Moderate amounts of fructose consumption impair insulin sensitivity in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial

Diabetes Care. 2013 Jan;36(1):150-6. doi: 10.2337/dc12-0540. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Objective: Adverse effects of hypercaloric, high-fructose diets on insulin sensitivity and lipids in human subjects have been shown repeatedly. The implications of fructose in amounts close to usual daily consumption, however, have not been well studied. This study assessed the effect of moderate amounts of fructose and sucrose compared with glucose on glucose and lipid metabolism.

Research design and methods: Nine healthy, normal-weight male volunteers (aged 21-25 years) were studied in this double-blind, randomized, cross-over trial. All subjects consumed four different sweetened beverages (600 mL/day) for 3 weeks each: medium fructose (MF) at 40 g/day, and high fructose (HF), high glucose (HG), and high sucrose (HS) each at 80 g/day. Euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps with [6,6]-(2)H(2) glucose labeling were used to measure endogenous glucose production. Lipid profile, glucose, and insulin were measured in fasting samples.

Results: Hepatic suppression of glucose production during the clamp was significantly lower after HF (59.4 ± 11.0%) than HG (70.3 ± 10.5%, P < 0.05), whereas fasting glucose, insulin, and C-peptide did not differ between the interventions. Compared with HG, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol were significantly higher after MF, HF, and HS, and free fatty acids were significantly increased after MF, but not after the two other interventions (P < 0.05). Subjects' energy intake during the interventions did not differ significantly from baseline intake.

Conclusions: This study clearly shows that moderate amounts of fructose and sucrose significantly alter hepatic insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism compared with similar amounts of glucose.

Trial registration: NCT01021969.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • C-Peptide / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose
  • Glucose

Associated data