• an increase in visceral fat, which embeds itself between tissues in organs
• less sensitivity to insulin, one of the first signs of diabetes
• increased fat production in the liver
• elevated LDL cholesterol (this should be the lower number)
• increased levels of triglycerides
People who drank the glucose-sweetened beverage experienced no such changes. "This suggests that in the same way that not all fats are the same, not all dietary carbohydrates are the same either," Peter Havel, professor of nutrition at the University of California Davis and lead author of the study told TIME magazine.
When glucose is consumed, a set of reactions occur in the body allowing it to be used as energy, and production of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite and fat storage, is increased. Meanwhile, ghrelin, a stomach hormone, is reduced, which is thought to help hunger go away.
When fructose is consumed, however, it "appears to behave more like fat with respect to the hormones involved in body weight regulation," explains Peter Havel, associate professor of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. "Fructose doesn't stimulate insulin secretion. It doesn't increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin. That suggests that consuming a lot of fructose, like consuming too much fat, could contribute to weight gain."
And as this most recent study pointed out, it may cause other dangerous side effects as well.
Most Sweets Contain Fructose or Sucrose
This news may compel you to begin searching for glucose-sweetened versions of your favorite desserts and sodas, but most sugary products are made with either sucrose or fructose, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
Sucrose is made of 50% fructose and 50% glucose, whereas high-fructose corn syrup can be either 55% fructose, 45% glucose, or 42% fructose, 58% glucose.
What this means is that you’ll be hard pressed to find products sweetened with glucose, and may risk the side effects discovered in this study no matter which type you choose.
"This study provides the best argument yet that we should either decide to consume less sugar-sweetened beverages in general, or that we should conduct more research into the possibility of using other sweeteners that may be more glucose-based," Matthias Tschoep, an obesity researcher at the Obesity Research Center in the University of Cincinnati, said in TIME.
The Fructose-Diabetes Connection
According to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, long-term consumption of sugared drinks, which are typically sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, may double your risk of obesity. Part of the risk is simply from the extra calories, but part is also due to the high fructose content in the drinks.
And a review of multiple studies by Havel and colleagues, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that, in animals, consuming large amounts of HFCS led to several early warning signs of diabetes, including:
• induced insulin resistance
• impaired glucose tolerance
• produced high levels of insulin
Ideally to help protect your health you should minimize your intake of sugars, especially HFCS, fructose and sucrose, by limiting your consumption of soda and other sugary foods and drinks.
• Some consumers say foods made with sugar simply taste better.
The fact is that high-fructose corn syrup and sugar both contribute to increased risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses, according to the American Medical Association and numerous scientists. Although some studies have suggested the body metabolizes high-fructose corn syrup more slowly than it does sugar, experts say the bottom line for consumers is they should avoid both except in small amounts.