Background: Observational studies have found that dietary glycemic load is positively associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in healthy humans, which suggests that the type of carbohydrate ingested influences inflammatory activity.
Objective: We investigated the effect of a diet with a high content of sucrose or artificial sweeteners on the inflammatory markers CRP, haptoglobin, and transferrin in overweight subjects.
Design: Overweight men and women consumed daily food and drink supplements containing either sucrose [n = 21; body mass index (BMI, in kg/m2): 28.0] or artificial sweeteners (n = 20; BMI: 27.6), predominantly from soft drinks (70%; average approximately 1.3 L/d) for 10 wk.
Results: During the intervention, sucrose intake increased by 151% in the sucrose group and decreased by 42% in the sweetener group, resulting in a 1.6-kg weight gain in the sucrose group and a 1.2-kg weight loss in the sweetener group over 10 wk (P < 0.001). Concentrations of haptoglobin, transferrin, and CRP increased by 13%, 5%, and 6%, respectively, in the sucrose group and decreased by 16%, 2%, and 26%, respectively, in the sweetener group (between-group differences: P = 0.006, P = 0.01, and P = 0.1, respectively). Adjustment for changes in body weight and energy intake did not substantially influence this outcome.
Conclusions: The study shows that in the present group of overweight subjects a high consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks increased haptoglobin and transferrin but had, at best, only a limited influence on CRP.