Fructose-sweetened drinks increase cardiac disease risk in obese

February 13th, 2009 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) Obese people who take fructose-sweetened drinks with their meals have an increase in triglyceride levels, which increases cardiac disease risk, according to new research.
“Increased triglycerides after a meal are known predictors of cardiovascular disease,” said study co-author Karen L. Teff, associate director at the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

“Our findings show that fructose-sweetened beverages raise triglyceride levels in obese people, who already are at risk for metabolic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

Triglycerides are manufactured by the body from dietary fat and are the most common form of fat transported in blood. Although normal levels of triglycerides are essential for good health, high levels are associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis and other predictors of cardiovascular disease.

Teff and associates studied 17 obese men and women. Each was admitted two times to the Clinical and Translational Research Centre at the University of Pennsylvania.

On each admission, the subjects were given identical meals and blood was collected from an intravenous catheter over a 24-hour period. The only difference was the sweetener used in the beverages that accompanied the meals; beverages were sweetened with glucose during one admission and with fructose during the other.

Blood triglyceride levels were higher when subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages, compared to glucose-sweetened beverages. The total amount of triglycerides over a 24-hour period was almost 200 percent higher when the subjects drank fructose-sweetened beverages.

Although fructose increased triglyceride levels in all of the subjects, this effect was especially pronounced in insulin-resistant subjects, who already had increased triglyceride levels. Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic condition often associated with obesity.

Fructose and glucose are forms of sugar found in both table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup, said a Pennsylvania release.

These findings were published online by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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