Fructose Metabolism and Relation to Atherosclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, and Obesity
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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A high intake of sugars has been linked to diet-induced health problems. The fructose content in sugars consumed may also affect health, although the extent to which fructose has a particularly significant negative impact on health remains controversial. The aim of this narrative review is to describe the body’s fructose management and to discuss the role of fructose as a risk factor for atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Despite some positive effects of fructose, such as high relative sweetness, high thermogenic effect, and low glycaemic index, a high intake of fructose, particularly when combined with glucose, can, to a larger extent than a similar glucose intake, lead to metabolic changes in the liver. Increased de novo lipogenesis (DNL), and thus altered blood lipid profile, seems to be the most prominent change. More studies with realistic consumption levels of fructose are needed, but current literature does not indicate that a normal consumption of fructose (approximately 50–60 g/day) increases the risk of atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, or obesity more than consumption of other sugars. However, a high intake of fructose, particularly if combined with a high energy intake in the form of glucose/starch, may have negative health effects via DNL.