Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose consumption on circulating glucose, insulin, leptin, and ghrelin and on appetite in normal-weight women

Nutrition. 2007 Feb;23(2):103-12. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2006.11.001.


Objective: Fructose has been implicated in obesity, partly due to lack of insulin-mediated leptin stimulation and ghrelin suppression. Most work has examined effects of pure fructose, rather than high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the most commonly consumed form of fructose. This study examined effects of beverages sweetened with HFCS or sucrose (Suc), when consumed with mixed meals, on blood glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and appetite.

Methods: Thirty lean women were studied on two randomized 2-d visits during which HFCS- and Suc-sweetened beverages were consumed as 30% of energy on isocaloric diets during day 1 while blood was sampled. On day 2, food was eaten ad libitum. Subjects rated appetite at designated times throughout visits.

Results: No significant differences between the two sweeteners were seen in fasting plasma glucose, insulin, leptin, and ghrelin (P > 0.05). The within-day variation in all four items was not different between the two visits (P > 0.05). Net areas under the curve were similar for glucose, insulin, and leptin (P > 0.05). There were no differences in energy or macronutrient intake on day 2. The only appetite variable that differed between sweeteners was desire to eat, which had a higher area under the curve the day after Suc compared with HFCS.

Conclusion: These short-term results suggest that, when fructose is consumed in the form of HFCS, the measured metabolic responses do not differ from Suc in lean women. Further research is required to examine appetite responses and to determine if these findings hold true for obese individuals, males, or longer periods.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Appetite / physiology
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Ghrelin
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Peptide Hormones / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose