Fructose ingestion: dose-dependent responses in health research

J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1246S-1252S. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.097949. Epub 2009 Apr 22.


Many hypotheses of disease risk and prevention depend on inferences about the metabolic effects of fructose; however, there is inadequate attention to dose dependency. Fructose is proving to have bidirectional effects. At moderate or high doses, an effect on any one marker may be absent or even the opposite of that observed at very high or excessive doses; examples include fasting plasma triglyceride, insulin sensitivity, and the putative marker uric acid. Among markers, changes can be beneficial for some (e.g., glycated hemoglobin at moderate to high fructose intake) but adverse for others (e.g., plasma triglycerides at very high or excessive fructose intake). Evidence on body weight indicates no effect of moderate to high fructose intakes, but information is scarce for high or excessive intakes. The overall balance of such beneficial and adverse effects of fructose is difficult to assess but has important implications for the strength and direction of hypotheses about public health, the relevance of some animal studies, and the interpretation of both interventional and epidemiological studies. By focusing on the adverse effects of very high and excessive doses, we risk not noticing the potential benefits of moderate to higher doses, which might moderate the advent and progress of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and might even contribute to longevity. A salutary rather than hyperbolic examination of the evidence base needs to be undertaken.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diet*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Energy Intake
  • Fructose / administration & dosage
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Gout / etiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Triglycerides
  • Uric Acid
  • Fructose