Fructose replacement of glucose or sucrose in food or beverages lowers postprandial glucose and insulin without raising triglycerides: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Aug;106(2):506-518. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.145151. Epub 2017 Jun 7.


Background: Conflicting evidence exists on the effects of fructose consumption in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. No systematic review has addressed the effect of isoenergetic fructose replacement of glucose or sucrose on peak postprandial glucose, insulin, and triglyceride concentrations.Objective: The objective of this study was to review the evidence for postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses after isoenergetic replacement of either glucose or sucrose in foods or beverages with fructose.Design: We searched the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal, and The date of the last search was 26 April 2016. We included randomized controlled trials measuring peak postprandial glycemia after isoenergetic replacement of glucose, sucrose, or both with fructose in healthy adults or children with or without diabetes. The main outcomes analyzed were peak postprandial blood glucose, insulin, and triglyceride concentrations.Results: Replacement of either glucose or sucrose by fructose resulted in significantly lowered peak postprandial blood glucose, particularly in people with prediabetes and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Similar results were obtained for insulin. Peak postprandial blood triglyceride concentrations did not significantly increase.Conclusions: Strong evidence exists that substituting fructose for glucose or sucrose in food or beverages lowers peak postprandial blood glucose and insulin concentrations. Isoenergetic replacement does not result in a substantial increase in blood triglyceride concentrations.

Keywords: body weight; diabetes; fructose; glucose; insulin; sucrose; sugar replacement; triglycerides.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Triglycerides
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose