New study finds neither HFCS nor table sugar increases liver fat under 'real world' conditions

February 12, 2013

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism presented compelling data showing the consumption of both high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose (table sugar) at levels consistent with average daily consumption do not increase liver fat in humans, a leading cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The findings also add to an already well-established body of science that high fructose corn syrup and table sugar are metabolically equivalent.

Increased fat levels in the liver and muscle tissue have also shown to contribute to insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.

The study, conducted by James Rippe, MD, Founder and Director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute and Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, examined sixty-four individuals who consumed low-fat milk sweetened with either HFCS or sucrose with the added sugar matching the 25th, 50th and 90th percentile population of fructose for ten weeks.

The results showed fat content of the liver remained unchanged when the six HFCS and sucrose groups were averaged. Fat content in muscle tissue was also unchanged over the 10 weeks when the six HFCS and sucrose groups were averaged.

"The study's results are compelling because this is the first study of its kind to test the effects of HFCS and sucrose on liver fat levels in humans using real world conditions," said Dr. Rippe, who received a grant from the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to conduct the study. "Previous studies that sought to find a link between caloric sweeteners and diseases such as and liver disease often subjected individuals to unrealistically high levels of fructose or had subjects consume fructose independent of glucose, which is just not how fructose is consumed in our daily diet. Using real world conditions, we find that HFCS and other caloric sweeteners do not appear to increase liver fat or contribute to ."

The two largest sources of fructose in the human diet are sucrose (containing 50% fructose and 50% glucose) and HFCS which is present in the human diet in two forms: HFCS-55 (which consists of 55% fructose, 42% glucose and 3% other carbohydrates) and HFCS-42 (which consists of 42% fructose and 58% glucose).

"This study seems to confirm what physicians, registered dietitians and healthcare associations such as the American Medical Association have been saying for decades," said Dr. Mark Haub, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Kansas State University. "Not only is it safe to consume caloric sweeteners at recommended levels, it is important for consumers to understand that and have the same amount of calories and studies like this indicate your body metabolizes them about the same."

Explore further: Researchers look at effects of two common sweeteners on the body

More information:

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Major fall in diabetes-related amputations since the 1990s

November 22, 2015

A major new study has found a significant reduction in diabetes-related amputations since the mid-1990s, credited to improvements in diabetes care over this period. The research is published in Diabetologia (the journal of ...

Blocking immune cell treats new type of age-related diabetes

November 18, 2015

Diabetes is often the result of obesity and poor diet choices, but for some older adults the disease might simply be a consequence of aging. New research has discovered that diabetes—or insulin resistance—in aged, lean ...

Bacteria may cause type 2 diabetes

June 1, 2015

Bacteria and viruses have an obvious role in causing infectious diseases, but microbes have also been identified as the surprising cause of other illnesses, including cervical cancer (Human papilloma virus) and stomach ulcers ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.