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J Nutr. 2000 Dec;130(12):3077-84.

Description of the long-term lipogenic effects of dietary carbohydrates in male Fischer 344 rats.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, California 95616-8669, USA.


The introduction of high fructose corn syrup as a substitute sweetener for sucrose in the mid-1970s has contributed to a general increase in fructose consumption in the U.S. diet. Although several previous investigations suggested that dietary fructose increases serum triglyceride concentration and body fat, these studies have, in general, evaluated this effect in young rats fed the experimental diets for a relatively short period of the life span of the animals. Moreover, these investigations did not control for the possible effects that increased adiposity due to fructose feeding may have on serum triglyceride concentration. The purpose of the current investigation was to describe the long-term effects of specific dietary carbohydrates on serum lipid concentrations and body composition. To this end, we measured serum triglyceride, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol concentrations and body composition of rats aged 9, 18 and 26 mo that had free access to or were restricted to 60% of free access intake of one of five diets that varied in carbohydrate source (cornstarch, sucrose, glucose, fructose or equimolar fructose plus glucose) starting at 3 mo of age. Dietary fructose significantly increased serum triglyceride concentration across the life span in rats that had free access to food or were calorie restricted. The source of dietary carbohydrate did not have a significant effect on body composition, total cholesterol or the distribution of the cholesterol fractions. These data suggest that dietary fructose per se and not the interaction between fructose and the energy content of the diet increases serum triglyceride concentration in rats.

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