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Fructose and Glucose Health Hazards

Better health is sweeter than sugar.

Fructose and glucose linked to heart disease

Consuming the high-fructose corn syrup that has become ubiquitous in our food supply appears to be hazardous to our health, mainly because the sweet substance contains both fructose and glucose (as opposed to just one of those sugars alone).

In a study conducted at the University of California, Davis, 145 participants (average age 26) consumed beverages containing fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup or an aspartame control for 2 weeks on four separate occasions. After each intervention, they had their blood analyzed for known risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. While triglyceride levels shot up the most with the fructose-only treatment, a duo of risk factors—LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B—increased most sharply when subjects consumed the high-fructose corn syrup, suggesting a unique interaction between fructose and glucose. Many cardiovascular experts believe those risk factors are predictive for heart disease.

Evidence continues to mount that good nutrition involves more than looking at individual food components. Diets should be studied as a whole to determine how items like sugars and vitamins may interact with each other for better or worse.

See also: Fructose, Glucose and Weight Gain
High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Type 2 Diabetes

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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