Current issues in fructose metabolism

Annu Rev Nutr. 1991;11:21-39. doi: 10.1146/


The ingestion of fructose, particularly in refined form, has significantly increased in the North American diet over the last two decades. The unique way in which fructose is metabolized has given rise to much research examining whether fructose is advantageous in appetite control, exercise endurance, and disease states such as diabetes. Overall, there is very little evidence that modest amounts of fructose have detrimental effects on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in nondiabetic or NIDDM subjects or that its use is particularly advantageous compared to that of other sugars. However, fructose can cause insulin and triglyceride levels to rise dramatically, and hence be potentially harmful, in a subgroup of NIDDM subjects who have concomitant pronounced hypertriglyceridemia. Large doses of fructose should also be avoided by subjects with gout because of the hyperuricemia which may result. No evidence exists that fructose has any clear advantages over glucose in regard to exercise endurance. Similarly there is no conclusive evidence that physiologic amounts of dietary fructose exacerbate copper deficiency or aid in weight control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite / drug effects
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Fructose / metabolism*
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Gout / complications
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism


  • Fructose
  • Copper