Normalization of carbohydrate-induced thermogenesis by fructose in insulin-resistant states

Am J Physiol. 1988 Feb;254(2 Pt 1):E201-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1988.254.2.E201.


To examine whether defects in carbohydrate oxidation and thermogenesis in aging, obesity, and diabetes are secondary to impaired insulin action or to a primary defect in intracellular metabolism, we compared substrate oxidation and energy expenditure in 9 younger, 9 older, 9 obese, and 10 non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects after the ingestion of 75 g of glucose or fructose (a monosaccharide whose transport into the cell and subsequent metabolism are independent of insulin). In young control subjects fructose produced a significantly greater increase in carbohydrate oxidation and energy expenditure than glucose despite significantly lower plasma glucose and insulin levels. In aged, obese, and diabetic individuals the increments in carbohydrate oxidation and energy expenditure after glucose ingestion were significantly imparied versus the younger controls. After fructose ingestion the increase in carbohydrate oxidation in the three insulin-resistant groups remained below that observed in the younger volunteers, whereas carbohydrate-induced thermogenesis was enhanced to levels that were comparable with those seen in the younger group. These data suggest that 1) the stimulation of thermogenesis after fructose ingestion is related to an augmentation of intracellular metabolism rather than an increase in the plasma insulin concentration per se, 2) the insulin resistance of aging, obesity, and diabetes is associated with a defect in intracellular carbohydrate oxidation, and 3) the cellular mechanisms involved in carbohydrate-induced thermogenesis are not primarily impaired in insulin-resistant states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects*
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fructose / blood
  • Fructose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reference Values


  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Fructose