Twenty-four-hour endocrine and metabolic profiles following consumption of high-fructose corn syrup-, sucrose-, fructose-, and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1194-203. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1194.


Background: We have reported that, compared with glucose-sweetened beverages, consuming fructose-sweetened beverages with meals results in lower 24-h circulating glucose, insulin, and leptin concentrations and elevated triacylglycerol (TG). However, pure fructose and glucose are not commonly used as sweeteners. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has replaced sucrose as the predominant sweetener in beverages in the United States.

Objective: We compared the metabolic/endocrine effects of HFCS with sucrose and, in a subset of subjects, with pure fructose and glucose.

Design: Thirty-four men and women consumed 3 isocaloric meals with either sucrose- or HFCS-sweetened beverages, and blood samples were collected over 24 h. Eight of the male subjects were also studied when fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverages were consumed.

Results: In 34 subjects, 24-h glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and TG profiles were similar between days that sucrose or HFCS was consumed. Postprandial TG excursions after HFCS or sucrose were larger in men than in women. In the men in whom the effects of 4 sweeteners were compared, the 24-h glucose and insulin responses induced by HFCS and sucrose were intermediate between the lower responses during consumption of fructose and the higher responses during glucose. Unexpectedly, postprandial TG profiles after HFCS or sucrose were not intermediate but comparably high as after pure fructose.

Conclusions: Sucrose and HFCS do not have substantially different short-term endocrine/metabolic effects. In male subjects, short-term consumption of sucrose and HFCS resulted in postprandial TG responses comparable to those induced by fructose.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Beverages
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Glucose / adverse effects
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Postprandial Period
  • Sex Factors
  • Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Zea mays


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose