugar (initially in sweetened tea) that created this unnatural (for humans) pattern and that is still its main prop.