Background: Debate over the role of fructose in mediating cardiovascular risk remains active. To update the evidence on the effect of fructose on established therapeutic lipid targets for cardiovascular disease (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [LDL]-C, apolipoprotein B, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol [HDL-C]), and metabolic syndrome (triglycerides and HDL-C), we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials.
Methods and results: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL, and the Cochrane Library were searched through July 7, 2015 for controlled feeding trials with follow-up ≥7 days, which investigated the effect of oral fructose compared to a control carbohydrate on lipids (LDL-C, apolipoprotein B, non-HDL-C, triglycerides, and HDL-C) in participants of all health backgrounds. Two independent reviewers extracted relevant data. Data were pooled using random effects models and expressed as mean difference with 95% CI. Interstudy heterogeneity was assessed (Cochran Q statistic) and quantified (I(2) statistic). Eligibility criteria were met by 51 isocaloric trials (n=943), in which fructose was provided in isocaloric exchange for other carbohydrates, and 8 hypercaloric trials (n=125), in which fructose supplemented control diets with excess calories compared to the control diets alone without the excess calories. Fructose had no effect on LDL-C, non-HDL-C, apolipoprotein B, triglycerides, or HDL-C in isocaloric trials. However, in hypercaloric trials, fructose increased apolipoprotein B (n=2 trials; mean difference = 0.18 mmol/L; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.30; P=0.005) and triglycerides (n=8 trials; mean difference = 0.26 mmol/L; 95% CI: 0.11, 0.41; P<0.001). The study is limited by small sample sizes, limited follow-up, and low quality scores of the included trials.
Conclusions: Pooled analyses showed that fructose only had an adverse effect on established lipid targets when added to existing diets so as to provide excess calories (+21% to 35% energy). When isocalorically exchanged for other carbohydrates, fructose had no adverse effects on blood lipids. More trials that are larger, longer, and higher quality are required.
Clinical trials registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/. Unique Identifier: NCT01363791.
Keywords: lipids; meta‐analysis; nutrition.
© 2015 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.