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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Dec;88(6):1733S-1737S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.25825D.

Endocrine and metabolic effects of consuming beverages sweetened with fructose, glucose, sucrose, or high-fructose corn syrup.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Our laboratory has investigated 2 hypotheses regarding the effects of fructose consumption: 1) the endocrine effects of fructose consumption favor a positive energy balance, and 2) fructose consumption promotes the development of an atherogenic lipid profile. In previous short- and long-term studies, we showed that consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages with 3 meals results in lower 24-h plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, and leptin in humans than does consumption of glucose-sweetened beverages. We have also tested whether prolonged consumption of high-fructose diets leads to increased caloric intake or decreased energy expenditure, thereby contributing to weight gain and obesity. Results from a study conducted in rhesus monkeys produced equivocal results. Carefully controlled and adequately powered long-term studies are needed to address these hypotheses. In both short- and long-term studies, we showed that consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages substantially increases postprandial triacylglycerol concentrations compared with glucose-sweetened beverages. In the long-term studies, apolipoprotein B concentrations were also increased in subjects consuming fructose, but not in those consuming glucose. Data from a short-term study comparing consumption of beverages sweetened with fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, and sucrose suggest that high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose increase postprandial triacylglycerol to an extent comparable with that induced by 100% fructose alone. Increased consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages along with increased prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes underscore the importance of investigating the metabolic consequences of fructose consumption in carefully controlled experiments.

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