Background: Recent studies have demonstrated a relationship between fructose consumption and risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Mechanisms by which dietary fructose mediates metabolic changes are poorly understood. This study compared the effects of fructose, glucose and sucrose consumption on post-postprandial lipemia and low grade inflammation measured as hs-CRP.
Methods: This was a randomized, single blinded, cross-over trial involving healthy subjects (n=14). After an overnight fast, participants were given one of 3 different isocaloric drinks, containing 50 g of either fructose or glucose or sucrose dissolved in water. Blood samples were collected at baseline, 30, 60 and 120 minutes post intervention for the analysis of blood lipids, glucose, insulin and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
Results: Glucose and sucrose supplementation initially resulted in a significant increase in glucose and insulin levels compared to fructose supplementation and returned to near baseline values within 2 hours. Change in plasma cholesterol, LDL and HDL-cholesterol (measured as area under curve, AUC) was significantly higher when participants consumed fructose compared with glucose or sucrose (P<0.05). AUC for plasma triglyceride levels however remained unchanged regardless of the dietary intervention. Change in AUC for hs-CRP was also significantly higher in subjects consuming fructose compared with those consuming glucose (P<0.05), but not sucrose (P=0.07).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that fructose as a sole source of energy modulates plasma lipids and hsCRP levels in healthy individuals. The significance of increase in HDL-cholesterol with a concurrent increase in LDL-cholesterol and elevated hs-CRP levels remains to be delineated when considering health effects of feeding fructose-rich diets.
Registration number for clinical trials: ACTRN12614000431628.