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Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Last Updated: April 20, 2009.

But glucose-based beverages may not have same impact, study finds.

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Fructose-sweetened soft drinks and other beverages can have a negative effect on the body's sensitivity to insulin and its ability to handle fats, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study suggests.

But glucose-sweetened beverages don't have that kind of impact, the study found.

The research included overweight and obese volunteers who for 10 weeks drank either fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverages that supplied 25 percent of their energy needs. During the study period, participants in both groups gained about the same amount of weight, but those who drank fructose-sweetened beverages showed an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

The researchers, from University of California, Davis, also found that those in the fructose group became less sensitive to insulin, which controls glucose levels in the body, and showed signs of dyslipidemia -- elevated blood levels of fat-soluble molecules called lipids.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Decreased sensitivity to insulin and dyslipidemia are signs of metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart attack. But whether consuming large amounts of fructose increases heart attack risk over the long-term isn't known, according to the authors of an accompanying commentary.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about metabolic syndrome.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, news release, April 20, 2009