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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Aug 13;10(1):54. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-54.

Effects of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners on resting energy expenditure and energy efficiency: a review of human trials.

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Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Epidemiological studies indicate that the consumption of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners (FCCS: mainly sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) is associated with obesity. The hypothesis that FCCS plays a causal role in the development of obesity however implies that they would impair energy balance to a larger extent than other nutrients, either by increasing food intake, or by decreasing energy expenditure. We therefore reviewed the literature comparing a) diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) after ingestion of isocaloric FCCS vs glucose meals, and b) basal metabolic rate (BMR) or c) post-prandial energy expenditure after consuming a high FCCS diet for > 3 days vs basal,weight-maintenance low FCCS diet. Nine studies compared the effects of single isocaloric FCCS and glucose meals on DIT; of them, six studies reported that DIT was significantly higher with FCCS than with glucose, 2 reported a non-significant increase with FCCS, and one reported no difference. The higher DIT with fructose than glucose can be explained by the low energy efficiency associated with fructose metabolism. Five studies compared BMR after consumption of a high FCCS vs a low FCCS diet for > 3 days. Four studies reported no change after 4-7 day on a high FCCS diet, and only one study reported a 7% decrease after 12 week on a high FCCS diet. Three studies compared post-prandial EE after consumption of a high FCCS vs a low FCCS diet for > 3 days, and did not report any significant difference. One study compared 24-EE in subjects fed a weight-maintenance diet and hypercaloric diets with 50% excess energy as fructose, sucrose and glucose during 4 days: 24-EE was increased with all 3 hypercaloric diets, but there was no difference between fructose, sucrose and glucose. We conclude that fructose has lower energy efficiency than glucose. Based on available studies, there is presently no hint that dietary FCCS may decrease EE. Larger, well controlled studies are however needed to assess the longer term effects of FCCS on EE.

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