Study offers insight to how fructose causes obesity, metabolic syndrome

A group of scientists from across the world have come together in a just-published study that provides new insights into how fructose causes obesity and metabolic syndrome, more commonly known as diabetes.

In this study which was performed in , researchers found that fructose can be metabolized by an enzyme that exists in two forms. One form appears to be responsible for causing how fructose causes fatty liver, obesity, and insulin resistance. The other form may actually protect animals from developing these features in response to sugar. These studies may provide important insights into the cause of the prediabetic condition known as "", which currently affects more than one-quarter of adults in the United States.

The study, "Opposing effects of fructokinase C and A isoforms on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in mice" was published today in the journal . Richard Johnson, MD, the senior author of the study and Chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado School of Medicine said the findings are significant because we now have a better understanding of how fructose causes obesity and other illnesses.

"These studies provide new insights into how fructose may contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes. In particular, the identification of contrasting roles for two enzymes that are involved in fructose metabolism was surprising and could be important in understanding why some individuals may be more sensitive to the metabolic effects of fructose than others."

Previous research has shown that fructose intake in added sugars such as sucrose and is strongly linked to the epidemic rise in obesity and nonalcoholic . Fructose intake also causes features of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and humans. It is known to cause visceral (organ) fat accumulation and compared to starch based diets even when calories are kept even.


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Feb 27, 2012
This jibes with a program I heard on Science Friday where a researcher described this metabolic syndrome's effects on the production of cellular enzymes. Fortunately, the syndrome can be halted by totally quitting all types of sugar (including fruit and honey) for two weeks. After that, you can eat some fruit and honey, but no more processed sugar or foods containing fructose.

If you avoid processed sugar products, your craving for starchy snacks will go away, leaving just the habit, which is much easier to break without the craving.

If you crave an occasional waffle or pancake, you can flavor honey with maple extract and it tastes just fine.

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