A high sucrose diet decreases the mechanical strength of bones in growing rats

J Nutr. 1998 Oct;128(10):1807-10. doi: 10.1093/jn/128.10.1807.


High sucrose diets alter mineral metabolism in humans and animals. We examined the effect of a high sucrose diet on bone growth, composition and mechanical strength in growing rats. Weanling Wistar rats received a high sucrose (43 g/100 g) diet (9 males, 11 females). In the control diet (8 males, 8 females), sucrose was replaced with potato starch, providing an equal energy value. At the onset of the experiment, bones were marked by tetracycline. After 5 wk, the tibias and femurs were weighed, and maximum breaking strengths were determined. Tibias were cut at the tibia-fibular junction; the widths of the bone at the start of the experiment, the periosteal bone formation during the experiment, the widths of the medullary cavity and the final bone width were determined from tetracycline lines. Bone ash weight, Ca and P contents were determined. The breaking strengths of both bones were significantly lower in the sucrose-fed groups of both sexes. In females, the weight of both bones and the final width of the tibias were significantly lower in the sucrose-fed group. The Ca concentration in both bones and the P concentration in tibias were significantly lower in the sucrose-fed group. It was concluded that the metabolic interference induced by sucrose was the reason for the differences. The alterations were more pronounced in females, but independent of body weight.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Development / drug effects*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Starch / administration & dosage
  • Starch / pharmacology
  • Tibia / drug effects
  • Weaning


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Starch