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Altern Med Rev. 2005 Dec;10(4):294-306.

Adverse effects of dietary fructose.


The consumption of fructose, primarily from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), has increased considerably in the United States during the past several decades. Intake of HFCS may now exceed that of the other major caloric sweetener, sucrose. Some nutritionists believe fructose is a safer form of sugar than sucrose, particularly for people with diabetes mellitus, because it does not adversely affect blood-glucose regulation, at least in the short-term. However, fructose has potentially harmful effects on other aspects of metabolism. In particular, fructose is a potent reducing sugar that promotes the formation of toxic advanced glycation end-products, which appear to play a role in the aging process; in the pathogenesis of the vascular, renal, and ocular complications of diabetes; and in the development of atherosclerosis. Fructose has also been implicated as the main cause of symptoms in some patients with chronic diarrhea or other functional bowel disturbances. In addition, excessive fructose consumption may be responsible in part for the increasing prevalence of obesity, diabetes mellitus, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Although the long-term effects of fructose consumption have not been adequately studied in humans, the available evidence suggests it may be more harmful than is generally recognized. The extent to which a person might be adversely affected by dietary fructose depends both on the amount consumed and on individual tolerance. With a few exceptions, the relatively small amounts of fructose that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables are unlikely to have deleterious effects, and this review is not meant to discourage the consumption of these healthful foods.

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